Ange Postecoglou is expecting a tough Asian Cup opener against Kuwait and says the Socceroos won’t underestimate the Arab country like they have in the past.
Australia and Kuwait clash in Melbourne on Friday night in the first cup match of the tournament.
The two teams played out a 2-2 draw the last time they met, in Kuwait in 2010, while Al-Azraq upset the Socceroos 1-0 in Canberra in 2009.
In 2006 the two sides traded 2-0 results in August and September home and away.
Kuwait are widely tipped to be the weakest team in Group A but Postecoglou is not taking them lightly.
“I’m sure they’re just as excited (as we are) to get out there tomorrow night,” he said.
“It’s a big occasion. It’s a chance for Kuwait to really stamp their name on the tournament. We’re expecting a tough game. We’ve done a lot of work analysing them and following them for the past six months.
“Obviously once when we knew the draw, and knew we were playing them first, we learned as much as we could about them.
“What we do know is that it will be a tough game. They’ve always been difficult opponents for Australia.
“It’s their chance to shine as well. We won’t be underestimating them. But at the same time we tend to focus on ourselves. If we play well we’ll be a handful for anybody. We have to make sure we play well tomorrow night.”
Australian skipper Mile Jedinak is the only survivor from the Socceroo XI that drew with Kuwait four years ago. Reserve keeper Eugene Galekovic was between the sticks that night at the International Jaber Al-Ahmad Stadium.
Jedinak believes the match will have little bearing on Friday night’s encounter.
“Our team has changed a lot since then as has theirs I’m sure,” he said.
Jedinak said while he remembered that game their attention was on Friday night.
“Our focus is on this game with Kuwait since we got into camp,” he said.
“There’s been a lot to look at, a lot to digest and practice towards.
“We’ve analysed them as a group. We know they’re very quick on the break. Their wide players are very tricky going forward. They’re a handful.
“We know we’ll have our work cut out for us that’s for sure. We’ve got our game and how we counter-attack that.”
Postecoglou said he had already decided on his starting XI and the spirit in the Socceroo camp ahead of the opener had been good.
“There’ genuine excitement about playing in front of our supporters,” the coach said. “The spirit has been first rate.”comments