Thompson hits out at 'too old' criticism
By Football News
Archie Thompson lashed out at critics after the Socceroos recovered from a goal down to beat Iraq 2-1 in Doha on Wednesday.
Australia claimed their first win of the AFC World Cup qualifying campaign courtesy of headed goals from Tim Cahill and Archie Thompson in the final 10 minutes, cancelling out Alaa Abdul-Zahra's opener on 72 minutes.
After four games Australia moves up to joint second on five points alongside Jordan who were beaten 2-1 in Oman.
Heading into the match, pundits and fans had questioned the longevity of a number of the side's veterans but speaking to Fox Sports, a bullish Thompson leapt to the defence of his team-mates.
"Who keeps telling me I'm old? Who keeps telling me I shouldn't be in the Socceroos?" said the 33-year-old, who has scored three goals in his past three appearances for the national team.
"Who keeps telling us boys shouldn't be part of the Socceroos? That's what it is, it's team spirit and fighting spirit.
"Maybe we've been lacking a little bit in the last game but hopefully this will shut a few mouths."
The Melbourne Victory striker added: "What helps a team, what helps players is support and all we seem to be hearing is that he's too old and this or that.
"For us player it's disappointing because we go out on that pitch, we try to give everything we can for this country and that's the fighting spirit we've always had."
Manager Holger Osieck praised his players for their ability to bounce back from September's disappointing defeat at the hands of Jordan.
"We are back in the race and that is important after a not-so-good game last time in Jordan where a lot of things didn't go the way that I wanted us to play," he said.
"But I think today we showed a decent performance and we showed of great spirit and that is encouraging."
The Socceroos play three of their remaining four fixtures on home soil.
"Right now we finished the first part of qualifying with three very difficult road games and we managed to stay in second position which means we are qualifying automatically," Osieck said.
"Now with a little bit more favourable program for us with the home games and not having to travel and play under extreme conditions that definitely gives us a better basis for the upcoming games."
Meanwhile, captain Lucas Neill paid tribute to the team's preparation in the lead up to Wednesday's encounter.
"I think this week has been fantastic preparation," the Al Wasl defender said.
"You can see the guys had a lot of energy today. It wasn't the game that could've dropped us a little bit low on energy and then recover with travelling.
"So we came here with a plan and I think the strategy worked really well and I think what we needed was a win to assure ourselves."