Socceroos full of confidence for World Cup qualifiers


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The Socceroos are confident they can adapt their style of play to break down packed defences and start their upcoming World Cup qualification campaign on a high note.

Australia kick off their run to the 2026 tournament, co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, by playing Bangladesh at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Thursday, then Palestine in Kuwait five days later.

The Socceroos enter qualifying after a mix of friendlies against Argentina, England, Mexico, Ecuador and New Zealand.

“We’re in a really good place,” midfielder Jackson Irvine said. 

“Since Qatar we’ve obviously played some tough opposition. 

“As we are currently coming into a new cycle, we have totally different challenges in terms of style of play and opposition.

“But … in terms of domestic form and the way we’ve played over the last few months together as a group, I think it’s a really exciting time to be part of the squad.”

The Socceroos will likely have far more possession against Bangladesh and Palestine than in their recent friendlies.

“We’ll have to focus obviously a lot more on our build-up with the ball,” Irvine said.

“The last months playing against the likes of Ecuador and Mexico, England, you’re faced with a totally different kind of game in terms of possession and playing in transition whereas we’re expected over these next two games and moving forward to be far more dominant with the ball. 

“So it poses new challenges for us as a group. 

“We’ll have to find new solutions and ways to create chances and score goals but we’ve got such great quality, great individual quality and a great structure as a team that we know we can create chances and score goals.

“We want to give the fans something to get off their seats for and be excited about and provide bits of individual quality combined with the structure and the way we play as a team.”

 Jackson Irvine is loving the fact coach Graham Arnold has been placing his trust in him. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS 

On Thursday, Arnold will take the outright record for most ‘A’ internationals as Socceroos coach when he steps into the technical area for the 59th time.

“He’s been a huge factor in the way my career and international career’s developed over the last five years,” Irvine said.

“I’ve started just about every game since he became coach and he puts such trust in me.

“We have a really good relationship in terms of the balance we find between what he lets us control as senior players on the field as well as away from the pitch.

“Obviously it will be a special night for him and hopefully we can reward him with a great performance and a win.”

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