This is the fifth World Cup in a row Australia have qualified for and they hadn’t made it beyond the Group Stage in any of their previous three attempts. Their best effort before this was reaching the Round of 16 in 2006 where they were knocked out by a late penalty courtesy of eventual winners Italy.
Recent efforts at the event have been average, having only managed one win in their last three tournaments. After a loss to the French and a draw with Denmark in 2018, the Socceroos find themselves in a group with the same two nations.
Here to assess if the Socceroos is Paddy football trader Nathan Sirianni.
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Australia World Cup 2022 Qualifying Record
Australia struggled in the their qualification group with only four wins from 10 games. They claimed third place by a point leaving them with a chance to qualify and went up against the UAE for the opportunity to enter a playoff against Peru. Australia pulled off a 2-1 win thanks to a Ajdin Hrustic volley which took a deflection and found the back of the net in the 84th minute. The game against Peru finished 0-0 after extra-time, and in the most dramatic of circumstances it was the subbed-on keeper Andrew Redmayne who saved a penalty in sudden death to send them through to the World Cup.
Who is the Australia manager?
Graham Arnold is four years into his current stint with the national team. The majority of his managerial experience comes from the Australian domestic league where he has won championships with Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC. Arnold has been to the World Cup as an assistant coach in 2006 and 2010. Poor performances against Saudi Arabia and Japan in the qualifying process had many calling for him to be moved on, but Football Australia backed him and he delivered another appearance at the World Cup against the odds.
Australia 2022 World Cup Squad
Australia will set up in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1, the setup of the team on paper won’t change much in regard to the on-field tactics though. One of those holding midfield positions will be occupied by Aaron Mooy who will require support from a second central midfielder with defensive duties, likely to be the hard-running Jackson Irvine. The third central midfield position will likely be reserved for Ajdin Hrustic, however, if Tom Rogic shows strong form with West Brom in the lead up he could claim the starting spot.
Matt Ryan is as good as locked-in between the sticks but there are starting spots up for grabs elsewhere around the pitch. Form and fitness will be decisive when determining the back four with multiple candidates racing against the clock to be fit, don’t be surprised if there are adjustments mid-tournament in the full back positions. Awer Mabil and Martin Boyle have shown the most promise in recent times out wide while there is no clear starter up front, often devoid of opportunity, the likes of Adam Taggart, Mitch Duke and Jamie Maclaren are not always at fault for quiet performances at national level yet none of them have put their foot down to command clear favouritism.
- Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Andrew Redmayne
- Defenders: Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles, Milos Degenek, Bailey Wright, Thomas Deng, Nathaniel Atkinson, Fran Karacic, Aziz Behich, Joel King
- Midfielders: Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine, Cameron Devlin, Ajdin Hrustic, Riley McGree, Keanu Baccus
- Forwards: Jamie Maclaren, Mitchell Duke, Jason Cummings, Mathew Leckie, Garang Kuol, Craig Goodwin, Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle
Australia Key Player
Aaron Mooy will be instrumental to Australia’s efforts at the World Cup. He has struggled with fitness and uncertainty at club level over the last 12 months but that has not stopped coach Arnold from including him in the starting line-up for their most important matches. Currently plying his trade at Celtic under former Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou, Mooy will be keen to contribute regularly at club level in the lead up.
In recent times for the national team he has looked as assured as ever on the ball where he sets up the game. It has been his work off the ball where Australia will need him to do the heavy lifting, running out of the legs of opposition players. Towards the end of games, lazy defensive efforts and sloppy fouls will need to be eradicated to give them a chance against top opposition.
Australia One to Watch
Awer Mabil looks to have a nailed-on spot out on the left and offers something the Australian team has been missing in recent times, a willingness to run at defenders. Recently, he made a move to Cadiz where he has struggled for game time but still appears to be favoured in the Australia setup. Like many wingers, he can drift in and out of games so keep an eye out for moments of brilliance. Australia will be hoping he can be a difference maker.
Australia World Cup Prospects
Australia found themselves in Group D with France and Denmark once again, the only difference to the 2018 group was Tunisia taking Peru’s place. Against the odds the Aussies roared through the group, qualifying in second place, to set up a dream tie with Argentina in the last 16 on Saturday.
Australia World Cup Winner Odds
Australia World Cup 2022 Fixtures
November 22, 7pm: France 4-1 Australia
November 26, 10am: Tunisia 0-1 Australia
November 30, 3pm: Australia 1-0 Denmark
December 3, 7pm: Argentina v Australia
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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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