Behich confident Socceroos will regroup and qualify

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Seven points dropped against Japan, Saudi Arabia and China has invited scrutiny on the Socceroos, who previously won 11 straight qualifiers and now trail Group B leading Green Falcons by four points and the Samurai Blue by one with four games remaining.

Coach Graham Arnold will be shifting uncomfortably in pursuit of solutions ahead of the January visit of Vietnam before February’s trip to Oman and the blockbuster March double header at home to Japan and away in Saudi Arabia.

“The loss to Japan and draws against Saudi Arabia and China obviously weren’t the results we wanted,” Turkey-based Behich said.

“We were on a great winning streak and what we’ve just seen is a couple of little hiccups.

“But we’re still in a comfortable position, and we still have enough games to go to get the job done.

“We have a great group and a great coaching staff in Arnie, Rene (Meulensteen) and Viddy (Tony Vidmar).

“We also have the depth in the squad and most importantly the belief.

“That plays a big part - we know it’s not an easy road but we’ve never done it the easy way coming from Australia.”

Should Australia end up third in the group it will be back again in the playoff cauldron just as it was under Ange Postecoglou ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Behich, though, isn’t contemplating such grim prognostications, instead focusing on a roadmap which still leaves automatic qualification in Australia’s own hands.

The 30-year-old left-back knows all about the fine margins between success and failure, his misreading of a cross that led to Japan’s opener in Tokyo and touch into his own goal at the death exemplifying that divide.

“Those things are part of football,” he said. “I did my best to keep the ball out but it happened all so fast.

“I’m confident we’ll turn things around and I’m really excited for the upcoming games.

“We’re fighting it out with Japan and Saudi and still have to play both again.

“We’ve set ourselves a high bar with that record breaking streak and know what we’re capable of.

“I have full confidence in the team and we have players to come back - Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy and Adam Taggart who are a big part of our group.

“People might be questioning the last few results but it’s only a little bump in the journey.”

In his eighth season in Turkey and at his fourth Super Liga club - newly promoted Giresunspor - Behich, who boasts 43 appearances in the Green and Gold - doesn’t take his starting spot for granted with Callum Elder and Brad Smith exerting plenty of pressure.

“It’s great to have that competition for places,” he said. “When we come into camp we’re pushing each other.

“The great thing is, whether you’re starting or not, the support we have for each other  is second to none.

“We’re all on the same journey and have the same goal - and that’s to go to the World Cup. 

“That’s one of the big reasons why I’m here at a top league in Turkey to make sure my level is as high as possible.”

Behich, who is off contract at season’s end, has made 11 appearances so far this season for the club he joined from Kayserispor.

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“We’re not in a position we want to be when you look at the ladder but with the football we’re playing probably deserve to be a bit higher at the moment,” he said.

“I really enjoy it here - I have a Turkish background with my parents and this was always a league I wanted to play in.

“It’s a very competitive league and a lot of foreigners get a wake up call when they come here.

“I always want to test myself against the best and I think this league has done that for me.”