We will improve: Grella
Key Socceroos midfielder Vince Grella foresees an improved Australian performance when the green and gold take on Iraq in their second Group A match at the Rajamangala National Stadium on Friday.
BANGKOK: Key Socceroos midfielder Vince Grella foresees an improved Australian performance when the green and gold take on Iraq in their second Group A match at the Rajamangala National Stadium on Friday.
Grella, 27, was one of several members of the Socceroos- leading cast to under perform against Oman on Sunday - his normally unflustered distribution game and stellar contribution to defence succumbing to a combination of the unfamiliar Bangkok conditions and a determined Omani midfield.
Having recently joined ambitious Italian outfit Torino, Grella looms as one of Australia-s key men should the Socceroos progress to the latter stages of the tournament.
Surely one of the first players selected in Graham Arnold-s starting eleven, Grella believes that the Asian Cup audience will witness a vastly improved Socceroos performance when Australia-s hopes of topping Group A go on the line against Iraq later this week.
"It was very tough, it was the hottest we-ve played in since we-ve been here, and the heat took its toll," said Grella after the Socceroos- 1-1 draw with Oman.
"We got a point at the end, after playing probably not the best game - we-ll take it and obviously try to freshen up the legs and look for a better performance. I think Australia can only improve in the next games.
"It wouldn-t be the first and it won-t be the last time we have an ordinary game.
"There-s no use going over it too much, I think the players know what they can do, we-ve just got to get on and do it."
With the other Group A round one fixture between Iraq and Thailand also finishing 1-1, Australia-s somewhat unexpected draw against Oman has not dealt the Socceroos- chances of topping their group a fatal blow.
Far from it.
Should the Socceroos take maximum points from their final Group A matches, starting with Friday-s clash against Iraq, Arnold-s charges will almost certainly secure their passage through to the final eight while avoiding a likely clash with regional heavyweights Japan, and, importantly, ensure their camp remains in Bangkok for the quarter final stage.
The challenge of Iraq, whose quality was certainly evident in patches throughout their match up with the hosts last Saturday, coupled with the stifling Thailand heat, which peaked at nearly 35° at nearly 60% humidity against Oman, ensures that whatever progress Grella and his team mates make past the group stage will be hard earned.
"It-s a problem with our physical condition, but they-re hard conditions to play in, I think we-ve maybe got to look to keeping the ball a little bit and building up play a little bit slower when we-ve got the ball," said Grella.
"Until you-re on the pitch and you feel it, it-s even harder to explain. It-s not an excuse, I think each player knows what they-ve done well and what they haven-t done as well - we need honesty and I think we-ll be OK."
The Socceroos- Asian Cup campaign continues on Friday, 13 July against Iraq at Bangkok-s Rajamangala National Stadium. Kick off is at 5.20pm local time (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.