Sport Socceroos set for Honduran cauldron

03:07  10 november  2017
03:07  10 november  2017 Source:

Postecoglou: I'm focused on Honduras, not my future

  Postecoglou: I'm focused on Honduras, not my future Ange Postecoglou is focused entirely on Australia's World Cup play-off against Honduras.Postecoglou's future is unclear after a report earlier this month suggested he would quit – even if the Socceroos reach Russia 2018.

01:35 16 november 2017 Source: Socceroos set for Honduran cauldron . Ange Postecoglou says it is Honduras who must get something out of the first leg of their World Cup play-off against Australia in San Pedro Sula.The Socceroos face the world

Sport: socceroos qualify world cup: , Socceroos qualify for world cup: where to from here for australia after booking russia 2018 spot? : socceroos set for honduran cauldron ange postecoglou says it is honduras who must get s. Sport: ange: kangaroos play football - pressfrom, Ange

Australia's Tim Cahill celebrates after scoring in extra time during the 2018 World Cup qualifying football match between Australia and Syria© AAP Image/Dean Lewins Australia's Tim Cahill celebrates after scoring in extra time during the 2018 World Cup qualifying football match between Australia and Syria Australia will aim to turn Honduras' biggest strength - their fiery home support - on its head in the opening match of their intercontinental World Cup play-off.

The Socceroos face the world No.69 Hondurans on Saturday morning (AEDT) in San Pedro Sula, beginning a two-match series that will send one of the teams to Russia.

It's a challenging road the Socceroos have walked several times before, and one coach Ange Postecoglou insists his team is up for.

World Cup Qualifier: Socceroos' airport snub puts Honduras offside

  World Cup Qualifier: Socceroos' airport snub puts Honduras offside The Socceroos "did not give a smile" to the local media and that hasn't gone down well with the Hondurans.The Australian team was braced for a hostile reception from hundreds of passionate local fans. Team staff waiting to greet coach Ange Postecoglou and the main delegation of the national team wore plain clothes rather than team uniform to avoid any association at the arrivals lounge.

The Socceroos scraped through to the final play-off round with a 2-1 extra time win over Syria, while Honduras earned fourth place in the CONCACAF region after a chaotic final matchday. Five unknown youngsters set to shine at the World Cup.

Does the away goals rule make your brain keel over and give you something extra to panic about ahead of a crucial Socceroos match? Here's a quick explainer of how the World Cup qualifying play-off is poised.

"We're going as hard as we can in both games and they'll have to keep up," he said.

On paper, Australia match up well with their opponents, with more overseas-based stars, more wins in qualifying and a better qualifying pedigree.

But the Socceroos face challenges - both in their own ranks and from the opposition.

The absence of Mark Milligan, Mat Leckie (suspension), Robbie Kruse (knee) and an injury to superstar forward Tim Cahill means Postecoglou must rejig his team for the away leg.

Murder, Isis sledges driving Honduras

  Murder, Isis sledges driving Honduras As if winning a place at the 2018 World Cup wasn't enough motivation, Honduras' captain says media belittling by Australia is pushing them to triumph.On the eve of their World Cup qualifying playoff, Honduras captain Maynor Figueroa has made clear his team's annoyance with reports from Australia characterising their country as dangerous and violent.

The Socceroos will throw themselves into the fire ahead of their World Cup play-off with Honduras , opting to spend the lead-up week to their away match in the Central American nation. FFA is still awaiting advice from its Honduran counterparts, FENAFUTH, as to the venue and time of the match.

Fairfax Media understands the Socceroos are looking at holding their pre-match training camp at a nearby neutral venue before flying into San Pedro Sula, Honduras , immediately before the game.

Australia also have a poor record in World Cup play-offs. The Socceroos are yet to win an away leg and have qualified just once from six appearances.

Then there's 'La Tumba'.

The Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, nicknamed the tomb for its reputation of ending the careers of opposition coaches, is Honduras' best asset.

Los Catrachos have lost just four times in 25 home qualifiers over the past decade, a solid foundation they have used to reach the last two World Cups.

The 40,000-capacity stadium will be rocking for Australia's visit, but Postecoglou isn't skiving away from the occasion.

His message is to bring it on.

"The atmosphere, it will be passionate as it should be," he said.

"We know there's a big prize at stake and we're not expecting to come here and have an easy ride.

"Players will be looking forward to that."

Convention in home and away play-offs is that avoiding defeat in the away tie is key to succeeding over two legs.

Ange: These Kangaroos can play football

  Ange: These Kangaroos can play football Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has taken great pleasure in defending his side's meritorious performance in Honduras to local media.The result has the Socceroos neatly positioned to progress to the World Cup with a win in Wednesday's home tie where they'll start favourites.

Socceroos star Tim Cahill cleared of serious injury but FFA delay travel arrangements to Honduras by a day. Even if Cahill is deemed unfit to take part in the first leg, his ‘street smarts’ will play a vital role as the Socceroos enter the Honduran cauldron in coming days.

The Socceroos believe an unbeaten record in hot-weather away days - in Thailand, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia - so far on the road to Russia holds them in good stead.

Tom Juric, who will lead the line in San Pedro Sula, said he would relish the occasion.

"These hostile environments, I like playing in these sort of games," he said.

"That will bring the best out of a lot of us.

"It will be a key to stay focused on what we do and keep those emotions to a minimum."

Of course, Honduras will face the same gauntlet in Australia.

The Central Americans' home record is impressive - but Australia's run of just one home qualifying loss since 1981 - some 58 matches - is untouchable.

Keeping one eye on the home leg, Postecoglou said he will make Honduras work for a result ahead of the return to ANZ Stadium on November 15.

"This is their chance in a two-legged tie to really use every advantage that they have in terms of the crowd, in terms of their conditions. We expect everything to be in their favour," he said.

"Then we come home and we expect to get 80,000 in our stadium.

"For all the talk of the environment and the conditions, our home form is pretty formidable so they'll need to get something out of this game."

Ange's coaching call by end of month .
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says he'll confirm whether he guides Australia to the World Cup within a fortnight. Postecoglou has failed to clarify his position over the past month, lashing out at critics and those seen as not offering full support to his team.After Wednesday's win, he turned in a typically enigmatic performance during his media engagements, saying he felt like an "outsider"."I've been coaching for 20 years. I won my first championship when I was 31 years old. And you know what? I could coach for another 20 years and I'll always be an outsider in Australian football," he said.

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