Do-or-die for Olyroos against Jordan

The biggest day in the young careers of our Olyroos players has arrived and they are not going to die wondering in their final group-stage game against Jordan at the AFC U23 Championship.

Olyroos

Source: Getty Images



It's a must-win game for Australia which kicks off in Doha at 3.30am (AEDT) on Thursday morning, as they look to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.

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If they draw, they will need Vietnam to score an unlikely win over UAE in the other game. A loss and they are definitely out.

The top three teams in the tournament will qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.



Holding midfielder Brandon O'Neill, who made his Olyroos debut in their 2-0 win over Vietnam, said the team would go in with a plan to try to be proactive, put pressure on Jordan and create the necessary scoring chances rather than wait and hope for something to come their way.

"We watched both of Jordan's games and they're a bit like the UAE," O'Neill said. "They're very compact, they like to sit back and let you have the ball and try to get you on the counter, so we have to be wary of that.

"We have to be patient and get some ball movement going and be relaxed on the ball, but when it's time to go we've got to do it with purpose and try to exploit them.

"Even though we lost 1-0 to UAE in our first game, we had a number of chances against them and we believe we're going to be able to create chances against Jordan as well, but it's going to be up to us to capitalise this time.

"in the first 15 minutes against Vietnam we attacked them and put them on the back foot. We pressured them high in attack and won the ball back and we were very clinical in the way we went about things.

"We've got to take a similar approach in to our game against Jordan. We've got to be sensible about it, but we have to be positive about our football. If we can do that, we can get the win."

O'Neill said the improvement in the Olyroos from game one to game two was clear and that it was natural to expect further improvement in game three.

"It was a big improvement from game one to two and now we need another improvement and a more polished performance in game three if we want to kick on to the quarter-finals. We're here to qualify for the Olympic Games and if we play to our ability we'll do that."

O'Neill said the fact the equation was clear allowed the players to focus as well as they possibly can.

"We're going into the game knowing exactly what we have to do, we're not relying on other teams to get results that help us," he said.

"We have to win and it's a good feeling knowing exactly what we have to do. We can go out there and concentrate on playing exactly the sort of game we want to play.

"We're going in feeling good about ourselves. I felt we all handled the pressure situation very well in our second game. We played attractive football and after we scored the first goal we didn't give one back and eventually we got the second one to make sure of it.

"Not only winning but also keeping a clean sheet will give us all a lot of confidence about the next game.

"We didn't play badly in our first game, but we didn't play to our full potential. We played a good game, just not good enough, and in the second game we played a lot better and started growing into the tournament. We played more as a team.


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4 min read
Published 20 January 2016 at 10:43am
By Greg Prichard