Viduka banking on hometown crowd - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Viduka banking on hometown crowd

By Philip Henderson 14/11/2005 08:11:44 PM Comments (0)

Skipper Mark Viduka is confident the 80,000-plus crowd at Telstra Stadium on Wednesday can spur the Socceroos on to do what no other nation has managed for more than a year - beat Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.

Uruguay's 1-0 win over Australia in Sunday's World Cup playoff first leg extended the side's undefeated qualifying run to 10 games.

Uruguay has not lost a qualifier since October last year, drawing its last five away games during the South American zone matches.

It's a daunting statistic for the Socceroos, who need to win by two or more goals in the second leg on Wednesday to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

But after sensing the lift the crowd at the Estadio Centenario gave Uruguay, Viduka was confident the Socceroos could gain the same advantage from the sea-of-gold support expected at a packed Telstra Stadium.

"Playing at home, you saw what they're crowd was like when they were going forward, it was really an extra man for them," Viduka said.

"And I think the crowd in Sydney is going to back us just like that, it's going to help the ball go into the back of the net by itself."

Former Socceroo Craig Foster reckons he can put a figure on just how much home-crowd support will mean for the Australians - an extra 25 per cent.

"It's a different game playing away from home... for our players with tired legs after what has been an arduous four days, having the home crowd behind you urging you on could be an extra 25 per cent effort to some players," said Foster, who played in Australia's heartbreaking World Cup playoff loss to Iran in 1997.

"Maybe this time more than ever our home crowd is a key factor in us getting over the line."

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