Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Cup Rivals to Put a Target on Roos; Australia Now the Hunted as They Prepare to Defend Asian Cup Crown

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Cup Rivals to Put a Target on Roos; Australia Now the Hunted as They Prepare to Defend Asian Cup Crown

Article excerpt

MARK BOSNICH

FOX SPORTS

THERE'S a massive difference in sport from being the hunter to becoming the hunted and that's what our Socceroos will face when the Asian Cup kicks off on Sunday.

When you're the hunter the pressure on you to perform is a lot less - you aren't shackled by the restraints of expectation and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When you become the hunted the pressure on you to perform is great. The level of expectation can cripple even the best of teams and you have everything to lose.

I was lucky enough during my playing career to be in sides who were the hunted.

My advice for the Socceroos, who will be the hunted at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, is to embrace the tag.

When you're the hunted there's no such thing as an easy match. You can guarantee every side you face will come after you with everything they have.

I know it's the biggest cliche in sport, but there truly is a step up from the 100 per cent teams put in every match and the 110 per cent they will put in when they play the hunted.

As defending champions, the Socceroos enter this tournament with a target on their back - every side competing in the Asian Cup will want to be the side that takes down the titleholders. The trick for the Australians is to use that pressure as motivation.

They will need to be careful in their opening pool games against Jordan and Syria, but if they can claim the three points in those two games, like they should, the Socceroos will set themselves up nicely for a shot at successfully defending their title.

Players such as Tim Cahill and Tomi Juric may not be part of the Socceroos squad for this campaign, but Graham Arnold has picked a very exciting squad who are capable of going all the way again.

Many would feel Juric was unlucky not to have booked a place in the squad for this tournament but in all fairness he did himself no favours against Lebanon. …

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