Australia v Norway: Travel-weary Socceroos embrace Euro base
SOCCEROOS captain Mile Jedinak said the European-based games were a boost for the overseas players as they prepare to hit the home straight in their club season.
Coach Bert van Marwijk declared that FFA's decision not to schedule the traditional 'World Cup sendoff' in Australia was a blessing for their physical and tactical Russia 2018 preparations.
The Socceroos endured the longest qualification campaign in FIFA World Cup history, needing to negotiate two sets of playoffs after the group stage.
Jedinak said the players had become accustomed to travel, but the Euro double header against Norway and Colombia helped.
"Where do I start (regarding the qualifying schedule)? We just get on with it,'' Jedinak said.
"Obviously there's difficulties when you play for this national team, but if you prepare yourself mentally for it then you try and forget about what may be bothering you at the time and you just try and recover and prepare your best.
"I haven't had to travel too far this time so I'm grateful for that, but there are a lot of boys who came in a couple of days after everybody else and it puts you a step or a day or two behind.
"Hopefully come the game everybody will be ready and fully focused. It's new. We all know the circumstances and it's just about getting the work in."
Van Marwijk praised FFA, who opted for the Turkey pre-camp coupled with friendlies against Czech Republic and Hungary before heading for Russia.
"I'm very happy that (FFA) decided not to play the farewell game in Australia,'' van Marwijk said.
"I understand (why they wanted to), but if you want to (try and get out of the World Cup group), if we go to Australia maybe you will lose 10 days of preparation.
"It's very important because we don't have much time. You need trainings, I'm happy we are together for a month.
"In Russia it (travel) can not be an excuse because we are preparing in Turkey, it's not so far. We play friendlies in Austria and Hungary. In Russia we play in (Kazan) where we have a camp and we won't travel (more than) two hours so that can never be an excuse."