Aloisi confident in A-League players to do the job
Central Coast Mariners and Socceroos striker John Aloisi believes a Hyundai A-League squad would equip themselves very well, despite Australia being drawn in the so-called ‘Group of Death’ for the opening round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Central Coast Mariners and Socceroos striker John Aloisi believes a Hyundai A-League squad would equip themselves very well, despite Australia being drawn in the so-called ‘Group of Death- for the opening round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Australia has drawn reigning Asian Cup champions Iraq, powerhouse China and big improvers Qatar in the first round of qualifiers, but Aloisi is confident that Australia can get through the group.
It-s likely that a squad, featuring mainly of Hyundai A-League players, will have to play in several of the qualifying matches, but Aloisi has seen enough since he started playing with the Mariners that gives him confidence and A-League team will do well.
“Yeh, I think so,” said Aloisi, when asked if he thought a squad of A-league players would handle these qualifiers. “I am getting to experience a fair bit of the Hyundai A-League at the moment and I can see there is quite a few good players here.
“These first couple of games, the majority of the team will have to be A-League players, because its going to be very difficult for the European-based players to come back. Coming towards the end of the season here, everyone will be fully match fit, used to the conditions, so I am sure the players will be up for it here.”
The 31-year-old admitted the group Australia was in, was a difficult one, but was also looking forward to the challenge that it brings.
“It-s a tough group; a challenging one and I suppose this is the beauty of being in Asia,” he said with a positive voice. “We are going to play tough games and so if we do qualify, which we have to be confident of doing, we-ll be better prepared for the World Cup.
“There will be big games that will be played in Australia, so there will be big crowds and it-s a good test for everyone.”
“I think all three are strong teams in their own right,” he added. “Of course Iraq will be the strongest out of the lot, because they won the Asian Cup.
“Qatar have a good league now and have a good side; I know that a couple of their players are Uruguayan. They have striker that has been naturalized and is a good player and score a lot of goals in their country.
“China have a strong side now, with a few of their players going to Europe and playing, but Australia has shown what we can do; we beat China, in China in a friendly and I am sure we-ll be right when we have to play them this time.”
No doubt the matches all Australians will be looking forward to most, will be against Iraq, who beat the Socceroos 3-1 at the Asian Cup in the group phase, before going on to win the final.
Aloisi is definitely looking forward to it and believes lessons have been learned from the Asian Cup experience.
“I think we-ll know what to expect this time round. We-ll be playing them, of course, here in Australia and I am not sure where we-ll be playing them; if we play them in their country or on a neutral ground, but we-ll be more prepared.
“I am sure this time we-ll more than capable of beating them. I am looking forward to that game and hopefully the rest of the boys are.”
Aloisi is also confident the lessons of the Asian Cup have been learnt.
“We learnt about the conditions of course; we-ve learnt that no team is a pushover; we learnt that they are very good on the ball, technically most of the players are good, so we know what to expect this time.
“We know if we are playing at our best, we can beat any of the Asian sides and we know we have to be at our best and even the A-League-based squad I think can do a job against any of these sides playing at our best and I am sure that will be the case come the first game.”
While the tough first round group provides its difficulties, Aloisi believes this will also have some benefits come the second round, if it qualifies as one of the top two teams.
“I think it-s a benefit, because playing these sides, we-re not going to expect one easy game. We know how difficult it-s going to be and if we get through this group, the next group is going to be tough.
“But if we get through this group, we have a good chance of going through, because we-ll have shown we can get through in a tough group.”