Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

World Cup team preview: Australia

Mark Schwarzer could be a busy player for Australia in a difficult group for the Socceroos
Mark Schwarzer could be a busy player for Australia in a difficult group for the Socceroos

With 30 days to go until the World Cup opener, we continue our countdown with a preview of Australia. Three down, 29 teams to go.

Group H: Spain, Holland Chile

Tournament Odds: 500/1

As the lowest-ranked (59) country heading to Brazil, the Socceroos were always going to have their work cut out to qualify from their group. And that was before they were handed a most difficult draw.

A point, never mind a victory could well be an achievement for manager Ange Postecoglou.

He was given a five-year contract by Football Federation Australia (FFA) after the sacking of German Holger Osieck who paid the price for 6-0 thrashings by Brazil and France and become the first full-time coach of the national side in nine years.

He has promised a move away from the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ towards fast-paced, aggressive football.

How they got there

Australia's 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification began with a series of friendlies against United Arab Emirates (0–0), Germany (1–2 win), New Zealand (3–0 win), Serbia (0–0) and Wales (1–2 win).TheirWorld Cup campaign started in the third round of qualification, with Australia topping their group to progress to the fourth round. After winning their last fourth round-game, Australia finished as runners-up in their group

Key player

A familiar face to Premier League fans, Tim Cahill will again carry the main offensive threat for the Aussies. Tom Rogic and Mile Jedinak.are also key members of the squad, the 34 year-old has a great track record at international level, with 31 goals in 64 appearances, a national record.

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He hit three goals in qualifying and if he gets any opportunities, will be a handful for the meanest defences.

Something you might not know about Australia

Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world with over 80 percent of Australian adults engaging in gambling of some kind and 20 percent of the pokie machines in the world are found in Australia.

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