Spain test no dead rubber, insists Aussie coach

22 June 2014 03:31

Australia manager Ange Postecoglou believes his side have plenty to prove against dethroned world champions Spain on Monday despite both sides having already been eliminated from the World Cup.

In contrast to Spain's disastrous defence of their title, Australia come into the game having been encouraged by their performances despite losing to Chile and the Netherlands in their opening two games.

And Postecoglou thinks registering just the Socceroos third ever World Cup win would send a message that this young Australian side can go onto greater things, firstly at the Asian Cup on home soil next year, and at the World Cup in four years time.

"I don't think we've got nothing to play for, I think we've got plenty to play for," he said.

"I have already said that this is our fourth World Cup and we've only won two World Cup games, so if we are going to make an effort to improve and become the nation we want to become we need to start winning games at this level.

"We've got plenty of motivation, it's far from a dead rubber for us and the fact that we are putting out a young team tomorrow is not because we are trying to experiment, we are putting out the team we think can win the game.

"Who is to know which of us will be here in four years time and I don't want to pass us this opportunity to make a mark on the World Cup. We are very, very motivated for tomorrow."

Australia will have to do without their all-time record goalscorer Tim Cahill, who notched two goals in as many games in the competition, as he is suspended, whilst Mark Bresciano and Mark Milligan are injury doubts.

And both sides preparation has been disrupted as they weren't able to train at the Arena da Baixada on Sunday as is normal 24 hours before the game due to the bad state of the pitch in Curitiba.

The stadium has played host to Nigeria's 0-0 draw with Iran and Ecuador's 2-1 win over Honduras in the past week with Russia's final group H game against Algeria also to come on Thursday.

"The pitch hasn't recovered from the last game and from our perspective the better condition the pitch is in tomorrow the better," said Postecoglou.

"It is not ideal as it would be better for the players, but looking at it now it would detract from the spectacle tomorrow if we trained on it and Spain trained on it."

Without the experience of Cahill and Bresciano, Aussie captain Mile Jedinak admitted he will have to take more of a leadership role than ever against Spain.

However, the Crystal Palace midfielder believes they can build on their performances against Chile and the Dutch if they can cut out the defensive errors at key times which have seen them concede three times in both matches so far.

"We got a chance to analyse the games after and it was just moments where a lapse in concentration let us down.

"We know we'll have to stay concentrated and disciplined for the 90 minutes against a quality Spanish team."

Source: AFP

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