Joeys intent on dulling French flair
BRISBANE Roar prodigy Jordan Courtney-Perkins says the Joeys can prove they are better than their third-place group finish suggests by beating France in Thursday's FIFA Under-17 World Cup round-of-16 battle.
One of four third-placed teams to progress to the knockout stages of the Brazil tournament, Australia will start as underdogs against the French, who topped Group C with nine points from three matches.
But the Joeys' Group B haul of four points didn't indicate how well they played.
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Beaten 2-1 first-up by Ecuador, Australia fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Hungary before sealing their spot in the last 16 with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria.
"We've been producing World Cup quality performances for this whole campaign," defender Courtney-Perkins said.
"We were unlucky in our first two games, but we kept trusting our structures and playing to principals.
"No-one can question us for our mentality and the fight in us because as an Australian team that's something we have and are always going to have, and it really showed through in that second game (against Hungary).
"We knew the goals would come and eventually they did come, and now it's set us up in the position we're in."
A win over France would the perfect birthday present for Courtney-Perkins, who turned 17 on Wednesday.
"We can't play the occasion. We'll just get out there and treat it like any other game," he said.
"You always respect your opponent but never fear them. It comes down to ourselves and how we perform."
Both Courtney-Perkins and his Roar teammate, left back Izaack Powell, have impressed during the tournament and will no doubt have caught the eye of several club scouts in the stands.
"Izaack's killing it. It's awesome to come here and play alongside him. It's awesome to have that (Brisbane) connection," Courtney-Perkins said.
"But the main priority is the team and how we're going as a team.
"You don't come to these tournaments thinking about whether there are going to be scouts watching.
"Long term, it's most footballers dream to play in Europe, but I'm happy where I am at the moment, and I'm enjoying my football at the Roar and also with the Joeys. I can see myself developing quite a bit."
France v Australia, 9am Wednesday; TV: Live on SBS