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Neill plays down Iraq pressure

By Football News



Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has denied there is extra pressure on Australia on Tuesday.

Australia need to perform well in their crucial World Cup qualifier against Iraq in Doha because they are delicately placed in Group B with just two points to show from their first three matches.

Iraq are in the same boat with two draws and a loss to also be two points shy of the automatic qualification spots with five games left - adding extra importance to the outcome of this fixture.

A loss for the Socceroos could be catastrophic, even if three of their final four qualifiers are at home, but Neill is treating it as just another match.

"It's a World Cup qualifier, we're not seeing it as any more pressurised than any other game we've played," Neill said.

 "It's no more special because they're all special.

"We know exactly why we're here, we're here to play a tough game, a strong team and we've prepared very well, and now it's up to us to let our football make the statement."

Australia coach Holger Osieck stressed the scratchy campaigns that both the Socceroos and Iraq have endured so far would have little bearing on the match.

"It's not very important what happened last week, it's important what happens tomorrow and I think Iraq have a good team," Osieck said.

"However they did against other teams I don't care and I think we have to look into our performance, that is very important."

Osieck insisted his troops were well prepared for the vital encounter.

 "We are one day prior to the very important game versus Iraq and we have been here now for a good week in Qatar," he said.

"I think we had excellent conditions here to prepare for the very important game tomorrow and I'm pretty confident that the work of recent days will pay off tomorrow in the game."