There are no more second chances as the Socceroos prepare to take on Uzbekistan in a massive AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019tm Round of 16 clash in Al Ain on Tuesday morning (AEDT).
Graham Arnold’s attacking philosophy was there for all to see during the group stage with the Socceroos notching up six goals across the three games as they sealed their progression to the knockout stages.
Awaiting Australia are Uzbekistan after the White Wolves finished runners-up in Group F following a 2-1 loss to Japan.
Get the full lowdown with your comprehensive guide to Tuesday’s fixture!
The Socceroos finished the group stage with a flurry, seeing off Palestine and Syria 3-0 and 3-2 respectively to finish Group B runners-up.
While not as straightforward as the win against Palestine, Australia’s triumph over Syria showcased not only their attacking intent but also an ability to overcome challenges after their opponents twice clawed their way back into the match.
A thumping Tom Rogic strike sealed the three points towards the end and it was just reward for the Socceroos who now look to take their game to the next level against Uzbekistan.
No news is good news following the Socceroos’ win over Syria with the match-day squad emerging unscathed from the tough encounter.
However, there is news on the Mathew Leckie front with the Hertha BSC winger being ruled fit in a timely boost for Graham Arnold heading into the knockout stages.
Trent Sainsbury is also once again available for selection after serving his suspension which could see skipper Mark Milligan move back into the midfield after the handyman covered Sainsbury’s absence against Syria.
It will be a good selection headache for Graham Arnold however with midfield trio of Tom Rogic, Massimo Luongo and Jackson Irvine all enjoying standout tournaments to date.
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What they said
Striker Jamie Maclaren
“We’ve seen a bit about Uzbekistan (and how they set up), but for us it’s just completely worrying about us, the way we attack, the way we defend.”
“I feel like the squad’s so confident, whether it’s from start to finish, we’re always creating chances, we’re always scoring goals.
“I think people were talking about how we wouldn’t create chances and score goals, but we’ve done that.
“The squad’s confident and we’re really looking forward to Monday.”
Assistant Coach Rene Meulensteen
“[The result against Syria showed the players] have started to understand what we want.”
“We work hard at that at training everyday, we strongly believe that what we do at training will manifest itself in a game.
“And that’s for us so important because we can sit with the players and positively reinforce — ‘look, that’s the movement we were looking for’, ‘that’s the pass we’re looking for’, ‘these are the options you create’ — and then you’re going to create chances and score goals.
“And if you look to since Arnie and the rest of the staff have taken over, the amount of chances we’ve created, the goals we’ve scored, we are on the right track.”
How to watch
The Socceroos kick-off against Uzbekistan on Tuesday, January 22 at 1am AEDT and you can catch the action live on FOX SPORTS 505.
You can also watch every game of the AFC Asian Cup via Kayo Sports. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial here.
You can also keep up to date with all the goals and action in our LIVE MATCH BLOG on www.socceroos.com.au.