Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou (right) is playing it cool before the Socceroos' WOrld Cup qualifier against Japan.
Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou (right) is playing it cool before the Socceroos' WOrld Cup qualifier against Japan. BEN MACMAHON

Socceroos not caught up in Japan hype

FOOTBALL: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is not treating Tuesday's World Cup qualifying clash with Japan in Melbourne any differently from any other match on the road to Russia 2018.

Postecoglou said that while fans and media might be raising the profile of the game because of the recent rivalry between the two teams, he and the players were just focused on getting a positive result.

"I wouldn't want us to slip up because we didn't prepare properly,” he said.

"From our supporters' perspective I understand the significance. From our perspective this game doesn't take any more importance.

"Being at home, we need to win. But if we do that it doesn't mean we have one foot in the door for the World Cup. It's just a step on the road to Russia.”

Postecoglou said it had been a tough few days flying to and from Saudi Arabia, with whom the Socceroos drew 2-all on Thursday.

He also said record goalscorer Tim Cahill, who began on the bench in Jeddah, wanted to start against Japan but he would leave the decision until closer to kick off.

"He has put his hand up to start,” he said. "If he doesn't, he'll play a part.

"These games are physically demanding and his match fitness may not be there, (but) we've seen that no matter how long Tim Cahill gets, he can make a difference.”

Australia has not beaten Japan in seven years, with the Blue Samurai winning two of the past three clashes.

"Japan has a clear structure. We know how they play,” Postecoglou said.

Japan lost its first World Cup qualifier to United Arab Emirates but has won its past two games.



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