The Newsroom reviews each team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Team: Australia.
Australia struggled to qualify for their fourth World Cup. Poor performances overshadowed the results which helped them make the cut, with Josh Kennedy scoring in the final minutes of their qualifying campaign to book a flight to their third straight World Cup. Australia were drawn in a Group of Death with 2010 finalists Spain and the Netherlands, along with South American hot shots, Chile.
FIFA World Ranking: 59th
Strengths: Australia have one of the biggest advantages in the World Cup. Their opposition are unfamiliar with Australian football, and along with not being expected to achieve anything, Australia will be allowed to play more freely without any expectations. Australia also have a lot of speed in key areas from the likes of wingers Tommy Oar and Ben Halloran and Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart.
Weaknesses: Australia have had limited time under new manager Ange Postecoglu, and their recent matches have shown that the finished product is not quite there. Their inexperience could work against them, especially nations such as defending champions Spain.
Key player: Captain Mile Jedinak has had to walk many miles to get to where he is today. His childhood dream became real life when he started at NSW Premier League side Sydney United. Eight years later Jedinak is now captain of Premier League side Crystal Palace and his country’s team. The 29-year-old has made 43 caps for Australia and will hope to bring his leadership and ability into this largely inexperienced side. Jedinak is known for his aerial ability, passing prowess and long-range shooting and will have millions of Australians hoping to see those skills in Brazil.
Manager: 6-0 losses to both Brazil and France led to Holger Osieck being sacked as manager, making way for Ange Postecoglu to become the first Australian manager of the team since Frank Farina in 2005. Postecoglu introduced a style of play never seen before in Australian football when he led Brisbane Roar to two straight championships which included a record 36 match unbeaten streak. Postecoglu uses a pass and move style of play which has proved to be effective and interesting to watch.
Prediction: Unfortunately, I don’t see Australia progressing due to the superiority of their opposition and their inexperience. However, don’t expect the boys in green and gold to go down without a fight. – Chris Matthews-Darby