Socceroos out to set up second leg

Ben McKay
Ange Postecoglou was accused of having too many qualifying draws but he would love one in Honduras

The irony is not lost on coach Ange Postecoglou that the same kind of result he was pilloried for throughout World Cup qualifying is exactly what's required in Honduras.

The Socceroos drew three times on the road in qualifying - with 2-2 results in Thailand and Saudi Arabia, and a 1-1 draw against Iraq.

The common criticism is that it was these results that cost Australia direct qualification for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

But how the Socceroos would love one of those results in San Pedro Sula.

With a home tie to come, and the benefits of a quicker transit to Australia and more sophisticated rehabilitation methods, a draw would set up Australia to progress.

It is how they triumphed against Uruguary in their last World Cup play-off in 2005 and one of the reasons they fell short in 2001.

Uruguay carried a narrow 1-0 deficit into the second leg in Montevideo and overran Australia to win 3-0.

Craig Moore, a key figure in the 2001 campaign, said playing home last was "a huge advantage" if Australia could grab a positive result.

"That can be a draw or a defeat with an away goal," he told AAP.

"But we've got to make sure we've got something to play for. Then we can start to really ramp it up and utilise the home support for the second leg."

Mark Schwarzer, who made both trips to Montevideo, agreed it was an advantage, "but it's only there if they take it".

"We did it in 2005. We lost the first leg 1-0 but we stayed in it," the Optus Sport commentator said.

"It gave us a platform to deliver the result we needed at home.

"Australia have a good chance to progress but they've got to perform and not only perform to their maximum, they've got to exceed it."

The Socceroos can also draw upon three unused players in Sydney - suspended pair Mark Milligan, Mat Leckie and injured winger Robbie Kruse.

Honduras also have this benefit - with suspended captain Maynor Figueroa and Alberth Elis to come back into the fold.

Thinking ahead, Postecoglou hopes it will be Sydney where he can cash in.

"We'll have some good players who'll be fresh," he said.

"The second leg will be one that could end up going into 120 minutes ... I think it will be an asset to us."