Former Socceroo Josip Skoko believes Australia understands the magnitude of qualifying for the World Cup.
As the mud-slinging between protective soccer fans and those not impressed with the spectacle produced in Honduras went back and forth this week, Skoko says he feels the nation has embraced the Socceroos.
“I think yes, we do,” he told SEN’s The Run Home when asked if he thought Australian’s understood the significance of the World Cup.
“I think after 2006 (John Aloisi’s goal) and the way Australia came together with the celebrations and the World Cup after that, and since, I think it brings everyone together and unifies everyone who is interested in sport.
“It gets everyone on the same side.”
Skoko, who played 51 internationals and scored nine goals for the Socceroos between 1997 and 2007, is predicting an Australian win in Sydney tomorrow night.
He says he’s spoken to people within the camp and is confident there is no panic.
“If you think about the pressure you’ll crumble,” he said.
It’s a far different story for Italian soccer fans and players after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
Only Brazil (20) and Germany (16) have appeared in more World Cups than Italy (14).
Australia goes into tomorrow night’s second leg a $1.45 favourite.
A win over the Honduras would put Australia through to its fourth consecutive World Cup after qualifying in 2006, 2010 and 2014. It also qualified in 1974.