Fit-again Amini set for 'do or die' clash

A fully recovered Mustafa Amini is buzzing to get Australia back on the Road to Rio after the Olyroos suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the United Arab Emirates in their first game of Olympic qualification.

During the Olyroos pre- tournament camp a virus broke out with Terry Antonis and Stefan Mauk also feeling the effects. But Amini was the worst hit. 

The former Central Coast Mariner was consigned to bed for six days and was unable to train before the Olyroos played their opener against the UAE. 

Australia’s loss was due to an unfortunate late goal by Melbourne Victory defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco. Amini said that result was tough to take.

“It was devastating,” he said. “Losing the first game of the tournament is hard. It was one of those typical games where you play against the Arab teams.

“They try and make it slow, they kick it long and fight for the second ball, so it was a frustrating game for us. It was a real football game but we did have our chances and we know now that we must take your chances to win a football game.”  

The Australian men’s Olympic team failed to qualify for London.

Four years on and the Olyroos must come second in their group to progress in the championships, making their two remaining games against Vietnam and Jordan must-wins.

Amini is now recovered and will start in the next game, saying the team is fully aware of what is at stake for the Olyroos' Sunday clash (Monday 12.30am AEDT).

“Of course everyone knows it’s a do or die game,” he said.

“When you lose the first game of the tournament there is no going back, but the best part is it is in our own hands and everyone knows that.

“Of course there will be some nerves and maybe they were there in the first game and we were getting it out of our system.

“I’ve been waiting for this tournament for two years from when we first started the qualification process.

“We knew that this was the way to get to the Olympic Games. You get bumps along the road and this was a big bump just before the tournament started.  At the end of the day you go to try and get through it as best as you can.

“I played those 30 minutes against UAE and of course my stomach affected me but now I’m feeling good. Now it’s for the next game on Sunday against Vietnam. We are only thinking about Vietnam.”

Even though Vietnam lost to Jordan 3-1 in their opening game Amini isn’t discounting their Southeast Asian opponents.

“You can’t underestimate anyone,” he said. “Vietnam are here in this tournament and anyone in this tournament is a good team and you got earn your right to win a game of football always.

“We are confident, and we will get those three points. We know that we are better than what we showed against the UAE. We just need a strong performance and an energetic performance with plenty of goals hopefully.”

Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.