Luongo: Socceroos becoming victims of own success

Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo believes Australia may have become victims of their own elevated expectations after losing some traction on the road to Russia.

Australia v Japan - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Luongo evades the Blue Samarai defence Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

Successive draws against in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifers against AFC World Cup Group B leaders Saudi Arabia and arch-foes Japan have left Ange Postecoglou’s side two points off the top spot going in to next month’s duel against winless Thailand in Bangkok.

The Queen’s Park Rangers man admits the lost momentum needs to be recaptured against the Thais to keep the Socceroos on course for automatic qualification for the World Cup.

“To be honest, I think we have raised the bar quite high with our wins over Iraq and UAE,” Luongo said.

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“We place a lot of expectation on ourselves and look to win every game and were achieving that before the last two matches.

“They were two tough opponents, being away against the Saudis in difficult conditions and then against a very tough Japan, and the results (2-2 and 1-1 draws) look like a setback.

“But we have home games to come against Saudi Arabia and UAE and we will expect to do well in those.”



Failure to overcome Japan, who lie a point adrift of Australia in third spot, has left the Socceroos’ fate in the balance, with the fourth placed UAE still in the picture with six points from third four games.

“It was disappointing against Japan, especially in the first half when we were a bit lacklustre,” added Luongo.

“We didn’t think they would sit off as much as they did and maybe we struggled with that a bit.

“We have come a long way and they gave us a lot of respect by sitting off and not trying to outplay us because there are not too many teams that can do that anymore.

“We are a team that wants to dominate the ball and make it hard for teams to win it back. A lot of them will just sit deep and try and hit us on the counter attack.

“We struggled to solve problems all over the pitch against Japan but we won’t dwell on things too much and just need to focus on the Thai game now.

“We hit a little blip against Jordan (a 2-0 loss in Amman) in the last phase of qualifying and we bounced back from that to silence everybody and I think we have just missed an opportunity in the last two games.

“I expect us to resurrect things again in the coming games.”



Luongo, who set up Idrissa Sylla for QPR’s sole goal in Wednesday’s (AEST) 1-0 win over Bristol City, is expecting the Thais to try and frustrate Australia on 15 November at the Rajamangala Stadium.

It has been speculated that the Thais may seek to have the game play behind closed doors as the nation mourns the death of it monarch King Bhumibol Abulyadej.

Either way, Luongo anticipates a familiar tale unfolding.

“We have seen clips of them, and they are decent. They are technical with a few individual players who can hurt us,” he said.

“But all these teams sing from the same song sheet. They are getting better; they are developing and have a few individual stars.

“It’s nothing we haven’t dealt with before and we will be expected to dominate the game there regardless.”




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3 min read
Published 19 October 2016 at 10:52pm
By Dave Lewis