Australia profile for 2017 Confederations Cup
FootyOn experts give their Australia profile for the 2017 Confederations Cup, as we analyse all eight nations taking part at the tournament which kicks-off on June 17th.
The Socceroos are going to their fourth Confed Cup in Russia this summer and their preliminary squad contains just four players over 30.
BetVictor make them 20/1 outsiders to win the tournament with a youthful setup, though the Aussies face a very tough time to get out of their group.
Eight of Ange Postecoglou’s squad played club football in Britain this past season, but only half were regulars.
Trent Sainsbury, the most-capped of the defenders selected, found a similar problem when loaned to Inter Milan this winter without making an appearance.
There are still the goals of 37-year-old Tim Cahill and reliable penalty-taking of Australia skipper Mile Jedinak to rely on, however.
The Socceroos’ roster draws on players plying their trade in 16 different countries, which is rather fitting for this international tournament.
Challenging Mathew Ryan between the sticks is Mitchell Langerak, who won promotion to the Bundesliga with Stuttgart.
Bailey Wright, who swapped Preston North End for fellow Championship club Bristol City in January, or ex-Hearts man Ryan McGowan look set to partner Sainsbury at centre half.
In the best Australian tradition of wing backs in the Brett Emerton and Scott Chipperfield mould is Aziz Behich of Bursaspor. He could beat Brad Smith to the left back berth as the latter has been peripheral at Bournemouth.
Joining Jedinak in the engine room is some strength in depth, with Burton Albion top scorer Jackson Irvine competing with Huddersfield Town loanee Aaron Mooy, QPR anchorman Massimo Luongo and the versatile Mark Milligan for spots.
Supporting Cahill are the likes of Tom Rogic, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse. There is cause for concern in that the other forwards selected by the Socceroos have barely managed a quarter of his goals between them.
It does not bode well for the future when aerial threat Cahill calls time on his career, but he remains available for now and is capable of spectacular goals like the above.
Confederations Cup record
Australia’s performances in three previous Confederations Cup appearances have got steadily worse.
Runners-up in 1997 when mauled by hat-tricks from Brazil greats Ronaldo and Romario, they then finished third next time out in 2001.
Although avenging the Samba Boys battering them with victory in a third place play-off, it was a very different Brazil team they faced.
The Socceroos last graced the Confederations Cup 12 years ago in Germany, finishing bottom of their pool despite giving it a real go.
How they qualified: 2015 Asian Cup winners
Victory on home soil as first-time hosts of the Asian Cup (after leaving the Oceania confederation in 2006) ensured Australia’s place at the 2017 Confederations Cup.
An extra-time victory over South Korea, for whom Son Heung-Min scored, secured the Socceroos a maiden success in that competition.
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Greek-born Postecoglou has won trophies with Australia in three age categories, including that 2015 Asian Cup triumph.
Appointed Socceroos boss in 2013, he has a 47 per cent win record from 38 matches in charge.
Postecoglou has used a variety of systems during his tenure from 4-3-3 at the last tournament, the modern variant 4-2-3-1, the occasional midfield diamond and in more recent games 3-1-4-2.
Whatever tactics he employs at the Confederations Cup, his Aussies are up against it.
Key player: Tom Rogic
Despite the presence of veteran frontman Cahill in the Socceroos’ squad, he is 37 and younger legs in support are essential as noted above.
Chief among those is Celtic’s forward-thinking midfielder Rogic, who scored the winner in this year’s Scottish FA Cup final.
Now 24, he’s chipped in with 12 goals from the engine room as Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys landed a domestic treble in Scotland.
That form for the Glasgow giants and confidence being part of a Scottish Premiership winning side must be brought into the national setup.
Player to watch: Aaron Mooy
The creativity of on-loan Championship play-off finalist Mooy has been notable at Huddersfield this term.
David Wagner’s Terriers weren’t fancied at all to figure in the promotion picture.
Although scoring just four goals since joining for the season from Manchester City, Mooy’s strikes have counted for plenty.
Grabbing the winner against West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United ensures a special place in fans’ hearts.
He also netted against promotion favourites Newcastle United and Norwich City, who came down from the Premier League too.
That shows a penchant for big match performances, and Mooy looks set for Premier League football next term one way or another.
Australia go up against World Cup holders Germany, dual Copa America champions Chile and Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon in their pool.
It could hardly be tougher in Russia for the Socceroos, as just the top two teams qualify for the semi-finals.
Full Australia squad for 2017 Confederations Cup squad (30)
Mathew Ryan (Racing Genk, on loan from Valencia), Mitchell Langerak (Stuttgart), Mark Birighitti (Swansea City), Danny Vukovic (Sydney FC)
Trent Sainsbury (Inter Milan, on loan from Jiangsu Suning), Ryan McGowan (Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng), Brad Smith (Bournemouth), Bailey Wright (Bristol City), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F. Marinos), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Dylan McGowan (Pacos de Ferreira).
Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), Mark Milligan (Baniyas), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, on loan from Manchester City), Jackson Irvine (Burton Irvine), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam), Mustafa Amini (AGF Aarhaus), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz), Riley McGree (Adelaide United)
Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Robbie Kruse (Unattached), Mathew Leckie (Ingolstadt), Tomi Juric (Lurzen), Jamie Maclaren (Damstadt).
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