Australia coach Holger Osieck has vowed to avoid a repeat of the Socceroos’ shock 2-1 loss to Jordan in AFC World Cup qualifying.
Speaking on Monday in Melbourne to announce his largely domestic-based preliminary squad for the Socceroos’ EAFF East Asian Cup qualifying campaign in December, Osieck seemed reluctant to definitively state complacency had been a problem in September’s match in Amman.
But he did concede a lack of hunger had perhaps been a contributor to the loss, and talked tough when asked if it could be a problem again.
“Well, if you had got the impression that had been the case, I can assure you it’s over,” said Osieck, with Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium revealed as the host for the return leg against Jordan in June, 2013.
“What I saw and what I corrected … There was some very clear, clear messages to the team. That’s not going to happen again, I can guarantee that.”
When pressed, Osieck elaborated further: “You could get some kind of feeling they were not probably as hungry as they normally were. For instance, in the Japan game (a 1-1 draw in June), that is for me the perfect of example of the performance standard can be when they are really challenged.
“I think we going to demonstrate the desire to be successful and to win in the upcoming games.”
Those games include a meeting with hosts Hong Kong on December 3 in the Socceroos’ opening match of East Asian Cup qualifying, followed by games against North Korea (December 5), Guam (December 7) and Chinese Taipei (December 9).
Most of the names involved in Jordan in September are missing from Osieck’s latest squad, however, with the matches failing to fall on FIFA-designated dates.
The squad contains 11 potential debutants and just seven players with more than 10 international caps to their names.
Only Matt McKay (Busan IPark), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory) and Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow) could be considered recent regulars, though there are recalls for experienced duo Brett Emerton (Sydney FC) and Richard Garcia (Melbourne Heart).
In all, 20 players have been drawn from the A-League, with just Wilkshire, McKay, Red Star Belgrade striker Eli Babalj, midfielder Rostyn Griffiths of Chinese club Guangzhou R and F and defenders Rob Cornthwaite (Chunnam, South Korea) and Dino Djulbic (Guizhou Renhe, China) summoned from overseas.
Former Perth Glory and Gold Coast United stopper Djulbic could debut at age 29, having made the Chinese Super League’s All-Star team this season.
The squad will link up on Monday, before Osieck announces a final 20-man list on Thursday.