'Kangaroos' jibe fires up Socceroos

SAN PEDRO SULA (Honduras) • Australia coach Ange Postecoglou praised the way his side dealt with hostile conditions on Friday, after the Socceroos held Honduras to a 0-0 draw in their World Cup play-off clash.

Postecoglou said Australia would return to Sydney for Wednesday's second leg in good heart, following a controlled display that puts them in the box seat to qualify for next year's Finals in Russia.

The 52-year-old was particularly pleased with the fact that the baying 39,000 crowd at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano were silenced for long periods while his players dealt with a poor pitch and hot, humid conditions.

"We silenced the crowd a fair bit because of the way we played," Postecoglou said. "I thought the players handled it really well.

"When you play away from home you understand the challenges you have - the conditions, the pitch, the crowd.

"The fact that we created opportunities and stopped the opposition - well, as a coach, that's what you're looking for in an away performance."

He also took exception to a local newspaper that dismissed his team as "11 kangaroos" in a headline and used the post-match news conference to berate the home media.

"Maybe you thought we were going to be easy," Postecoglou told reporters. "I saw in the newspaper you said it was 11 kangaroos out there, but kangaroos can play football, eh?

"All I heard was we have a simple game plan and no stars - that was our motivation. We do our talking when the game comes."

The only downside for Australia was the fact that striker Tomi Juric was unable to convert two good chances that came his way.

"We had some good opportunities but didn't take them," Postecoglou added.

"The only thing missing was goals and hopefully when the second leg comes around in Sydney we get those. We're expecting a tough game in the second game and we'll be ready."

The Socceroos were also buoyed by the successful return of captain Mile Jedinak, who came through the match unscathed and performed well on his comeback from a long-term groin injury.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline ''Kangaroos' jibe fires up Socceroos'. Print Edition | Subscribe