Australia banking on travel advantage for Honduras World Cup decider
With an away clean sheet and transport home fit for royalty, Australia are resolved to put a still-airborne Honduras to bed in their decisive World Cup qualifying clash.
There were tired eyes and heavy heads when the Socceroos touched down in Sydney early on Sunday afternoon, barely three days before Wednesday night's playoff second leg finally decides their Russia 2018 fate.
But their near-24 hours in the air paled in comparison to the journey endured by their Central American opponents.
In shades of Uruguay 2005, no measure was taken for granted on the charter flight that transported the Australian team from San Pedro Sula, a vessel featuring massage and physio tables for treatment at 30,000 feet and a mathematical approach to meal, sleep times and temperature.
Honduras, meanwhile, spent an extra night at home before flying commercial via Houston and Dallas, a convoluted path that will get them to Sydney almost a full day after the Socceroos and with roughly 60 hours to prepare.
By that time, Ange Postecoglou's squad will be adjusted to the 17-hour time difference, well recovered and about to undergo their first full team training session.
"Recovery time is very important thing in international football, especially over such distances," defender Trent Sainsbury said on landing. "Every little bit counts in such big games. Honduras still have a long way to go; we're already here and we can recover and be fresh.
"That's an advantage for us and we'll take every little advantage we can get at the moment."
And there's another. Honduras are much more of a known quantity. Predictable, even.
"If we can play any team back to back we get to know what they're like and their tendencies," Sainsbury said. "So it's an advantage coming back here on home soil after a good performance away.
"I can't see them changing many different things. Tactically they might tweak a few things but we'll be ready."
Sainsbury, again a cool head in Australia's backline, was one of the few experienced faces in the line-up that dominated Honduras in a hugely hostile atmosphere on what he described as a "diabolical" pitch.
For the second leg Ange Postecoglou will regain the services of key personnel in Mathew Leckie and Mark Milligan, the latter crucial if previously injured skipper Mile Jedinak cannot back up for a second 90 minutes.
Though the odds are in their favour in advantageous conditions at ANZ Stadium, Sainsbury said the Socceroos were under no illusions that qualification is far from a formality.
"If you're playing in a league team you can mess up, but then the next week you have another game," he said. "This is do or die, you make a mistake and it could be the end of the road.
"You win and we're going to Russia. We've done it multiple times, there's always a lot of pressure. This team is coming of age now and the next step will be to beat this Honduras team and then have a really good World Cup."