Socceroos keen to avoid Syria's World Cup football playoff antics in Sydney

Last updated 19:50 07/10/2017
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Tomi Juric and his Australian team-mates want to avoid problems against Syria in their World Cup qualifier,

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The Socceroos will do everything possible to avoid being drawn into Syria's gamesmanship when they meet in the second leg of their World Cup football qualifying playoff.

Still dirty over the dubious penalty call that robbed them of a crucial win in Malaysia, Australia's players are determined to take their 1-1 draw and turn it into a resounding victory at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night.

Ange Postecoglou's squad arrived in Sydney on Friday afternoon courtesy of a charter flight organised around enhanced recovery and a psychological edge.

Part of the mental planning has centred on Syria's game, accused by defender Milos Degenek of being underpinned by antics including excessive aggression and time wasting.

READ MORE: Socceroos robbed of win

"They're physical and, as you saw at the start of the game, they tried to play little games by going down and were trying to time waste straight away before the game even started," Degenek said.

"It's normal, it happens - that's football. It's how they're trained and what they like to do.

"But it's not what we do. We like to play football and get the game moving as fast as possible."

Degenek, who made a crucial last-ditch clearance during his 90-minute shift, said Australia were in a strong position to put the counter-attacking Syrian outfit to bed.

The Socceroos boast a formidable home record - only once since 1981 have they lost a World Cup qualifier on Australian soil, when a second-string Pim Verbeek side was beaten 1-0 by China in a 2008 dead rubber.

"We're playing at home -- our conditions, our pitch, our crowd," Degenek said.

"We can play our football a lot better than what we could in Malaysia.

"We battled them and won 90 per cent of the challenges, if not more, so Tuesday will be a totally different game."

News on Saturday that Bailey Wright is ruled out through injury has opened the door for Matt Jurman to continue his dream debut Socceroos week.

Ryan McGowan will replace Bristol City centre-back Wright, who was suspended for the first leg.

It means Jurman appears likely to build on his composed debut in Malacca at the left side of Postecoglou's three-man defence, where the 27-year-old rarely put a foot wrong.

"To make my debut the other night was pretty special," the Korea-based former Sydney FC player said.

"It would have been better if we got the win but it was an awesome experience and one I won't forget.

"It was just controlling the nerves ... I think it was a good start. I made some mistakes, but overall I was pretty happy.

"I can take that into Tuesday if I'm going to play."

Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is back in Belgium after sustaining a hand injury in Malacca and has been replaced by Mark Birighitti.

Saturday's planned training session was cancelled and replaced with light recovery at the Socceroos' Olympic Park base. The team plan to train on Sunday.

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- AAP

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