Meulensteen: Socceroos ready for “great occasion” against UAE
Assistant coach Rene Meulensteen believes should the United Arab Emirates live up to their pre-game vow to attack the Socceroos, it could play into Australia’s hands in Saturday morning’s (AEDT) AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ Quarter Final.
In his pre-game press conference ahead of tomorrow’s clash, UAE boss Alberto Zaccheroni said he’ll instruct his side to attack the Socceroos at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
It’s a scenario Australia hasn’t encountered too often at the tournament so far, with most opponents happy to sit deep and play on the counter-attack.
Asked if UAE’s plan to attack would benefit the Socceroos, Meulensteen said: “Yes I believe so because it's always very difficult if you come up against opponents that basically start the game not to lose it.
“Then it’s for us to break them down. You need the quality, you need the speed of play, but you also need things going for you.
“The chances you create, you need to put in the back of the net. But if a team plays to win it becomes a more expansive game and that will definitely suit us.”
Australia put the final touches to their preparation on Thursday, with a short but intense session designed to ensure the players are ready for the challenge of trying to book a spot in the last four.
As the host nation, UAE will have the majority of support in Al Ain but it’s a scenario the Socceroos are thriving under.
“It’s an exciting game for us. Its always great to play the home nation, they have great support and whether that brings extra pressure for them, I don’t know,” Meulensteen said.
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“We just have to make sure we’re at our best, at our very, very best, and it will be a great occasion that’s for sure.”
The Socceroos get underway against UAE at 3am (AEDT) on Saturday and you can catch all the action live on FOX SPORTS 505.
You can also see all the goals and follow the game from Al Ain in our live match blog on www.socceroos.com.au.