Why the Socceroos shouldn't fear Honduras crowds
FORMER Socceroo Archie Thompson says Australia can use the predicted volatile atmosphere at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula to their favour in the first leg of the do-or-die World Cup playoff with Honduras tomorrow morning.
Thompson, who scored 28 goals in his 54-cap career between 2001 and 2013, was part of the Socceroos squad that famously defeated Uruguay over two legs in 2005 to reach the World Cup finals in Germany the following year.
That first leg was in Montevideo with a hugely patriotic support cheering on the home team.
Thompson, now an analyst for Fox Sports, said the key would be scoring first.
"Going into an atmosphere where you feel that it's all against you, you sometimes find that little bit more,” he said.
"In actual fact it might work for us because sometimes when you have got such an atmosphere and you get a goal up and their players are getting nervous and the crowd is getting quiet, then you sort of grow a little bit.
"I am hoping that will be the case for the boys in Honduras.
"(But) it's not going to be easy.”
A lot of talk during the qualifying campaign has centred on coach Ange Postecoglou and his switch of formation to three at the back, looking to be more attacking.
Thompson was hoping that for the first leg against Honduras, the coach would look for a less adventurous formation and go for something similar to the way the team lined up in the first leg against Syria.
"In Malaysia he (Postecoglou) went more for the more traditional left and right back and that tended to work,” he said.
"Maybe he doesn't go as attack-minded. But we have seen in the past that when he shouldn't he does.
"And that's what Ange is about he's almost said he's going to die by his own sword.
"But hopefully he does go for that system he had against Syria in the away leg.
"I believe that this Honduras side is a little bit better than Syria and the conditions and the atmosphere are going to be more volatile.
"Then if they get the result it can be a case of coming back here with all guns blazing.”
Thompson, who played for Postecoglou when he was coach at Melbourne Victory, said he was unsure about his former boss' future but said at the moment that talk needed to be put on the backburner.
He said he was a huge fan of Postecoglu and wished him every success for the future whatever he chooses to do, but all the focus must now be on getting the Socceroos to Russia.
"For us as a football nation it's about the fact that we need to qualify for the game to grow,” Thompson said.
"So I am not too bothered about where his future lies right now.
"For now it's just focused in getting us through to a World Cup because we know that if we don't do that, it has a flow-on effect down to grass-roots level.
"We depend on a lot of success for our Socceroos. I know that's a lot of pressure for some of these boys because a lot of them play overseas and they don't see how much the national team affects what goes on here in Australia.
"I know that I am not too focused on where he's going, I know that he will be 100 per cent focused on getting us through to Russia because that's where we all want to be.”
Fox Sports will show both the Socceroos' clashes against Honduras live, with no ad breaks during play and in HD. The first leg kicks off at 7am tomorrow, with the second leg at 6pm on Wednesday on Fox Sports 501 (times AEST).