Horror Start For Socceroos' Asian Cup Dreams After Stunning Loss To Jordan
Australia have made a horror start to their Asian Cup defence after a 1-0 defeat to Jordan in Al Ain.
A towering header from a corner midway through the first half by Jordan's Anas Bani-Yaseen was enough for the world No.109 to claim a shock result.
Australia toiled without success in the second half and now head into their final two group games with little margin for error.
"If you're gonna lose a game it's better to lose the first game," coach Graham Arnold said.
"It's a wake up call at the same time because you get three games in the group and when you get to the knockout stage when you lose you go home.
"It's more about where we can improve. We've got to get over that very quickly. We will get over it very quickly and move forward."
Australia suffered another injury blow before the match with striker Andrew Nabbout ruled out due a groin strain picked up in training on Saturday.
It meant Australia started with Jamie Maclaren flanked by Robbie Kruse and Awer Mabil.
Despite having 76 per cent possession in the first half, Australia managed just one shot on target to Jordan's three.
Another injury, this time to Josh Risdon (groin) forced a reshuffle at halftime and the Socceroos laid siege to Jordan's goal in the final 20 minutes.
Maclaren found the back of the net but his effort was ruled out for offside while Mabil hit the post and Tom Rogic missed a golden opportunity when an Aziz Behich cutback found him unmarked inside the box.
It means Australia have now played seven competitive matches where no-one apart from retired pair Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak have scored.
"We got the ball in position, we hit the post, their goalkeeper had a great game," Arnold said.
"It's a matter of believing in what we're doing and I'm pretty sure that will come."
Australia now head to Dubai where they'll face Palestine on Friday while Jordan could seal their passage to the last 16 when they take on Syria in Al Ain.
Pride Comes Before Fall For Socceroos
The Socceroos' big talk of victory in the build up to their Asian Cup opener was "dangerous", according to Jordan coach Vital Borkelmans.
Australia stumbled at the first hurdle in their title defence, falling 1-0 to a fired-up Jordanian outfit in Al Ain on Sunday.
Comments such as "we expect to win" by coach Graham Arnold the day before the match were perceived as arrogance by Jordanian media.
And a delighted Borkelmans issued a warning for Arnold following his team's win, which was achieved despite Jordan ceding 77 per cent possession to Australia.
"It's very, very dangerous to talk like this," the Belgian said.
"I say many times to my players, 'guys, no country is small.
When you see the World Cup, big teams lose to small countries'.
"When you put this (thought) in your players, they get so mentally strong that the performance is going up every minute in the game."
Arnold denied his expectations were arrogance, simply a genuine belief in his team's abilities.
"Belief is when you believe in something so strong then you believe in winning. It's not arrogance at all," Arnold said.
"Those words are used a lot in Australia and in Australia it's not considered as arrogant."
Borkelmans lauded his team's tactical discipline in the victory, appearing to set a blueprint for Australia's other group stage rivals Palestine and Syria.
Jordan were happy to ignore Australia's defence on the ball before springing into action whenever the midfield trio of Mark Milligan, Tom Rogic or Massimo Luongo received the ball.
"For many days I was training on the players who most make the actions on the Australian team," Borkelmans said.
"I say to my players when these three guys have the ball, make pressure on these guys.
"All my team made a big, big, big tactical performance."