ROBBIE Kruse says he and his Socceroos teammates are completely in the dark as to what Ange Postecoglou’s starting XI will be against Japan in Saitama.
But the star attacker does know one thing: that Postecoglou will not view the hot and humid conditions as an excuse for his players not to go “full throttle” for 90 minutes in their all-important World Cup qualifier.
The Socceroos will on Thursday night try to become the first Australian side to beat Japan on Japanese soil, something Kruse said would be a “special” achievement, not least because it would go a long way to sealing qualification for a fourth straight World Cup.
But first and foremost the squad members are just trying to impress upon Postecoglou the need to include them in his starting line-up, with intrigue surrounding the side the coach will select.
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Despite the stifling 33 degree conditions, training stepped up considerably yesterday some 48 hours out from the game.
The team will have a familiarisation session at Saitama Stadium on Wednesday.
“You never know with the boss, sometimes you feel like you might be playing but then you don’t know,” Kruse said.
“You find out game day, he keeps everyone on their toes. Everyone prepares as if they are going to play.
“It keeps a good atmosphere in the team where no one is guaranteed a starting spot.”
A top of 31 is tipped for Wednesday.
That forecast high drops to 26 for Thursday, but with humidity above 70 per cent, which has been a feature of this camp.
Not that the weather will change a thing about Australia’s approach, Kruse said.
“With the boss, it doesn’t matter what conditions we play in,” he said.
“You’ve seen in the past when we’ve played in Saudi Arabia, 45 degrees, we play the same way we always do — full throttle, pressing for 90 minutes.
“He always tells us it doesn’t matter what the conditions are, go for it.”
Of the named 23-man squad, 21 trained last night.
Late arrival Tomi Juric did a recovery session at the team hotel, while yesterday it was revealed goalkeeper Mitch Langerak had been pardoned from international duty so he could sort out his clouded future at German club Stuttgart.
Langerak, to be replaced by Adam Federici, was vital to Stuttgart winning promotion to the Bundesliga only to see the No. 1 shirt handed to new recruit Ron-Robert Zieler on the eve of the season.
Originally published as Roos to go full throttle in steamy Saitama
Source: sports dailytelegraph