Australia: World Cup 2014 Team Preview
Best Ever Finish: Last 16 (2006)
Captain: Lucas Neill
Manager: Ange Postecoglou
Australia failed to convince during qualifying, winning just three games in total.
Following a 6-0 defeat in a friendly to France in October, manager Holger Osieck was sacked and replaced by Ange Postecoglou. It will be curious to see whether this will have a positive or negative effect on the Socceroos when the summer of 2014 comes along, but early indications suggest that he will maintain a core of experienced players
In typical Aussie fashion, they are determined, gritty and hardworking. Sadly though the team has a lack of talented ballplayers so will look to disrupt opposition teams through a physical style and direct style of play.
Mile Jedinak will be key to this, and he is having an excellent season in a struggling Crystal Palace side. He is a player who relishes the physical battle, as does Australia’s joint top scorer of all time Tim Cahill.
Overall, an over reliance on ageing veterans, and the nation’s top scorers not playing at an elite, European club level means Australia won’t be progressing past the group stage.
Though as a possible final appearance for several national icons and a chance to blood some talented youngsters, it will be an experience that Australia will enjoy and take a lot away from nonetheless.
Key Player – Tim Cahill
The iconic former Everton man is still the player which Australia look to when they need a goal.
Like many ageing players, he lacks the speed of days past, but with space he will still punish opposition with clinical shooting and stunning aerial ability.
Cahill scored the nation’s first ever World Cup goals at Japan in 2006, and he is a talismanic figure for this Australia team. He will be desperate to make an impression in what looks to be his third and final World Cup appearance.