DOHA: The bad news for the Socceroos is that they find themselves anchored to the bottom of the group after the opening game. The good news? They won’t have much time to dwell on that 4-1 World Cup defeat to champions France.
They’ll be back on the field against Tunisia on Saturday, about three and a half days after the fulltime whistle went, with plenty still to play for. But first and foremost, lessons have to be learned.
“Individual mistakes at this level are so ruthlessly punished – but obviously, we’re going to look at what we did well, especially in that first period of the game,” midfielder Jackson Irvine told reporters afterwards.
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“The quality and ruthlessness at this level will just punish you every time. It’s a tough school, a tough lesson to learn, but it’s the right time to do it going into two massive games.”
Defender Aziz Behich said that the team “left everything out there,” but it wasn’t enough.
“We knew what type of game it was going to be,” he told reporters.
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“Obviously, France are a good side. We analysed them well, if I look back at the first 10-15 (minutes), the game plan that we put in before the game, where we can hurt them, was exactly how we scored the goal.
Despite trailing 2-1 at the break, Behich said it was a good first half – but nothing went right afterwards.
“We wanted to go out and play the same style we’d been playing, try and play out from the back,” he said.
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“This is part of football, little errors against world class opponents and you get punished, so we’ll learn from that.
“We’ve got to put this game behind us because it’s a short turnaround, and make sure we recover and full steam ahead against Tunisia.”
Behich was asked if heads could drop after a result like that – and gave a blunt answer.
“They can’t drop. These type of tournaments you have to try and brush it off – obviously it hurts, it’s a tough pill to swallow the way we started as well.”
Goalscorer Craig Goodwin said that there would be no doubts creeping in for the Tunisia game, despite the result. Tunisia drew 0-0 with Denmark in their opening match.
“We have to go in with full confidence, the group is wide open and we have the belief in this group that we can do something special.”
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