MARK Milligan has revealed how Cathy Freeman and a pre-game pep talk from Socceroos legend John Aloisi inspired the Olyroos to a 2-0 win over Iraq last Saturday.
And the Olyroos skipper has warned his teammates against any complacency in their quest to become Australia's first under-23s side to qualify for the Olympics via the arduous Asian route.
The Olyroos will today fly to Pyongyang from their training camp in Beijing ahead of tomorrow's 14th and final qualifier, needing just a draw against North Korea to advance to the Olympics.
Coach Graham Arnold compiled a DVD of Australia's greatest Olympic moments before last Saturday's crucial win, which combined with Aloisi's speech to spur the team to victory.
"Arnie put together a DVD of Olympic moments. It was not just soccer, it was highlights of all sorts of achievements like Cathy Freeman and the Hockeyroos,'' Milligan said.
"Then John Aloisi had a chat about being an Olympian and how much it meant to him and what a buzz it was for him to compete and the atmosphere of the Olympic village.
"It sent tingles down my spine and I know what the rest of the boys were saying, it's a big thing in our careers, especially for the players that are not quite where they want to be, it's a massive stage so it can only help our careers.''
It was Milligan's turn to address the squad after the match and the message was clear in light of their jubilant post-match celebrations at Bluetongue Stadium. But he said there was no need to reiterate the point any longer.
"Everyone knows the importance of Wednesday night. We were delighted to get the three points the other night but the job's not done,'' he said.
"We haven't spoken since, we had a quick chat after the game and we got in on Monday night and the main focus is to get everyone rested. In all honesty the boys know what is required. It is not a matter of me, Ado (Adrian Leijer) or Vuka (Danny Vukovic) having to tell them.
"Everyone knows what has to be done so the less said the better. It's important not to go in with any complacency.''
The players are getting an early taste of the Olympics, camped in Beijing before they fly to North Korea today. Arnold put the squad through their paces last night and there are no fresh injury concerns among the 20-man squad.
David Williams did not fly after tearing his hamstring in the dying stages of Saturday's game while Adelaide's Dez Giraldi and Central Coast's Nigel Boogaard did not travel.
A "very confident'' Milligan said the key was to play in the same manner which has yielded three draws and a win in the second phase of qualifying. "It starts to get dangerous when you start to play for a draw,'' he said.
"The key is to go out and play our normal game, the way we've played through the whole qualifying period. Our form throughout the qualifiers has been good enough to go out and play the way we want to and dictate from the get-go.''
As such, Milligan, whose clinical second-half header put the Iraqi result beyond doubt, envisages that Arnold will play a similar formation.