Socceroos preparing for more of the same against plucky Palestine

Socceroos preparing for more of the same against plucky Palestine

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The tactical challenge Jordan confronted the Socceroos with on Sunday is what the Green and Gold must expect again in the group stage, according to assistant coach Rene Meulensteen. 

The determined Jordnians, let by Belgian Vital Berkelmans, earned a famous 1-0 win in the Asian Cup Group B opener with a frantic pressing game against Graham Arnold’s men that proved too miserly to overcome.

Defender Anas Bani Yaseen opened the scoring from a corner in the 26th minute and from then on, Jordan continued their tone-setting physicality and defended resolutely to shock the reigning champions.

RELATED: Talking Points: Socceroos 0 Jordan 1 – New tournament, same problems, and it’s costly

The upset result opens Group B wide up, and the challenge is now in front of Australia to bounce back from the loss and earn what has been widely expected to be progression into the knockout rounds.

Three points is essential in Dubai on Friday against 99th-ranked Palestine, who drew 0-0 with tournament darkhorses Syria 0-0.

Arnold’s right-hand man Meulensteen said the Socceroos would take stock from the Jordan defeat with a familiar task likely to be in front of them come the weekend.

“I think we’re going to expect the same thing against Palestine and Syria, a very defensive setup,” the Dutchman said.

“It’s a challenge we’re going to have to overcome. We’re going to have a lot of the ball and the most important thing for us is to use that well, to be patient, to keep the quality, to keep the speed of play.

“Eventually, we need to open them up and be clinical when the chances present themselves.”

Meulensteen stressed the need to maximise the width of the pitch.

“If you look at the three months we’ve been working in friendly games we’ve played, we’ve set out in a very clear way, how we want to play and the players have responded tremendously well,” he added.

“We’ve pressed, we’ve created chances, we’ve scored a lot of goals.

“This is a completely different challenge. This is a team that sets itself up with everybody behind the ball so it’s about dragging players in and dragging players out.

“We’re going to spend quite a bit of time on the training pitch.”

The Socceroos will be able to call on Tomi Rogic, who, despite breaking a bone in his hand against Jordan, is expected to be fit to tackle the Lions of Canaan.

Overnight, tournament fancies South Korea and Iran both prevailed in their opening matches against the Philippines and Yemen respectively, while China defeated Kyrgyzstan 2-1.

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