Saturday, June 23, 2018

Australia v Greece: Postecoglou keen for aggressive test

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Jun 2016


Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is looking forward to taking on an aggressive Greece side at the ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

A four-game winning streak for the Socceroos ended with a 2-1 loss to England at the Stadium of Light last Friday – Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford condemning them to defeat.

Saturday’s meeting in Sydney precedes a second match between the two nations in Melbourne on June 7.

With the third round of Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup set to start in September, Postecoglou – one of a number of people involved in the Australian national team with Greek heritage – believes Greece are an opponent of sufficient calibre to help their preparations.

“Greece have had a bit of a shift. Their golden generation came to an end about the same time ours did. In the last four games it seems like they’re a lot more aggressive, particularly in defence,” he said.

“They push on a bit, unlike Greek teams of the past which were just hard to break down. They still are, but it looks like [coach Michael Skibbe] wants them to push on and be more aggressive. It’ll be a good test for us, which is what we need.”

Postecoglou has Tim Cahill, Nathan Burns, Matthew Leckie and Apostolos Giannou, who represented Greece in a November friendly against Turkey that finished 0-0, available for Australia after missing the friendly against England.

The Socceroos coach will offer opportunities to players who missed that match but are eager to maintain stability in his starting line-up.

“We’ll have a decent hit-out at training and then I’ll have a look at it. We’ll certainly make a few changes just to bring in some of the fresher guys who didn’t play,” Postecoglou said.

“But certainly over two games the idea is to give as many of them a decent whack without disrupting team fluency and balance. We still want to play well, we still want to win.”

Greece failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and lost their most recently friendly against Iceland 3-2, despite taking a 2-0 lead.

Skibbe has left Benfica striker Kostas Mitroglou out of his squad, but has no injury concerns to contend with.


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