The Socceroos say they will head to Saitama to play Japan next month full of confidence and momentum after the Confederations Cup.
Australia was eliminated from their group after a defeat to Germany and draws with Cameroon and Chile. But the green and gold have taken plenty from their Russian experience, including playing the South American champions off the park for large parts of their match in Moscow.
After impressing against Chile, Tomi Juric believes the Socceroos will succeed in their must-win World Cup qualifier against Japan.
“We’ve come a long way,” the striker told FourFourTwo.
“If we play like this against Japan, I see three points coming in our direction. There’s no one that can really face up to this, if we put it against maybe a smaller nation or a smaller side, they’re not going to find any answer.”
Mat Ryan said the Australian squad is more tight-knit than ever after the Confederations Cup. The goalkeeper also believes they can take plenty of heart from the display against La Roja.
The Socceroos and Samurai Blue meet at the Saitama Stadium on August 31 in a crunch qualifier that could determine who tops their group.
“We went out and put it to one of the best teams in the world,” Ryan told FourFourTwo.
“We’ve taken a big step and hopefully made our nation proud and ourselves proud. We’ve come together more as a squad, having all of these games together. I’m feeling closer than ever away from the pitch, getting on.
“Not that we didn’t before, just spending more time together and there’s more of a bond. Improving on the pitch as well. We love playing this opposition. Now we want to get these two World Cup qualifying games done with good results.
“Obviously if we play our brand of football, if we stick to our principals and our fundamentals, then we’re confident that the results will come off the back of that. If we do it and get the qualification for Russia, I think we’ve showed that we can come back here and come to the World Cup and make some noise.”
With two matches left Japan top Group B with 17 points, with Saudia Arabia second and Australia third both on 16 points. The Samurai Blue slipped up in their last match, drawing away 1-1 with Iraq.
Japan and Saudi Arabia meet in their final qualifier, while the Socceroos will take on Thailand in Melbourne. The top two teams from Group B qualify directly for the World Cup while the third-placed team goes into the playoffs.
Mark Milligan said the Confederations Cup has got the green and gold fully prepared to finish their qualification campaign on a high.
“The tournament’s been extremely good for this,” the midfielder told FourFourTwo.
“We’re going to take a lot of confidence out of this and the next qualifiers, Japan in Japan, we’re going to go into them with a great deal of confidence and finish this campaign strongly and prepare for next year,” he said.
“We’re happy with the performance (against Chile) but by no means are we going to rest on that. We want to get better and I think we can.”