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'It's all about the transition' - Socceroos analyst wary of Saudi Arabia logo 19-05-2017

Australia must be aware of Saudi Arabia's threat on the counterattack when they meet the Green Falcons in Adelaide next month, according to Socceroos analyst Luc Trani.

The former A-League assistant coach is doing opposition research for Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou while he searches for his next full-time position and, having seen the Saudis play against Thailand in March, Trani has plenty of respect for Bert van Marwijk's team.

Saudi Arabia thumped Thailand 3-0 in Bangkok when Trani watched them at Rajamangala National Stadium, and while his focus was on the home side ahead of Australia's clash with the War Elephants in September, he was impressed with how Van Marwijk the hosts' back three.

Thailand v Saudi Arabia, World Cup qualifier

Trani showed Goal his 50-slide presentation on Thailand that he sent to Postecoglou's coaching team and highlighted how the Saudis might target the Socceroos' controversial new 3-2-4-1 system.

VIDEO: Postecoglou lashes out at formation critics

While the Socceroos struggled against three centre-backs when they drew with Thailand in November, Saudi Arabia's swift front three of Mohammad Al Sahlawi, Yehya Al Shehri and Nawaf Al Abid thrived.

"It's all about the transition phases where they'll [Saudi Arabia] sit off and they'll congest any space in midfield, and they'll pounce on any turnovers in the middle of the pitch and then they'll look at exploiting those areas outside the centre-backs," Trani said.

"So that's a real important element of the game."

The Socceroos will host Saudi Arabia at the Adelaide Oval on June 6 and Trani believes victory is vital for Postecoglou's men if they are to qualify automatically for Russia 2018.

Australia sit third in Group B of the Asian Football Confederation's third phase of World Cup qualifying, three points behind Japan and Saudi Arabia.

COMMENT: Socceroos unconvincing to start 2017

The top two teams will advance directly to next year's World Cup, while the third-placed team in the two groups will progress to a series of play-offs.

Trani reckons the Socceroos need to "put the pressure back on" Group B's leaders to ensure they must go for the win when Saudi Arabia host Japan in the final round in September.

Australia drew 2-2 away to Saudi Arabia in October.

"Australia has got to show a lot more patience, a lot more maturity around possession and be able to keep the ball speed up, keep the movement going and in the end [Saudi Arabia] will have to go out and be tested physically, and the Australian national team - playing at home - can generate the pressure that needs to be applied," he said.

"If you apply that pressure then you might find a few more openings throughout the game."

Saudi Arabia 2 Australia 2

Defensive transition will have to be a focus for the Socceroos next month as all three of their Confederations Cup opponents are lethal on the break.

Most football fans are aware of Germany and Chile's qualities, but Trani rates Cameroon highly too after seeing Hugo Broos' side win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in February.

Luc Trani and Marco Rojas, Wellington Phoenix, 2009

Having been sacked by Newcastle Jets in September last year, the 50-year-old - who has also worked at Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix - insists he has enjoyed the opportunity to expand his knowledge.

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Trani visited Manchester City, Tottenham and West Ham as part of a European tour earlier this year.

"This experience going overseas, watching international football, visiting the UK earlier this year, has broadened my view on the workings of a professional football club," he said.

"Watching people operate, how they've been able to manage situations not only within football but also outside of football… it gives you the bigger picture.

"We've got to see how we can get better and improve every day because if we get better then the product, the game itself gets better."

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