FIFA World Cup Special : Team talk – Rogic, Cahill crucial in Australia’s quest for first knockout appearance in 12 years

Australia are one of the dark forces in this year's World Cup.

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In yet another episode of our “Team Talks” for Group C of the FIFA World Cup 2018, we continue with the defending Asian Champions, Australia.

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Team : AUSTRALIA

Coach: Bert van Marwijk
Captain: Mile Jedinak
Nickname(s): Socceroos
Last Qualified in: 2014
Result in 2014: Eliminated in the Group Stages (30th overall)
Qualified as: CONCACAF v AFC play-off winners (15 November 2017)
Previous World Cup Appearances: (4 Times) 1974, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Best World Cup Finals Result: Round of 16 in 2006.

Final Squad:

Brad Jones, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic; Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury; Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi; Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Nikita Rukavytsya.

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Key Players:

1) Massimo Luongo: 

The 25-year old QPR midfielder is one of the most promising facilitators of the game in the modern day. The Sydney born player was long-listed for the 2015 Ballon d’ Or. He is likely to be at the heart of the midfield for Bert van Marwijk’s side.

2) Mile Jedinak: 

The Aussie skipper is their most experienced midfield player with 75 caps to his name. The 33-year old was an indispensable part of a very good Crystal Palace side between 2011-16, making 165 appearances for the London club. After narrowly missing out on Premier League promotion this season with Aston Villa in the play-off finals, Jedinak will be raring to make up for that with his national team in Russia. With 18 goals to his name, he is also the second highest scorer in the current squad, and 10th in all time list.

3) Tom Rogic: 

The Celtic midfielder had some tremendous success at Celtic Park under Brendan Rodgers. The man who extended his stay at Celtic Park for 5 more seasons, has an eye for the goal and a knack for the spectacular (like his winning goal against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the World Cup Qualifiers). After a good performance in the 2017 Confederations Cup, Rogic can easily be a top performer for the Aussies in Russia.

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4) Tim Cahill: 

The former Everton striker is the highest scorer in history for the Socceroos with 50 goals. The man, regarded by many as the best ever Australian footballer, is just 4 short of Mark Schwarzer’s all time top caps record of 109. The 38-year old is still a credible threat up front and on his day can be a nightmare to any defence when he travels to Russia for his 4th successive World Cup finals appearance.

Recent Form:

The Socceroos have been in mixed form over their last 14 international matches. While they have won 5 times in that time, they have also drawn the same number of matches.

Group matches:

Australia have been drawn in Group C alongside France, Peru and Denmark. They will play France in their opening match on 16th of June, followed by Denmark and Peru on 21st and 26th June respectively.

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Prediction:

Australia shocked everyone when they qualified from their 2006 World Cup group, but they haven’t been able to repeat the same ever since. Drawn in a group with France, Peru and Denmark, this will probably an easier group for them compared to last time around, when they faced Spain, Holland and Chile. With favourable results against Peru and Denmark, Australia might just make their second ever knockout appearance at Russia.

Trivia:

Australia hold the World Record for the top 2 biggest International wins by margins. During the 2002 OFC World Cup Qualification Group A matches, Australia defeated Tonga 22-0, before bettering it to 31-0 against American Samoa, just two days later. In the second match, Archie Thomson and David Zdrilic also created the World Record of the Most Goals scored by a single Player (top 2) in a single match by scoring 13 and 8 respectively.

 

How far do you think Australia will progress this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo by Nasya Bahfen

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