While many of you know from my exploits at Two Foot Talk that I support the bumbling mess that is Arsenal as well as the Italian side Roma what you do not know is that while being a die-hard USMNT fan that I love to support the Oceania sides, in particular Australia. Bond, how the f*** could you support the Socceroos? Honest truth; Tim Cahill is a savage, and they are a bunch of drinkers and fighters who can play some football. That’s it, nothing more to it.
Unlike Roma and Arsenal who I watched play from a young age, Australia did not catch my eye until I absolutely dominated my brothers with Australia while playing FIFA (the key is to adjust your attacking and defending settings). Once I fell in love with them in the video game world I started to pay attention to them on the real-life stage and I have not been disappointed. While not exactly a powerhouse their style of football resonates with me because it is a bruising, hard-tackling style of play that I have tried to emulate on the pitch (This is why we hired him for TwoFootTalk<<<). The Aussie’s play with their emotions on their sleeve, if you doubt me just watch Tim Cahill play one game and try to tell me you disagree.
Tim Cahill. A goddamn legend. This man is part of the golden generation of Socceroos and is the player that can define Australia’s rise to consistent World Cup qualification. Top national team goal scorer, and it’s not even close. Cahill has been dominant his entire playing career, from his time at Millwall through Everton to the Red Bulls and back to Millwall. The man scored 56 goals for Everton during his 8 years there, and boy were there some beauties. We cannot forget his stunning goal in the 2014 World Cup against the Netherlands. Cahill has made the preliminary squad and it would be absolutely insane to keep him off the final World Cup squad.
Hitting on a couple of more players, Mile Jedinak, a CM stalwart is now the captain of the Socceroos, thanks to Tim Cahill’s age. Jedinak rose to prominence when he signed for Crystal Palace and has now moved on to Championship side Aston Villa, who lost a heartbreaker to Fulham with a promotion spot on the line. Jedinak is the man most responsible for sending the Socceroos to the 2018 World Cup with his hat trick against Honduras this past year. Another key player not to look past is the goalkeeper, Matthew Ryan, yes Matthew Ryan who did an excellent job of goaltending to help keep Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League for another year. He has to come up big in the World Cup if Australia are to have a prayer of surviving a group with the likes of Denmark and France.
With that being said let us look at Australia’s chances to claim the until prize in sports. Two Words, France. Denmark. First game out, an aging Tim Cahill, and they have to face quite possible the best French team I have seem assembled in my 22 years of life. Obviously this will be the toughest game they play and if they can find a way to draw France in the opening game, then all bets are off and they have a shot at making it through to the elimination games. While it is a tall task for the Socceroos draw France they have the style of play, no, the heart it requires to compete with the best teams in the World (unlike the United States these last couple of years). Following the France game the Aussie’s play Denmark. Denmark, while not on the same level as France is a very difficult team to beat. Again the only thing needed is a draw. If they can draw their first two games, they are in a very good position to make the elimination stage, where anything can happen. Peru, the final group stage game, as a fan I am ecstatic at the way their schedule came out. The games, in my opinion, go from their toughest opponent to their weakest opponent. That is not a knock against Peru but just plain facts. Depending on how the Socceroos perform in their first two group stage matches the Peru game is set to be make or break for them to make it to the elimination stage of the World Cup.
Unlike 2014 the Socceroos group is not a complete death sentence for them, and they have a very good shot at advancing. Hopefully the injection of a Dutch manager, Bert van Marwijk, and the likes of Mark von Bommel on the bench can instill some flow to the Aussie game to a level it has not seen before. Unfortunately it is already confirmed that van Marwijk is leaving after the culmination of the World Cup with Graham Arnold set to take the managers position.
The Socceroos are primed to take the next step in their soccer history and I cannot wait for the day to come. Hopefully they can learn from the mistakes of US Soccer and encourage their young talented to players to play abroad and grow from that experience.
Chat shit with Ty on twitter @TyBond16 and make sure you tell him what you really think of Australia (Mostly that they probably wont make it).