After Australia’s near perfect defensive performance against Japan, veteran Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina is now calling on Holger Osieck’s men to punish the “lesser” sides – starting against Jordan on Tuesday night.
Culina, whose career has been in cold storage since his split from Sydney FC in February, wants to see Australia flick the switch from cautious to clinical as it bids to leapfrog Oman and move into an automatic qualifying spot for Brazil 2014 ahead of its final Group B FIFA World Cup qualifier against Iraq on 18 June.
“The boys were excellent in Japan and a 1-1 draw was a more than decent result despite the disappointment of us conceding that late goal,” he said.
“But now we have to be a team making all the moves and we have to prove we can dominate the lesser sides like Jordan and Iraq.
“There’s no doubt they have skilful players who can hurt us but tactically we are superior and we have to show who is boss right from the start on Tuesday night against Jordan.
“We are the home team, they are coming into our patch and we have to dominate and put them under intense pressure high up the pitch right from the kick off.
“The boys should be full of confidence and have a little bit of a swagger after the Japan game and while respecting the opposition we need also to impose ourselves on them.
“For me, that means getting Mark Bresciano further forward than he was allowed to roam against Japan because he’s probably one of the keys to unlocking Jordan.
“Other than that, I don’t think Holger needs to make any other changes because the team looks well balanced to me – and the good thing is the formation is easily adjusted to allow to Bresh to get forward with Mark Milligan playing in a deeper holding role.”
Two-time World Cup finalist Culina, who has amassed 58 caps, also believes it’s time for the likes of Tommy Oar – like himself an Australian graduate from the Dutch football finishing school – to become a first team regular on the road to Rio.
“Sooner or later you have to start these sorts of players and with his goal and overall performance against Japan over the 90 minutes he certainly didn’t disappoint,” said the 32-year-old who made his name at PSV Eindhoven before returning to Australia at his peak.
“He scored our goal, whether it was a cross or a shot it doesn’t matter, and he’s been doing really well in Holland for a while now, particularly this season, but at Utrecht he’s more of a central midfielder, whereas we are using him as a left winger.
“But he knows the role from his past time at Brisbane Roar and his pace was vital for us. He was a bit nervous in the first half against Japan but grew in stature as the game progressed and it’s good to see him getting in from the start now.
“When he burst onto the scene a few years back people put a lot of pressure and expectation on him and it’s taken a little while for him to adjust.
“But since going to Holland his game has improved dramatically – and I think he will just keep on getting better and better which is great for the national team.
“It’s time that the young boys to step up now and show what they can do and Tommy is at the forefront of that.
“I see no reason why now we can’t push on and beat both Jordan and Iraq and make sure we qualify.”
Atletico Madrid stayed on course for a first Spanish league title in 18 years with a 2-0 win over Elche.