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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Ange Postecoglou 'confident of goals' as Australia take on Thailand knowing they must win big to reach World Cup in Russia

Australia will have to wait to know their qualifying fate until Saudi Arabia host Japan hours later.

Australia's Tim Cahill, left, and manager Ange Postecoglou during a press conference at the Rialto in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia/ Julian Smith / EPA
Australia's Tim Cahill, left, and manager Ange Postecoglou during a press conference at the Rialto in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia/ Julian Smith / EPA

Australia manager Ange Postecoglou has an unshakeable faith that his squad will feature at next year's World Cup but says the team must maintain a relentless pressure in Thursday's final qualifier against Thailand.

Australia have backed themselves into a corner after Thursday's 2-0 defeat by already-qualified Japan, who top Group B with 20 points, four more than Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Australia must win big against Thailand to give themselves their best chance of securing a fourth successive World Cup appearance, rather than slip into the tricky play-off zone.

"We have just got to play well," Postecoglou said on the eve of the match at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

"If you don't play well you leave things to chance, and we don't want to leave things to chance.

"We've got to make sure we stay focused and play our football, keeping it at a high tempo and pressuring the opposition from start to finish.

"When we do that things tend to fall into place."

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Australia will have to wait to know their qualifying fate until Saudi Arabia host Japan hours later.

Australia will expect their forwards to fire against Thailand but Postecoglou said he would not harp on the need for goals.

"You can't start a game thinking that way. You can start getting a bit anxious," he said.

"But I'm confident of goals.

"If we win, and win well, we will put pressure on the opposition to get a result."

The importance of the occasion was not lost on veteran Tim Cahill, who promised a "fearless" display against the Thais.

"We all know what's on the line," said the 37-year-old forward, Australia's most prolific scorer.

"This is a massive moment for our country to stake a claim in a World Cup. I feel we're ready.

"Goals will definitely come. I'm confident we'll score a lot of goals and I'm confident that we'll make a great account of ourselves."

Australia will be boosted by the return of midfielder Aaron Mooy, who was a late withdrawal from the Japan match.

Striker Tomi Juri should also be fit to start against the Thais after he carried an injury into the clash against Japan and spent most of the match on the bench.

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