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Australia upbeat over World Cup qualification chances

Australia are still confident of securing a place the 2014 FIFA World Cup, despite their indifferent qualifying campaign to date.

Going into Tuesday’s match with Jordan in Melbourne, the Socceroos sit third in AFC qualifying Group B, having won just one of their six games in the pool so far.

Last week, Holger Osieck’s men fell agonisingly short of a crucial win away at group leaders Japan, with Keisuke Honda’s late equaliser cancelling out Tommy Oar’s opener in Saitama to send the hosts through to next year’s tournament.

However, a victory in their game in hand on second-placed Oman would put Australia in pole position to qualify automatically along with Japan, as they would move two points clear of Paul Le Guen’s team with just one game remaining.

And, speaking ahead of the crucial clash with Jordan, Tim Cahill called on his team-mates to focus on the fact that their destiny remains in their own hands and insisted that a repeat of their performance in Japan should be enough for three points.

“I think the situation is clear. We have to concentrate on this game most importantly,” the New York Red Bulls man said.

“Jordan are a very good team, we had a very difficult game against them away, but I feel the game we had in Japan really sets us up well.

“It’s the performance that a lot of people are looking towards, the strength at the back and the compactness in the middle, and obviously tactically sticking to our game plan.

“At times it’s difficult to attack, but when you’re playing away in front of 62,000 people you can’t be free and open and vulnerable to goals. But overall if we put our all into this Jordan game I’m quietly confident we can do the job because it’s in our hands and hopefully we can do it.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Matt McKay believes it is positive that Australia are still in with a chance of qualifying for Brazil, even though they have not been at their best.

“We’ve been unlucky at times, we’ve played poorly at times, we’ve played well at times and not got results,” he said.

“To say we’ve only lost one game in this group, and that was a difficult trip away to Jordan, where we really would have liked to get something. So a culmination of factors (mean) we’re still there.

“It hasn’t been as easy as previous World Cup campaigns, but we’re still in it, everyone knows the job at hand and we will go out there and do our best.”
Mon 10 June, 2013
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