Ahead of their must win game against Jordan tomorrow night, Brisbane Roar striker Jamie Maclaren says that the Olyroos are not ready to give up their dream of playing at the Rio Olympics.
In Australia’s second group game at the AFC U23 Championship, Maclaren scored the second goal in Australia’s 2-0 win against Vietnam.
The Asian Championships also double up as qualification tournament for the Olympics that will be hosted in Rio next year.
Tomorrow night’s game against Jordan has been more than just a four year cycle with many of the Olyroos squad together since their time playing for the Joeys U17 side.
Mclaren admitted that heading into the do-or-die clash there is a sense of urgency that this could be the last chance for many in the squad to go to an Olympics.
“It’s not a nice feeling,” he said.
“Some of us been together for six years, there have been a core group who have together since 2010 and we don’t want it to end. There have also been new boys that have come in who have been given chances in the A-League and have come from overseas and have come into the squad and have done well.
"We’ve got such a good group here that we don’t want it to end now. We want to qualify and hopefully see us in Rio and so far we don’t feel like it’s our time to leave now.”
After failing to get on the scoresheet against the UAE in their opening match, the Olyroos put two past Vietnam in their second group game but the goals haven’t come through open play.
Maclaren, who’s been in scoring form for the Brisbane Roar this season with seven goals in 12 games, said that it hasn’t been a concern as the team have still been generating shots at goal.
“You’d be worried if you weren’t creating chances,” he said.
“I would have liked to have scored more. At the end of the day we have walked away with two goals against Vietnam. From set pieces we were probably a bit lucky.
“We controlled the game for the majority of the whole 90 minutes and it probably could have been more than 2-0 but we’ll take the three points and clean sheet.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s night game, McLaren said that the Olyroos expect to deal with a situation where Jordan may use the tactic of parking the bus, as they only need a draw to qualify for the next round.
“We know that Jordan will play for the draw, he said.
“If they are going to want to sit back we’ve just got to heap pressure on them. We need to keep the ball as much as we can but also be very attacking. Against the UAE we didn’t penetrate enough. Vietnam came at us a bit and gave us a bit of freedom going forward but it will definitely be a similar game to when we faced the UAE.
“We are going into the game knowing that we have to win, we are not going to stand for a draw. We know that it’s a possibility that if we were to draw that we would go through, but we’re not even thinking of playing for a draw.”comments