Tim Cahill training with the Socceroos ahead of the game against Lebanon. Picture: Getty Images
Tim Cahill training with the Socceroos ahead of the game against Lebanon. Picture: Getty Images

Socceroos not taking Lebanon lightly

THE Socceroos farewell legend Tim Cahill in a match against Lebanon in Sydney on Tuesday night, and the men in gold say the match is no friendly but rather a chance to gather invaluable intelligence ahead of the Asian Cup.

Lebanon may be perceived as a comparatively weaker opponent than South Korea but Mat Ryan is having none of it.

The Socceroos' first-choice goalkeeper has endured the hardships of World Cup qualifying through Asia and knows what a world No.82 nation can do to a higher-ranked team not figuratively on the ball.

"I don't see them as a weaker opposition," Ryan said."When we start to view an opponent like that, that's when you take them for granted and you can underestimate them and get complacent.

"I give respect to every opposition we're facing ... but we don't want to take a backward step on what we're doing."We're trying to prepare for this Asian Cup and we have to make the most of every opportunity we get to fine tune some things."

The Socceroos haven't played Lebanon since their 3-0 friendly win in Beirut in 2012.

Mat Ryan dives into his work at training. (AAP/Image Steve Pohlner)
Mat Ryan dives into his work at training. (AAP/Image Steve Pohlner)

Nevertheless, the squad has analysed recent footage and knows the key will be breaking down a side similar in style to Australia's Asian Cup group opponents Jordan, Palestine and Syria.

The sealer will ultimately be goals, a crucial currency lacking in Saturday's 1-1 draw with South Korea.

Add the killer instinct to the otherwise promising display at Suncorp Stadium and Ryan reckons the Socceroos will be right up there in their Asian Cup title defence.

"No doubt about it," he said. "That's our second 90 minutes together after all the changes that have come in, and we're already playing like that against one of the powerhouses in Asia.

"I definitely think there's been a lot of progress made in the two matches so far and every camp we've had. The focus now is Lebanon, with another opportunity to make progress as a team.

"The progress we're making is clear to see and we just have to keep applying ourselves to continue to grow and grow into what's going to be the greatest Socceroos team ever."

News Corp Australia

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