Australia – World Cup 2014 – Group B

AUSTRALIA

13-June Chile (11pm GMT Cuiaba)

18-June Netherlands (5pm GMT Porto Alegre)

23-June Spain (5pm GMT Sao Curitiba)

It is a new era for Australian football, with the Socceroos set to have a quiet tournament. Joseph Walker explains what we can expect from the rank Group B outsiders

Coach: Ange Postecoglou

Born in Greece but raised in Melbourne, Ange Postecoglou had a successful if uneventful playing career before moving into coaching. Postecoglou replaced German Holger Osieck in the job after a string of poor friendly results. He has been charged with bringing through the next generation of Socceroos, with the 2015 Asia Cup a realistic target.

Why they could be dangerous

To put it simply, nothing is expected of them. They have been written off as a straightforward three points for the group’s other sides, and it simply isn’t in the Australian sporting mentality to roll over. They have a young squad full of players plying their trade all over the world, with very few of the ‘Golden Generation’ that included Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer to name but a few, remaining.

The world on his shoulders: Mile Jedinak

A hugely impressive campaign for the Crystal Palace and Australia skipper in the Premier League means that a lot will be expected of midfielder Mile Jedinak come Brazil. He doesn’t have it easy with the likes of Xavi, Arturo Vidal and Wesley Sneijder awaiting him, but as one of the few Socceroos’ who plays week in, week out at the top level, the onus will be on the central midfielder to lead by example against superior opposition.

Did you know?

Australia set a new world record when they beat American Samoa 31-0 in their 2002 World Cup Qualifying campaign. The record still stands, and Archie Thompson, who scored 13 times, also holds the record for the most goals netted in an international match by an individual player.

Country legend: Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill just about pips Harry Kewell to this one. The attacking midfielder is the country’s top scorer with 31, and is no stranger to the world stage having played in the 2006 and 2010 editions of the tournament. Having lit up the Premier League for eight years with Everton, he now plies his trade in MLS with the New York Red Bulls as a designated player alongside Thierry Henry.

Formation: 4-5-1

Australia aren’t blessed with the striking options they once had and tend to play with one man up top, supported by the dangerous Tim Cahill. They will be up against strong midfields – which will include some of the world’s best players – and will look to outnumber their more illustrious opponents.

Australia versus…

…Spain P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0

…Netherlands P3 W1 D2 L0 F3 A2

…Chile P4 W0 D1 L3 F1 A6

Stats

Population: 22.6 million

World Cup appearances: 3

Best finish: Round of 16 at Germany 2006

Famous for: Being the opponents when Graham Poll showed Croatia’s Josip Simunic three yellow cards in the 2006 competition.

Top Division: A-League

How they got to the World Cup: Finished second in Group B of Asia qualifying

FIFA World Ranking: 59

Last World Cup Appearance: South Africa 2010 – Knocked out in the group stages.

Continental Honours: OFC Nations Cup Winners 1980, 1996, 2000 and 2004

Most Capped Player: Mark Schwarzer (109 caps)

Leading International Scorer: Tim Cahill (31 goals)

Nickname: Socceroos