In our Australia Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this Australia team. Australia have hired a new manager after securing its World Cup place and face a challenging group in Russia.
Australia Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Brad Jones
Defenders: Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury
Midfielders: Mile Jedinak, Jackson Irvine, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Matthew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Daniel Arzani, Jamie Maclaren
- Manager: Bert van Marwijk
- Captain: Mile Jedinak
- Best Finish: Second Round (2006)
Likely starting lineup
Having just about made their way to this tournament after a narrow playoff victory over Syria, the Australian setup was shrouded by uncertainty.
Despite the progression, Ange Postecoglu stepped aside as coach after four years in charge, with Dutchman Bert van Marwijk appointed on a short-term deal geared towards the World Cup in Russia. With no competitive games played under his guidance, the Socceroos are something of an unknown.
There are areas of the squad that are strong. While it may not have always worked as a trio, there’s a lot of quality in a three of Mile Jedinak, Tom Rogic and Aaron Mooy, meaning the Aussies should be able to hold their own in midfield scuffles against Denmark and Peru.
Elsewhere, the team appears to be reacting to the pragmatic principles Van Marwijk has long held. They drew 0-0 in a friendly with Colombia before turning on the style in an eyecatching 4-0 win against the Czech Republic.
Results such as these will only heighten expectations ahead of the summer showpiece, especially given Australia acquitted themselves well in the Group of Death—Spain, Netherlands and Chile—four years ago. But it’s unlikely they’ll be looking to open games up in Russia.
Instead, we’re likely to see a team sat deep, blocking off spaces between the lines and then trying to spring forward through the talented Mathew Leckie and the hold-up play of Tomi Juric at the point of the attack.
While he may no longer be a guaranteed starter, in Tim Cahill the Socceroos also have an impact option off the bench. The former Everton man may be 38 and short of minutes, but his pedigree is undoubted on the World Cup stage, having netted goals at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 editions of the tournament.
Key Man – Mat Ryan
In a group where the Socceroos are likely going to have to do a lot of defending, Ryan will be the last line of defence for Van Marwijk.
The stopper heads to Russia following a fine domestic season with Brighton, as he was a crucial player in ensuring they comfortably secured their Premier League status. The 26-year-old has made important strides under manager Chris Houghton and is a much more accomplished goalkeeper than the one who played in Brazil four years ago.
Given the instability in the buildup to the tournament, Ryan’s organisation and burgeoning leadership skills have been important in the defence building up some chemistry too.
In the Premier League last season, he produced some exceptional pieces of agility to keep Brighton in contention in what were so often matches on a knife-edge. With the Socceroos unlikely to be one of the most prolific sides in Russia, it’s vital their stopper makes a number of decisive contributions at the other end.
Australia’s Group Stage fixtures
Saturday, June 16
Thursday, June 21
Tuesday, June 26
Australia’s path to the final
If Australia wins Group C, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group D which will either be Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria or Croatia. If Australia wins that Round of 16 game, Australia will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group A (Russia, Uruguay, Egypt or Saudi Arabia) and the team that finishes second in Group B (either Morocco, Iran, Portugal or Spain). If Australia advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the E1 vs. F2 versus G1 vs. H2 series.
If Australia finishes second in Group C, Australia will play the team that finishes first in Group D (either Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria or Croatia). If Australia wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group B (either Morocco, Iran, Spain or Portugal) and the team that finishes second in Group A (either Russia, Uruguay, Egypt or Saudi Arabia). If Australia advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the F1 vs. E2 versus H1 vs. G2 series.
Australia World Cup shirt (home)
Get ready for Russia with the Socceroos.
The gold jersey has a dark green collar and swoosh. A graphic print covers the sleeves. A strip on the back of the neck features the Commonwealth Star from the Australian flag.
Australia World Cup shirt (away)
The dark green jersey has lime yellow accents, including slanted stripes across the chest. A strip on the back of the neck features the Commonwealth Star from the Australian flag.
Sewn on federation badge. Embroidered swoosh.
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