Pavlesic is confident Joeys can go further

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The Joeys are through to the U17 World Cup knockout stages and goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic says he is confident they can go even further in Brazil.

After clinging on to a one nil lead for most of the second half, the Joeys claimed a famous win against tournament heavyweights Nigeria to move through to the round of 16.

Shot-stopper Adam Pavlesic, who plays his club football for Sydney FC’s U21s, said it was a great feeling to be in the knockout stages after all the hard work the team had put in.

“We’ve done everything we can and the fact that we beat such a big country, who’s got such a big history at the U-17 World Cup, we’ve beat them to go to the round of 16 which is obviously a massive honour,” he said.

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It was a frantic final few minutes for Pavlesic and the side, as the Nigerians were putting them under immense pressure but he knew if they could stay calm they would get job done.

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“In my mind I just wanted the game to finish but it was just get rid of the ball, get it as far up the pitch as possible and I’m sure we’ll be alright,” he said.

Even with such little time to improve in a World Cup setting Pavlesic believes there has been a massive improvement between games.

“We haven’t had any bad performances in my opinion, the effort has been there,” he said.

“But just gradually seeing us progress through the tournament, the team bonding, the movement in the play on the field, you can really see a big difference from game one to game three.”

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Speaking on the team’s bond, Pavlesic said they were a tight-knit group of players.

“Trev and the coaching staff picked a very good squad, with a good bond and we show that on the pitch,” he said.

“Especially in yesterdays game, we were able to stick through any situation that faced us whether it be clearing balls off the line or winning that 50/50 in order for us to get that win.”

What also got them over the line against Nigeria was the small but passionate supporter group made up of friends and family cheering them in the final minutes of the game.

“The motivation and the passion that they show in the crowd is unbelievable,” he said.

“There’s not many of them there but just a small amount cheering us on it helps. Every little bit helps and it’s definitely a reason why I think we were able to get the three points.”

The Joeys must wait for the remainder of the group games to finish before learning who they face. Despite the wait Pavlesic is confident that they can get a result off whoever they face.

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“Our confidence in the group has just gone to another level. We’re going to see our opponents soon because it hasn’t been set yet,” he said.

“Once we find out, we are going to focus on their tactics and what they can do. Then we’re going to focus on our tactics and hopefully we can capitalise on that and get the win in the next game.”

Feature Image Credit: Football Federation Australia

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Declan Smith
Current Sports Media student at University of Canberra. Average footballer