Australia need to tighten up after loss

AMMAN • Australia's surprise 0-2 World Cup qualifying loss to Jordan was a massive learning curve, midfielder Massimo Luongo said, with the Asian champions needing to be more cautious in future to avoid conceding counter-attack goals.

The underdogs went top of Group B after second-half strikes from Hasan Abdel Fattah and Hamza Al Dardour handed them victory in Amman on Thursday, as the Socceroos suffered their first defeat of the campaign.

"The counter-attack is a bit dangerous for us. We handled that really well in the past games and today I didn't think we were as good at handling two chances," Luongo said.

"We won't steer away from where we're trying to go with our football, it's just we might be a bit more cautious. We know what can hurt us now. It's a massive learning curve today."

Jordan have 10 points from four matches, one more than Australia with only the top spot guaranteed a passage through to the next round of World Cup qualifiers in Asia.

The Socceroos face Kyrgyzstan at home next month and what should be a straightforward trip to lowly Bangladesh before they finish their campaign in March by hosting Tajikistan and Jordan.

Luongo, the player of the tournament as Australia won the Asian Cup on home soil in January, was adamant the Socceroos would make it through to the next round.

"We're confident that we'll win every other game. If you're not confident, you shouldn't be in the squad," he said.

However, Luongo, who plays for English second-tier outfit Queens Park Rangers, stated his preference for a chance in his preferred central midfield role in the upcoming matches after being played in a more advanced wide role against Jordan.

"I think I'm a lot better in my ability in tight little holes," the 23-year-old said. "I'm not a winger so it's a bit difficult for me to go for a Plan B.

"But I do this for the team and I understand that's the role the boss (Ange Postecoglou) wants me to play. Whether he still wants me to play, I don't know."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2015, with the headline 'Australia need to tighten up after loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe