Australia midfielder Mark Bresciano says competition for places in the starting line-up helped power his country’s 4-0 win over Jordan.
The Socceroos’ big win in Melbourne on Tuesday has put them in the box seat to take second place in AFC World Cup qualifying Group B and seal a berth at next year’s tournament in Brazil.
With one game to play – against already-eliminated Iraq – on Tuesday night in Sydney, a win would see Holger Osieck’s team progress to the World Cup finals for a third successive time.
But qualifying has not been an easy road for the Australians, with the Jordan win just their second of a difficult campaign.
Speaking at Melbourne airport on Wednesday, Bresciano said the fact the entire squad was fit and ready to play meant there could be no complacency.
“It’s probably one of the best things you can have in a team, when you’ve got that pressure,” the 33-year-old said.
“When you’ve got players that we had on the bench that are still good enough to play in the starting 11, it keeps the intensity of training up.
“It keeps the players who are playing focused and on their toes.”
Only four of Australia’s starting 11 against Jordan were under 30 (Mark Milligan, Brett Holman, Robbie Kruse and Tommy Oar), while Dario Vidosic and Tom Rogic came off the bench in the second half.
But Bresciano feels the Socceroos’ blend of youth and experience is working well.
“I think we’ve got it right now with that mixture, we do need that energy and that spark which the young boys do bring to the team,” he said.
“And with our experience, we just try to guide them in the right way.”
Bresciano said the squad are not getting carried away with the Jordan win, and have switched their focus onto Iraq ahead of Tuesday’s match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
“The mood this morning is OK. We’re still very confident, positive, tired and just focused for next week,” he said.
“It looks like the team’s come together at the right time, because this is a critical time for us. I think we just have to repeat the performance on Tuesday night.”