Aloisi wants history to repeat
Australia striker John Aloisi is banking on history repeating when the Socceroos meet Japan in the quarter finals of the Asian Cup at Vietnam’s My Dinh Stadium tomorrow.
Australia striker John Aloisi is banking on history repeating when the Socceroos meet Japan in the quarter finals of the Asian Cup at Vietnam-s My Dinh Stadium tomorrow.
Unforgettably, Aloisi was one of Australia-s goal scorers on the last occasion the Socceroos met the reigning Asian Cup champions in their 2006 FIFA World Cup opener in Kaiserslautern.
As Australia searched desperately for an equalising goal in the final minutes at the Fritz-Walter Stadion, Aloisi was brought on to replace Luke Wilkshire with fifteen minutes remaining - one of three swaps that payed immeasurable dividends for the Socceroos.
Trailing by the only goal at that time, the Socceroos went on to claim a 3-1 victory that would ultimately be the telling result in their qualification for the second round.
Aloisi claimed the third and match-sealing goal in the final minute - slicing through a shell-shocked Japanese back line to produce a delightful left-footed finish past sprawling Japanese goal keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.
Having earned his first start of these championships against co-hosts Thailand last Monday, Aloisi is now looking forward to again influencing a positive result for the green and gold, in a highly-anticipated repeat of the showdown that sparked an unprecedented month-long football celebration in Australia one year ago.
"Yeah, why not? I think that we can," said Aloisi when asked if the Socceroos could defeat Japan tomorrow.
"I think that we can do well and beat them, we-ve beat them before and we-ll try hard to beat them again.
"The win against Thailand has given the boys confidence after all the stories that have come out the last week.
"We just said we need to do it for ourselves and the country and stick together and that-s what we-ve been doing."
The build-up to Australia-s quarter final date with Japan has attracted more attention than any other fixture in south-east Asia this month.
Both Australian and Japanese camps have been outspoken in attempting to claim a psychological edge, with Japan defender Yuji Nazakawa dismissing Australia-s challenge to boast his side will triumph 3-0.
Similarly, key Socceroo midfielder Tim Cahill, who laid on the final pass for three of Australia-s four goals against Thailand on Monday and was Japan-s destroyer in Kaiserslautern, has encouraged the Japanese to ‘mark me with two players-.
With their first Asian Cup win under their belts, Aloisi and his Socceroo team mates believe they have now turned the corner and are very much primed to knock off one of the tournament heavyweights.
"It was a hard win against Thailand, they played well - they were probably the best side that we faced," said Aloisi.
"It was a difficult game, the second goal killed them off and then we were able to get a couple more.
"They had to throw everything at us, they knew they needed a result and we defended really well, I thought the change of formation worked well for us."
Reigning Asian Cup champions Japan now stand between Australia and a semi final berth, with the Socceroos set to take on their nemeses of one year ago at Hanoi-s My Dinh Stadium this coming Saturday, 21 July. Kick off is at 8.20pm AEST.
Fox Sports will feature live and exclusive coverage of the match from 8pm AEST. Click here for the entire Fox Sports broadcast schedule.