Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Sydney: Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo is looking for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 to be a launch pad for Ange Postecoglou’s squad on the road towards the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia in 2018.
The Swindon Town man has been one of the breakout stars of the tournament for the host nation, scoring in the opening game against Kuwait in Melbourne and impressing throughout for the Australians.
And the 22-year-old is hoping by having a successful AFC Asian Cup, the Socceroos can go on to impress not only in qualifying for the next FIFA World Cup, but to also make an impact at the finals in Russia.
“This Asian Cup could be a massive stepping stone for us as a team with our performances,” he says.
“If every game we get better, as we have been at this Asian Cup, then the tougher games will come with the qualifying games and playing away. If we can step up there, then we can go anywhere. We can be a real threat at the World Cup.”
The AFC Asian Cup has capped a stellar 12 months for Luongo, and he credits Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou for the faith he has shown during a rise that saw him earn his first cap in March against Ecuador and also be included in Australia’s squad for the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
“Getting introduced in London just under a year ago, that was a big moment for me and at the back of my head I always thought that’s going to be my initiation and that’s really it, but maybe not yet my time for the Socceroos,” he says.
“Luckily I got into the World Cup squad and then I started thinking that Ange has plans for me in the future. He’s put a lot of faith in me and he believes in me a lot and he’s played me in all these games in the Asian Cup.
“That’s good for me, it’s good for my confidence and it’s good knowing that someone believes in you and if you’re playing for that person then I want to give 110 percent.”
Luongo’s form has seen him attract attention beyond English League One side Swindon, but with the transfer window in England due to close soon after the completion of the AFC Asian Cup, he will be setting his sights on achieving success with his current club upon his return to Europe.
“I think, in the back of my head, this transfer window is not something that I'm going to be involved in,” he says. “I’ll maybe have to wait until the end of the season and that’s fine by me because Swindon’s a great place and we’re on the verge of something bigger as well.
“I can worry about this (the AFC Asian Cup) and hopefully win the final and then go back there and get promoted. It would be one of the biggest years for me ever, so I think that’s what I'm going to focus on rather than pushing for a move.
“I definitely don’t want to push for one because if it’s the right move then it’s supposed to be.”