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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Bruges), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United).

Defenders: Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors).

Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa, Qatar), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), James Troisi (Atalanta), Massimo Luongo (Swindon)

Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Duesseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets).

Australia
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

A rebuilding Australia side will head into the 2014 FIFA World Cup with few expectations from the fans back home.

A new generation, and coach in Ange Postecoglou, face the daunting task of meeting defending champions Spain, 2010 runners-up the Netherlands and up-and-coming Chile in Group B.

The Socceroos, without almost all of the golden generation who were so close to reaching the quarter-finals in 2006, are the lowest-ranked team at the tournament.

Australia squeezed through qualification under German Holger Osieck, with an 83rd-minute Josh Kennedy header edging Iraq 1-0 in Sydney to ensure that they finished second to Japan in their group.

But, along with a poor East Asian Cup, embarrassing back-to-back 6-0 losses to Brazil and France saw Osieck sacked.

Postecoglou has brought a fresh, attacking and possession-based approach, and he has turned his attentions to younger players.

Among the familiar names who will be missing in Brazil are the likes of former captain Lucas Neill and retired quartet Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer, Brett Emerton and Brett Holman.

Postecoglou already has one eye on 2018, wanting a group of players capable of getting his team to the World Cup in four years' time and then being successful.

The tournament in Brazil will mark Australia's fourth World Cup appearance – and their third straight – but they appear to have little chance of springing an upset in their group.

That lack of expectation and pressure should suit Postecoglou's young squad though, who will attack despite the quality of opposition.

Despite the absences of many of the 2006 squad, one man remains a key part of Australia's plans.

Tim Cahill has become the nation's all-time leading goalscorer and is expected to lead the line.

The New York Red Bulls forward and former Everton man is a major threat in the air and will be a handy outlet for Postecoglou's side.

Mile Jedinak, who excelled as captain of Crystal Palace in the Premier League in 2013-14, is likely to get a regular start in one of the two defensive midfield positions.

Club Brugge's Mat Ryan and Borussia Dortmund's Mitch Langerak are competing for the number one goalkeeping place.

Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan should start alongside Jedinak, while Tom Rogic (Celtic), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Mat Leckie (Frankfurt), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar) and James Holland (Austria Vienna) are among those competing for the number 10 role and spots out wide.

Defence shapes up as the biggest problem for Postecoglou.

Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar) and Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo) should start at right- and left-back respectively, while options in central defence are limited.

Matthew Spiranovic has enjoyed a strong campaign with Western Sydney in the A-League, but who partners him remains to be seen.

Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng) and Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors) are perhaps most likely.

Postecoglou was given a five-year contract for his first senior international job, having won four championships as a coach in Australia.

He also led Brisbane, where he won two championships, on a 36-match unbeaten run during his time there.

Yet if he can mastermind a passage out of the group stages for his unfancied Australia side in Brazil, it could well rank as his greatest achievement to date.



Player Profile (Mat Ryan)Edit

Position: Goalkeeper

Date of Birth: April 8, 1992

Club: Club Brugge

International Debut: v North Korea (December 5, 2012)

World Cup Appearances: 0

World Cup Goals: 0

If Australia are to somehow progress to the last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Mat Ryan will need to produce three of his best games.

The task ahead of Ange Postecoglou's men in a Group B also containing Spain, the Netherlands and Chile is a massive one.

Goalkeeper Ryan has been a mainstay for Belgian top-flight side Club Brugge this season and heads to Brazil in good form.

It has been quite a first season abroad for Ryan, after he established himself as the A-League's best goalkeeper during his time with the Central Coast Mariners.

During the 30-game Belgian regular season, Ryan's side conceded just 28 goals as Club Brugge held the league's second best defensive record.

With Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund) struggling for game time, Ryan appears to be an almost certain first-choice shot-stopper for Australia's opening World Cup game against Chile on June 13.

His efforts, and those of Langerak, in a 4-3 loss to Ecuador in London in March would have done his chances no harm.

Australia led 3-0 at the break with Ryan unbeaten during the first half before being substituted.

Langerak came on and was then sent off before the hour mark for a crude challenge after being left exposed by an under-hit back pass.

That put the Club Brugge man in pole position to be named as the first choice by Postecoglou for the long term.

But while Ryan admits that all of the goalkeeping contenders are friends off the pitch, he is under no illusions about the intensity of the fight for a place in Brazil.

"We all get on very well but there's no shying away from the fact that we're all doing our ultimate best to try and get that position for ourselves," Ryan told AAP earlier this year.

Former Mariners coach Graham Arnold is a man who knows what it is to see faith in Ryan rewarded, having stuck by the goalkeeper despite errors early in his career.

He subsequently developed into a strong shot-stopper and good ball-player, with Central Coast utilising his distribution by using him to start moves.

Ryan helped the Mariners claim an A-League premiership (2011-12) and championship (2012-13) and he earned back-to-back A-League Young Footballer of the Year Awards (2011, 2012).

He has several other individual awards to his name, including being a two-time Australian Under-20 Footballer of the Year and a member of the 2011-12 A-League Team of the Season.

Ryan was also the A-League Goalkeeper of the Year in 2011-12 and a move overseas always looked likely.

He has settled well in Belgium and his team's form in challenging at the top end of the Pro League has undoubtedly helped him consolidate his position as their number one.

Ryan's reflexes and positioning should make him hard to beat, yet his defence will need to provide as much support as possible.

Just who lines up in front of Ryan in the Australian back four at the World Cup remains to be seen.

However, you can be sure that after a superb season at domestic level, the 22-year-old will likely be kept very busy in Brazil by the world's very best sides.

News SourcesEdit

News.com.au http://www.news.com.au/sport/football

Fox Sports http://www.foxsports.com.au/football/socceroos

Herald Sun http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/football

Daily Telegraph http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/football

Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer

The Age http://www.theage.com.au/sport/soccer The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/au

The World Game http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/team/3215/socceroos/news

Football Federation Australia http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news/socceroos

FourFourTwo Australia http://www.fourfourtwo.com/au

The Australian (if behind paywall, Google headline) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/football Less so... (hopefully this content is shared with us) www.sportal.com.au http://www.goal.com/en-au?ICID=HP