Wednesday 09 November 2016, 01:10

Sainsbury: My Australia team-mates are more like brothers

Trent Sainsbury has esteemed the camaraderie in Australia's camp and expressed his belief that they will reach the 21st FIFA World Cup™. The Jiangsu Suning defender has gone from being a reserve to playing every minute during the Socceroos’ Russia 2018 qualifying campaign.

“A lot of it has to do with being comfortable in the team as well – and not just on the pitch,” he told FFA TV. “Getting to know the players around you, instead of just calling them team-mates, it’s more calling them brothers. Then you start to get the feeling of that camaraderie and that you belong. It does help.”

Australia are second in Group B, two points behind Saudi Arabia and one above Japan. With the Japanese hosting the Saudis on 15 November, victory in Bangkok on the same day could see the Aussies finish the year in pole position. Thailand have thus far lost all four of their matches in the pool, and Sainsbury therefore anticipates taking on a “wounded beast”.

He said: “I’ve watched a little bit of the AFC Cup and you see a few of their players in the teams there and also in the Champions League,” Sainsbury said. “They are exciting players, they are not the most technically brilliant in the world or tactically, but at the same time they are a bit off-the-cuff, which is extremely dangerous to most teams.

“Especially with the fans over here – I know they love their football and are crazy for it. It’s not going to be an easy situation for us.

“I think we’re going to qualify with a good style of play. I don’t think it’s going to be comfortable for us, but it never is going to be comfortable.

“The way that we want to play and the way we want to dominate teams, we’re going to have to give it our all. At the moment, we’re very well placed to go through. We’ve got a lot of home games to come, so if we get the fans behind us, it will be a huge boost for us.”

Australia had only competed in one World Cup until 2006, but are now striving to qualify for the fourth time in succession.