Postecoglou: ’11 kangaroos out there but kangaroos can play’
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has hit back at “disrespectful” belittling of his team from Honduran media after a dominant performance from rattled the host nation inside their intimidating home venue.
Despite being held to a 0-0 against in San Pedro Sula in the first leg of the World Cup qualifying play-off, was the only team that looked like winning – dominating possession, commanding the better of the territory and firing four shots on target compared to just one for the hosts.
While the most important statistic didn’t go in the favour of Socceroos – the final goal tally – Postecoglou used the performance to hit fire a shot at the local media, accusing them of dismissing the ability, calibre and strength of as a football nation. A local newspaper La Prensa ran the headline “Eight million against 11 Kangaroos” on match day during a week in which Honduras’ most decorated player, David Suazo, slammed ‘s footballing credentials.
“Maybe you thought we were going to be easy. I saw in the newspaper you said it was 11 kangaroos out there, but kangaroos can play football,” Postecoglou said.
“I think some people made some comments about Honduras – they were wrong and we apologise for that but I also thought there some comments made in Honduras about our team that I thought was disrespectful. All I heard was that we have a simple game plan and that was our motivation.”
The Socceroos began the match facing one of the most hostile crowds ever experienced by an n team but Postecoglou says the noise, tension and animosity tapered once his team took a commanding grip on the contest.
“I said to the players at half time that they could hear my instructions. I think we silenced the crowd a fair bit with the way we played. Certainly from our perspective I think the players handled themselves really well. The pitch was a challenge for us as well but even then we were brave enough to keep playing. For the most part, we kept the crowd pretty quiet.
was awarded a first-half penalty after Bailey Wright was taken out by Honduras’ goalkeeper Donis Escober only for referee Daniele Orsato to award a goal kick after consulting the linesman, despite initial suggestions he had flagged for offside.
“The linesman played a goal kick, which I’m scratching my head because it meant Bailey got cleaned up,” Postecoglou said.
Tim Cahill did not feature in the match but Postecoglou says the veteran striker was available but chose not to risk him due to the conditions, specifically the poor state of a heavy, soggy pitch.