Syria a threat, but Socceroos too strong, says Luongo

Massimo Luongo says Australia should be too physical for Syria in their World Cup playoff.
Massimo Luongo says Australia should be too physical for Syria in their World Cup playoff. Matt Roberts

BATTLE-hardened Australia has a physical edge over World Cup playoff combatant Syria, according to Queens Park Rangers star Massimo Luongo.

The untrained eye may not have picked it at the Socceroos' maiden training session at Melaka's Hang Tuah Stadium on Monday night, as the players breezed through a short, light session having trickled in over the preceding 24 hours after weekend games.

Coach Ange Postecoglou will up the ante in Tuesday's session, roughly 48 hours out from the Syria clash at nearby King Jebat Stadium.

Influential defender Trent Sainsbury almost certainly will play, despite light running during his modified solo session, having played a rare game for Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last Thursday.

Sainsbury, who has been nursing a groin injury for months, becomes vital in the absence of suspended Bristol City defender Bailey Wright and the omitted Matthew Spiranovic.

Late arrivals Mathew Leckie, Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Brad Smith, Tomi Juric, Craig Goodwin and Israel-based Nikita Rukavytsya will join the squad on Tuesday.

Aided by a charter flight that will whisk the Socceroos from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney hours before the Syrians, Australia appears to have an edge although sticky Malaysian conditions may nullify that in the first leg.

"I don't expect them to be as fit as us or any different from what we've faced before,'' Luongo said.

"They've done well to get here so I'm guessing they'll have a lot of threats going forward, but it will be more up to us to break them down, and if we can it will be a good day for us.

"Usually the second day the analysts will give us a good heads up on what to expect (from the opposition). They always do their homework really well and make it easy for us to understand what we have to do."

Labelled the best midfielder in the Championship by manager Ian Holloway, the technically sound and durable Luongo felt good coming into camp.

"He's backed me. I'm really enjoying the season so far,'' he said.

Topics:  massimo luongo socceroos syria

News Corp Australia

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Next generation of yogis learn in the Lockyer

TUNING IN: Sarah Weber runs her kids yoga class once a week, each term from her Cura Life Studio in Gatton.

Yoga teacher Sarah Weber shares the benefits of starting yoga early.

All's Wells for Madi after third national silver medal

RISING STAR: Lockyer District Athletic Club's Madison Wells celebrates her latest silver medal success with mum Sharyn and dad Lee in Melbourne.

Madison Wells won silver at the Australian Multi-events titles.

Bid on hot cross buns to help raise funds

GOING HOT: The Old Fernvale Bakery aim to raise $40,000 for the Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital by donating $1 from every pack of hot cross buns sold. Pictured here are Lyn and Bill Rose with the latest hot cross bun creation, cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate.

Help the Old Fernvale bakery get over the line.

Local Partners