Football waits for no one.

Just ask The Socceroos.

This time 12 months ago they were in Porto Alegre Brazil amongst the giants of the game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  

Their performance a few days later against The Netherlands underlined the fact that Ange Postecoglou's renovation of the national team was paying dividends as The Socceroos had the Oranje by the throat but couldn't quite finish the job.  

The progress made in Brazil was fully franked for Australian Football with the AFC Asian Cup triumph on home soil in January. 

Our man in Bishkek.. Ange Postecoglou plans the route to Russia. 

Our man in Bishkek.. Ange Postecoglou plans the route to Russia. 

The glitter and tinsel that rained down on Stadium Australia that famous night has been washed away and The Socceroos have to return to the hard slog of another World Cup qualifying campaign.

And when they say it's a long road to get to The World Cup Finals they weren't kidding.

The Socceroos initial Asian Football Confederation qualifying group will take them to Jordan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan and this week's destination Kyrgyzstan.

Talk about the outside courts! 

Such is the beauty and trepidation of World Cup football. 

You need to be able to perform anywhere at any time. It's a theme Postecoglou has reiterated countless times to his players since he began his tenure as national coach just under 2 years ago. His preference for playing international friendlies away against tough opponents is designed to acclimatize his players to challenging environments and circumstance.

It's exactly what they will face in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan tonight.       

Like me, you've probably had to consult an atlas or Google maps to locate Kyrgyzstan amongst the many former Soviet republics that nestle in Central Asia. For better or worse they have no Borat upon which to geo-locate their country in the minds of indolent, self obsessed western football fans like you and I.

 
Big in Asia. The Socceroos moment of triumph at the AFC Asian Cup.

Big in Asia. The Socceroos moment of triumph at the AFC Asian Cup.

 

Which makes The White Falcons an unknown quantity and a tricky prospect for The Socceroos. 

Currently ranked 177th in the world Kyrgyzstan are sure to know their best chance of extracting anything from the game will be to frustrate and disrupt The Socceroos fluent passing game.

To that end, the pitch in Bishkek's Dolen Omurzakov Stadium looks as though it has had Hannibal's herd of elephants trample it in anticipation of The Socceroos arrival.  

None of this antipodean tikka-taka for the Kyrgyzstanis. 

Expect the tackles to be as agricultural as the local economy as well.   

Kyrgyzstani coach Aleksandr Krestinin will know his best chance of success is to capitalize on his opponents lack of familiarity with their surrounds and to make that as acute as possible. Having The Asian Champions in their backyard presents a rare chance to take a big scalp and with national pride paramount, expect the home team to attack this match as a cup final.

The Socceroos will be without 3 players who started The  AFC Asian Cup Final in Sydney in January. Defender Trent Sainsbury, midfield dynamo Massimo Luongo and flyer Robbie Kruse are on the injury list.

Postecolglou has tried close to 60 players in national colours since he took the job in an attempt to  build a new depth for The Socceroos for moments like these.

Whoever gets the nod tonight should be up to the challenge.

The first challenge of so many more to come on the road to Russia. 

    

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