While Ange Postecoglou lamented Australia’s performance in their 2-2 draw in Thailand, the Socceroos head coach insisted qualification for the 2018 World Cup remains in his team’s hands.
Australia’s stuttering AFC World Cup qualifying campaign continued on Tuesday as they were held to a third consecutive draw, coming from behind against Thailand in Bangkok.
Captain Mile Jedinak’s brace and some goalkeeping heroics from Mathew Ryan spared Australia’s blushes against an enthusiastic Thailand outfit, who had lost all four of their Group B fixtures heading into the fixture at Rajamangala National Stadium.
The result demoted Australia to third in the group, with only the top two teams from Group A and Group B ensured of automatic qualification for Russia 2018.
“We started well enough but we didn’t control the game like we wanted to and in the end, ended up playing a game that suited them more than us and it was very hard for us to gain momentum on a night where obviously there were up for it,” Postecoglou said.
“We got careless in possession particularly in the front third. We got into good areas and we ended up giving the ball away cheaply and they hit us on the counter attack.
“We then turned it into a game that suited them going end-to-end and when that happens we can’t control the game as we want to.”
After five rounds, the Socceroos are a point adrift of Saudi Arabia and Japan.
Japan leapfrogged Australia following their 2-1 victory over the Saudis on Tuesday, with the Socceroos now facing a must-win trip to Iraq next year.
“We’re still in good shape. We’ve got three home games next year and our performances, apart from maybe today have still been strong and qualification is still in our hands, and more importantly the ability to play our football is still in our hands,” Postecoglou added.
“Everything’s still in our control.”