Socceroos primed for EAFF East Asian Cup

Mark Birighitti says the Socceroos will be after nothing less than a piece of silverware at the EAFF East Asian Cup.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says the Socceroos will be after nothing less than a piece of silverware when they begin their first foray into the EAFF East Asian Cup tournament on Saturday.

Birighitti is one of five Jets players in Holger Osieck-s 24-man Australian squad for the tournament being hosted by Korea Republic.

It is the first time the 22-year-old has been selected to represent the senior men-s national team at an international tournament.

“It-s a massive opportunity and I-m very, very happy to have been picked in the squad and be a part of the tournament,” Birighitti said.

“It-s been a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos since I was a young kid and I-m just grateful that I-ve got that chance and I-m looking forward to the trip to Korea.

“It would be nice if I get some game time, but if not, it-s just a massive honour being involved and being in camp with the boys.”

The Socceroos- opening game of the tournament is against the host nation at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, while they will also face Asian football heavyweights Japan and China in the round robin format.

Birighitti indicated the Australians have their sights set on a first-placed finish, but are well aware of the tough obstacles ahead of them.

“Going there and trying to win the tournament is definitely on our radar, but it will be tough against good opposition like Japan, Korea and China,” Birighitti said.

“We-ve got a strong squad and a good mix of experience and some talented young players as well, so hopefully we can do well over there.”

The Jets have the equal-highest representation of any A-League club in the Socceroos squad and Birighitti believes having those familiar faces around had helped him settle into camp.

“It does make a difference having guys in the squad that you-ve played with before,” he said.

“To have five Jets players called up into the squad is a massive honour for the Club and it goes to show that the talent we have at the Jets is definitely starting to come through.

“It-s a great opportunity for all the Jets boys to express themselves against quality opposition and hopefully we-ll all do a good job over there.”