Australia - Team Profile
By far the most inexperienced side in the group, Australia are embarking on just their fourth campaign
Australia’s Tim Cahill holds the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. Photograph: Jason Reed / Reuters
Manager: Ange Postecoglou
Best finish: Second Round (2006)
World Cup record: P 13, W 2, D 3, L 8
By far the most inexperienced side in the group, Australia are embarking on just their fourth campaign, having debuted in 1974 in West Germany, where they lost to the hosts and their eastern neighbours, before a scoreless draw with Chile – who they face first on June 13th. In 2006, a “golden generation” of Socceroos made the second round before going out to eventual champions Italy. In 2010, a 4-0 defeat to Germany ultimately sent them packing in the group stages.
Postecoglou was only appointed after the qualifiers, and immediately moved towards a more positive philosophy in his first two games . In a win over Costa Rica and a 4-3 defeat to Ecuador, in which his side actually raced into a 3-0 advantage, he opted for 4-3-3 formations.
All Star – Tim Cahill
He’s come a long way, Tim, but, at 34, he has still got it, certainly when compared to the rest of this largely inexperienced side. From Sydney FC , to Millwall, Everton and now New York Red Bulls, he has World Cup pedigree and scored twice at the finals in 2006 and once in 2010. He is Australia’s record goalscorer with 32 and will lead the line again in Brazil.
County Colours - Mayo
A former penal colony, largely inhospitable; a tough breed, largely unsuccessful
Pundit’s Corner - Giovanni Trapattoni: “They, like us, with the enthusiasmus, fight till no sleep. Never stop. Bop Bop Bop!!”
A team this inexperienced is unlikely to land enough blows on Spain, Netherlands or Chile in Group B. The injuries to Robbie Kruse and Rhys Williams will further disrupt them, as could the decision to leave the experienced veteran defender Lucas Neill behind. Fourth in the group and an early bath unfortunately.
Goalkeepers: 1 Mat Ryan (Club Brugge/Bel), 12 Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund/Ger), 18 Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United).
Defenders: 2 Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), 3 Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo/Ned), 6 Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), 8 Bailey Wright (Preston North End/Eng), 19 Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan/Chn), 22 Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai/ S Kor).
Midfielders: 5 Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), 11 Tommy Oar (Utrecht/Ned), 13 Oliver Bozanic (Luzern/Swi), 14 James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), 15 Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace/Eng), 16 James Holland (Austria Vienna/Aut), 17 Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), 20 Dario Vidosic (Sion/Swi), 21 Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town/Eng), 23 Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa/Qat).
Forwards: 4 Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls/USA), 7 Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899/Ger), 9 Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), 10 Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf/Ger).
AUSTRALIA (v Chile): 1 Mat Ryan; 2 Ivan Franjic (19 Ryan McGowan, 49 mins), 22 Alex Wilkinson, 6 Matthew Spiranovic, 3 Jason Davidson; 15 Mile Jedinak, 5 Mark Milligan; 7 Matthew Leckie, 23 Mark Bresciano (14 James Troisi, 78 mins), 11 Tommy Oar (10 Ben Halloran, 68 mins); 4 Tim Cahill
AUSTRALIA (v Netherlands): 1 Mat Ryan; 19 Ryan McGowan, 22 Alex Wilkinson, 6 Matthew Spiranovic, 3 Jason Davidson; 15 Mile Jedinak, 17 Matthew McKay; 7 Matthew Leckie, 23 Mark Bresciano (13 Oliver Bozanic, 51 mins), 11 Tommy Oar (9 Adam Taggart, 77 mins); 4 Tim Cahill (yc) (10 Ben Halloran, 69 mins).
AUSTRALIA (v Spain): 1 Mat Ryan; 19 Ryan McGowan, 22 Alex Wilkinson, 6 Matthew Spiranovic (yc), 3 Jason Davidson; 15 Mile Jedinak (yc), 17 Matthew McKay; 7 Matthew Leckie, 13 Oliver Bozanic (23 Mark Bresciano, 72 mins), 11 Tommy Oar (14 James Troisi, 61 mins); 9 Adam Taggart (10 Ben Halloran, 45 mins).