Depth to help jet lagged Socceroos: Kruse
Photo Source: AAP
The Socceroos have suffered a hiccup in their preparations for their World Cup qualifier with Japan after their flight home was forced to divert.
Turbulence and headwinds which required the team's Etihad Airways flight home to refuel, were cited as the reasons for a pit stop in Adelaide en route to Melbourne on Saturday night.
The Socceroos' frustration at the likely three-hour delay is exacerbated by the fact that Japan have enjoyed an easier transit for Tuesday night's match.
The Blue Samurai defeated Iraq 2-1 in Saitama seven hours earlier than Australia took the field against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah last Thursday (Friday morning AEDT).
Ange Postecoglou's side also endured sweltering conditions as they battled to a 2-2 draw courtesy of Trent Sainsbury and Tomi Juric goals.
Despite the delay, Australia are well-poised to cope with the long transit given investments to their sports science department and new-found squad depth.
They have just two full days to prepare for the Etihad Stadium clash.
Most of the squad have been there and done that when it comes to the demands of playing in Asia, but attacker Robbier Kruse reckons coach Ange Postecoglou won't hesitate to ring the changes if some players don't pull up well.
Postecoglou fielded arguably his strongest possible line-up in Jeddah but Massimo Luongo, the in-form Jackson Irvine and evergreen veteran Tim Cahill were used as substitutes and will likely be fresh should they be required.
In an earlier interview, Kruse said the players had faith in Postecoglou's selections and the backroom staff.
"It's extremely difficult, the jet lag, but we've been through it all before and I'm sure us experienced players who have actually done this busy stuff, we can pass it onto the younger boys," Kruse said.
"We have a world-class physio staff, sports science, coaching staff - they know exactly what to do for us to get us ready.
"We're under no illusions it's going to be difficult but I think that's why the boss and the coaching staff have worked really hard to get such a big pool of players and a big squad.
"If someone needs to step in, he needs to change the line-up, or the players, I'm sure other people will step up."
Kruse has tipped the match to be a "grind" with the Samurai Blue also facing a long-haul flight after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Iraq kept them in touch with Group B's top teams.
"It's never easy qualifying through Asia - I went through it in the last World Cup campaign and sometimes you come away and get scrappy results," he said.