Wilkinson: We gave Chile too much respect

Alex Wilkinson believes the Socceroos gave Chile too much respect in their World Cup opener and will need to improve to secure a result against the Dutch in Porto Alegre.

The Socceroo defender, who made his World Cup debut in the defeat in Cuiaba, said he can’t really explain what went wrong in the opening period where the Australians conceded two quick goals.

“The first 25 to 30 minutes really hurt us,” Wilkinson said.

“Whether it was nerves, whether it was inexperience, we’re not really sure. I can’t really explain it.

“We were probably just a yard off them and maybe gave them a little bit too much respect. Once we got into the game and Timmy scored that goal we grew an extra leg.

“We grew into the game and I think we showed in the second half we do belong at this level and that we can compete. If anything we’ll take a lot of confidence out of it.

Wilkinson said he was not over-awed in the Chile game.

“There was obviously nerves but that’s normal,” the 29-year old said.

“There’s nerves in every game, not just because it’s a World Cup game. And I think it’s good, nerves keep you on your toes and you’re ready to go. I’m sure all the boys were the same.

“Once you’re out there and the game starts you forget all that and it’s business as usual, it’s just another game.

“We have to start better and not give as much time to world-class opponents, because for a lot of us it was sort of the first time we’ve experienced world-class opposition in a pressure-cooker environment.

“I don’t know why we started a bit slow but we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors stopper, who was the subject of a special YouTube World Cup tribute by his club, said the Socceroos will be better for having got the first game out of the way and admitted he was surprised by Holland’s 5-1 thrashing of Spain.

“Obviously a fantastic result for them and a fantastic start to their World Cup campaign,” Wilkinson said.

“It’s definitely going to be a huge challenge but one we’re definitely looking forward to and one we’re definitely going to embrace.

“We know what to expect now. The Dutch are a very, very good team and obviously they’re going to be brimming with confidence now after their first result. It’s going to be tough but looking forward to it.”

Check out Jeonbuk's tribute to Wilko...