Podcast Episode 5: Preparations almost complete, Irvine's tunes and bangers

Michael Zappone and Socceroos media officer Ben O’Neill had a chat ahead of the Socceroos’ Round of 16 clash against Uzbekistan which is only hours away.

The game, which kicks off on Tuesday, 22 January at 1am (AEDT), will see Australia battle it out for a place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ quarter-finals against either the United Arab Emirates or Kyrgyz Republic.

GALLERY: Socceroos train ahead of Uzbekistan encounter
LIVE BLOG: Stay across all the latest from Socceroos camp
MATCH PREVIEW: Team news, kick-off time and more ahead of Uzbekistan clash

Zappone and O’Neill previewed the upcoming match, and spoke to a few key figures including Assistant Coach Kenny Lowe, left-back Aziz Behich and midfielder Jackson Irvine.


It’s do-or-die for the Socceroos ahead of their huge clash against Uzbekistan.

Graham Arnold has a near-full squad to choose from, with the players particularly buoyed by the imminent inclusion of Mat Leckie.

The Hertha Berlin winger has participated in training for the past three days and is raring to go against the White Wolves.

Mathew Leckie

Kenny Lowe talks ‘top-level’ preparations

The boys caught up with Assistant Coach Lowe who, having coached at the highest level, believes the Socceroos staff and preparations are the best he’s encountered.

“No stone is left unturned and everything is catered for with top, top level,” said Lowe.

“Top, top insight, top coaching, it’s been a superb experience for myself.”

Lowe reserved special praise for the Senior Technical Analyst, Doug Kors, who was previously the Head of Analysis at Sydney FC.

“Obviously we’ve got the analyst, Dougie, and the boys who look at all that aspect of stuff,” said Lowe.

“I can honestly say Dougie is better than some of the coaches I’ve worked with, he’s top shelf — really, really good … and that filters down to the rest of the staff.”

Socceroos training

Behich relishing Arnold’s new regime

One of many standouts under Arnold’s new regime has been Aziz Behich.

The PSV Eindhoven man has continued his great form from the FIFA World Cup™, enjoying 270 minutes of action thus far in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.

Behich lauded the day’s break Arnold gave the squad, noting how much it helped the side rejuvenate ahead of the campaign’s demands.

“I think the few days rest have come in handy, we’ve refreshed our body — but the most important thing obviously is refreshing the mind,” said Behich.

“Switched off for a day, on a day off, and then we were back on the training park and preparations were straight into it.”

Jackson’s wild tunes

It’s no secret Jackson Irvine is one of the grooviest players in camp, so seeing his eclectic music playlist filled with a mix of hits ranging from the 60s to today also comes as no surprise.

Artists include Childish Gambino, David Bowie and Panic! At The Disco.

That’s a fair share of tunes Irvine’s got there — will you be jamming out with him?