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Jun 5, 2013

Attacking Jordan could help Socceroos

Jordan will be just as desperate for a win as Australia in Tuesday's vital World Cup qualifier at Etihad Stadium.

And that suits Mark Milligan and the Socceroos just fine.

More often than not in previous years, visiting Asian teams have been happy to sit back and let Australia make all the running on home soil, hoping to pinch something on the counter-attack or claim a share of the points.

But that is simply not an option for the Middle Eastern nation this time around, as the only way they can book an automatic qualifying berth for next year's finals in Brazil is to win against Australia and Oman in the next two weeks and hope other results fall their way.

For the Socceroos, the equation is even more simple.

Two wins and they are guaranteed to finish second behind runaway group winners Japan and claim an automatic qualifying spot.

Anything less and they could finish anywhere from second to last in the five-team group.

"Jordan need to win as well so it could be a little more open which will probably suit us a bit more," Milligan said after the Socceroos arrived in Melbourne on Thursday following their meritorious 1-1 draw with Japan.

"If we can get into our stride and get into the game quite early on, being at home, I think that's very important for us."

Milligan was one of Australia's better players in the draw in front of a passionate capacity crowd of 62,000 fans in Saitama.

And he called on the Socceroos' supporters to make life similarly uncomfortable for Jordan at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday and again against Iraq in Sydney on June 18.

"That last match against Japan was something we really needed - maybe not so much in terms of a result, but in terms of how we went about our business," said Milligan.

"It was a good start to the three games.

"It was shown in Japan what playing at home in front of a massive crowd can do.

"We are very confident coming to Melbourne that everyone is going to turn up in great numbers at Etihad Stadium.

"It literally is an extra leg at times and very much needed for us."

The Socceroos have rallied around defender Matt McKay, who conceded the late penalty that allowed Japan to equalise in Saitama, ensuring the Blue Samurai qualified for a fifth straight World Cup finals.

"It's happened to all of us at different stages, whether it be something like that or send-offs - it's all part of the game," said Milligan.

"The thing that probably hurt the most is that it happened so late in the game.

"But it's part of football and it's forgotten now from our point of view."

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