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Postecoglou plays down heat factor

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou played down the significance of the hot conditions ahead of his side’s World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

The Socceroos have completed their preparations for Thursday’s clash with the unbeaten Saudis at a sold-out King Abdullah Stadium in Jeddah.

Searing temperatures and more than 60,000 home fans makes it a tough test for Postecoglou’s side against the hosts, who have also won their opening two Group B games.

Postecoglou has put his side through a string of training sessions to help them acclimatise to the heat but insists it is nothing they have not encountered before.

“Whilst the conditions are warm we don’t think they are as warm as we have faced before. The players have coped really well with it,” he said at a news conference.

“The players are well adjusted to the heat and will be able to cope with whatever happens tomorrow night.

“We love playing in front of big crowds. It’s a fantastic stadium here and I’m sure the players will love playing in it and in front of a big crowd.

“We expect that it’s going to be a tough game and we prepare to win the game. You don’t just go in there thinking things will happen. Expect is the wrong word.

“We go into every game preparing to play at our best and we know when we do that we’re a difficult team to beat. It’s not a matter of rolling up and thinking things will happen, that’s not the values of this team.

“We prepare to work hard, be disciplined and stick to our game plan. If we do those things, hopefully the scoreboard is in our favour.”

Both Australia and Saudi Arabia have started the third round of qualifying with two victories, meaning the winners will take a giant stride towards Russia 2018.

With all 23 players in the squad fit and available for selection, Postecoglou has kept the locals guessing over his starting XI for the clash.

“The beauty of it is there’s probably two or three line-ups I could put in there I would be confident can play our kind of game,” he said.

“They all trained really well yesterday and even the ones that came in late are in good condition.

“I’ve got a full list to choose from. We’ll make those decisions after training and it will be a matter of selecting a team that I think will get the job done.”

Wed 5 Oct, 2016
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