Look out Asia, Australia are just getting started.
That’s the message from Chris Ikonomidis after Australia kickstarted their Asian Cup defence with a 3-0 win over Palestine in Dubai.
The 23-year-old made the most of being handed a start by coach Graham Arnold, providing assists for Awer Mabil and Aposotolos Giannou in a bright display.
While thrilled to bring his strong A-League form into the international game, Ikonomidis says the team’s response to their opening-game defeat to Jordan is far from all the team can achieve.
“I’m happy with my performance and the team’s win,” Ikonomidis said.
“We’ve got a squad full of talented players. This is Australia.
“This is just the start for us, we’re only just getting warmed up. There’s so much more to give. I think there’s a real buzz in camp and everyone’s excited for the next match.”
That next match will be against World Cup playoff rivals Syria, a team without a goal in their opening two matches and having just sacked coach Bernd Stange following a 2-0 loss to Jordan on Thursday.
Ikonomidis’ rise to Socceroos starter is one of several exciting emergences in Australian football since last year’s World Cup.
His ball to Mabil for the South Sudanese refugee’s strike was a combination between two 23-year-olds who weren’t part of Australia’s squad in Russia.
“I told him before the match to come in on my right foot and I’ll have my head up, just cut across the defence and I’ll look for you. We performed that,” Ikonomidis said.
“Getting that one win and having the goals flow brings a little bit of relaxation and more confidence to team. We’ll be doing exactly that again in four days’ time.”