Australia’s Botic ready to bounce back  

  • Noah Botic plays forward for Australia’s U-17s

  • He scored his side’s consolation goal in their opening defeat by Ecuador

  • Striker hoping to earn points for the Australians

Australia departed the Estadio Olimpico in Goiania with heads held high on Sunday. They could have been forgiven for having very long faces, however, given the bad luck they had endured in their tournament opener. The men in green and gold found themselves two goals down to Ecuador inside the opening ten minutes, both goals coming from deflections they could do little to avoid.

“It’s a cruel result. There’s nothing else to say,” Australia striker Noah Botic told FIFA.com. “It’s not easy to come back after conceding two goals like that after just a few minutes. We need to stay positive, though, and remember that we at least did what we had to do to reduce the deficit.”

Botic, who plays for German club Hoffenheim, almost brought his side back into contention 13 minutes from half-time, just failing to get on the end of a fine cross from the right.

“It took me by surprise, but I just need to learn not to be surprised in situations like that,” he recalled. The front man was ready and waiting when a second genuine opening came his way in the final minute of the match, though his strike came too late to save his side from defeat.

“My performance?” he said. “It wasn’t too bad. I have to say, though, that my team-mates do all they can to set things up for me.”

The stats show that Botic knows his way to goal. He finished the Asian qualifying competition for Brazil 2019 as joint-top scorer with five goals in all, and he has now opened his account in the finals. It goes without saying, however, that the young Australian is more interested in points than goals in Brazil.

“We’ve still got all to play for,” he said. “You never know what could happen in our next couple of matches. We could win or come away with two draws and finish among the best third-placed teams. One thing for sure is that we’ll go for it. We’ll be giving it all we’ve got.”

Australia's remaining group matches
Australia-Hungary, 29 October at 20:00 local time, Goiania
Australia-Nigeria, 1 November at 17:00 local time, Brasilia

Family advice

When Botic and his Australia team-mates say something they mean it. The same goes for their fans and families, who had promised to cross the globe to cheer them on and who were there in numbers on Saturday, singing in support of their Joeys throughout the game.

“It’s not the easiest trip for Australian people to make,” said the young forward. “We can only thank them for being there. We’re really touched.”

Botic is a cousin of Tomi Juric, the scorer of eight goals in 41 appearances for the Socceroos. Unfortunately for the youngster, Juric could not make the trip to Brazil due to commitments with his club CSKA Sofia.

“He’s a role model for me,” said Botic. “He’s always there to give me advice and he’s a real help to me. He wished me the best of luck before the tournament, telling me to keep my head up, to keep on working and to keep believing.”

That message has been received loud and clear.