Socceroos straight down to work in Honduras
THE Socceroos were made to feel welcome in Honduras as 16 members of the travelling squad took part in Australia's first training session ahead of Saturday's World Cup qualifying playoff.
Training at Estadio Francisco Morazán, the home ground of club Real España, the Socceroos completed a light session under the watchful eyes of coach Ange Postecoglou.
The 16 players who trained were skipper Mile Jedinak, Aziz Behich, Danny Vukovic, Trent Sainsbury, Josh Risdon, Jackson Irvine, Bailey Wright, Aaron Mooy, Craig Goodwin, Massimo Luongo, Ryan McGowan, Milos Degenek, Jimmy Jeggo, Mat Ryan, Tom Rogic and James Troisi.
The members of the 22-man travelling squad - some of who were yet to arrive in San Pedro Sula - were Tim Cahill, Mitch Langerak, Matt Jurman, Tomi Juric, Alex Gersbach and Nikita Rukavytsya.
Earlier, China-based defender Sainbsury said the Socceroos were being treated well as they arrived from all over the world ahead of the start two-legged playoff.
"Straight through from the airport, everyone's been really friendly," China-based Sainsbury said.
"It's been great. I haven't had a bad thing to say about the place to be honest.
"People keep hyping up that this is a really dangerous place to come, (that) it's going to be really hostile, (but) I don't see it that way at the moment.
"Everyone's been really nice to us here. It's been a nice place and nice weather, so I've been happy the way it's gone so far, so I think we'll be looking good (on Saturday)."
Sainsbury's comments came soon after National Autonomous Federation of Football of Honduras president Jorge Salomon had slammed "negative opinions" from Australia about violence and hostility in the Central American nation.
"Too bad that in Australia they are expressing themselves in that way … because we are a humble country," the www.diariomas.hn website reported Salomon as saying.
"I think the Australians are going to realise that they're going to arrive in a beautiful city of San Pedro Sula, a beautiful country that is Honduras.
"They are going to (be) surprised of the good treatment they are going to (receive). We will treat them well."
Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury said Australian players were being treated well as they arrived from all over the world ahead of the first match of the two-legged playoff.
However, the Socceroos are certain to be faced with an intimidating atmosphere at what will be a packed Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano on Saturday.
"We'll have all the information that we possibly need to be ready for this game," said Sainsbury, who added the Socceroos had learnt a lot from their successful two-legged playoff against Syria last month.
"The first away leg, (was a) difficult game (in) difficult circumstances. It's like a boxing match - everyone's throwing a few jabs to see what everyone's coming up with.
"It was a bit of a learning curve. In the second game (against Syria) we learnt from that really well. Defending we did really well … I didn't feel like we were going to lose that game that day."
Sainsbury said the speculation surrounding national coach Ange Postecoglou's future was not affecting the team.
"The boys are just focused on these two games (against Honduras) and that's the main priority for us, not who's going to be the coach in the future because no-one's ever going to be the coach for the entirety of your career," Sainsbury said.