Socceroos in Rio: World Cup Preview - Australia
Ausralia will make their fourth World Cup appearance this summer. They have been present in the last two competitions; 2006 and 2010. They also were in the 1974 world cup. In their short World Cup appearances, the Aussie’s have been knocked out at the group stage twice, in 76 and 2010. However, in 2006 they made it through to the round of 16. Here they lost 1-0 to Italy, thanks to Francesco Totti’s injury time penalty, breaking the hearts of the Australians.
How they Qualified
To reach the 2014 world cup, they were in the Asian section of the qualification. The third round consisted of 5 groups of four teams. They played each other twice, and the top 2 of each group progressed to the fourth round of qualification. Ausralia won group D, only losing once to Saudi Arabia, and winning the rest. They won the group comfortably, 7 points off second placed Oman, and 9 off third placed Saudi Arabia.
In the fourth round, they were put in group B. The group had five teams in, again each team playing every other team twice. The top two teams of group A and B qualified for the World Cup whilst the two third placed teams contested a playoff for the final spot. Australia came second in this group, securing their place in the 2014 Fifa World Cup. They only lost one game, winning three and drawing four.
30 Man Preliminary Squad
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has gone with inexperience and youth in his 30 man squad that he released earlier this month. The 30 man squad is set to be narrowed down to 23, on 2nd June. Notable member’s of the squad include captain Mile Jedinak, who also captains Premier League side Crystal Palace. Ex-Everton forward Tim Cahill is also in the squad. However, former captain Lucas Neill is not in the squad. Having only made four appearances for Doncaster Rovers this season. He has been on loan there from Watford.
Goalkeepers Mathew Ryan (Club Bruges), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets)
Defenders – Curtis Good (Dundee United), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Midfielders Joshua Brillante (Newcastle Jets), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa, Qatar), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Adam Sarota (Utrecht), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), James Troisi (Atalanta), Massimo Luongo (Swindon)
Forwards Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Tomas Rogic (Celtic), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Duesseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets).
Predicted Starting Line-up
Australia will be looking to experience in Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill. Josh Kennedy will also be looking to have a successful campaign. The Nagoya Grampus forward netted 17 times for his country.
Australia are in Group B, alongside Chile, Holland – The runners up in 2010, and Spain – the winners in 2010. This, is a ridiculously hard group for the socceroo’s, and I cannot see them progressing through the group stage whatsoever.