Scraping through the playoffs on penalties, the Socceroos will be taking part in their sixth World Cup, but will need a minor miracle to make it out of the group stages for the second time in their history.
Drawn with current champions France and the formidable Denmark, as well as Tunisia, the Aussies will not not be fancied to make it to the round of 16, but they come into the tournament on a high having beaten New Zealand in their most recent friendlies.
They lack many of the talismanic figures that they have had previously, such as Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell, but their hardworking side could still spring a surprise.
Australia World Cup 2022 Tips
Read the latest Australia odds ahead of the World Cup, including their odds to win the tournament, odds to claim the golden boot, 101 Great Goals’ top tip and more 2022 World Cup predictions and tips.
Australia World Cup Predictions
In recent years, Australia have been one of the sides capable of pulling off an upset, taking Italy close in 2006 and doing similar to France in 2018 and Netherlands in 2014. However they had a strong supply of talent in those years thanks to the likes of Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill, and that supply has run dry in recent years. While the Socceroos will always pride themselves on competitive spirit, they are unlikely to cause too many ripples this time around in a tough group.
Australia Golden Boot Prediction
Jamie Mclaren has been prolific in the A-League for Melbourne City and even enjoyed a brief spell with Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership, but that is yet to translate into international form. With eight goals in 26 appearances, he will lead the line for the Socceroos but won’t have the firepower to cause serious problems for defences.
Arnold has been in charge of the Australia national team for four years, having made a name for himself in the A-League with Sydney FC. Capped 56 times by the Socceroos, Arnold knows the landscape of international football and was part of the management team that made it through to the knockouts in 2006 and has a strong record in the hot seat.
Total appearances: 6
First qualification: 1974
Most recent: 2018
Best achievement: Round of 16 (2006)
World Ranking: 38
Overall record: P16, W2, D4, L10
The one-time Arsenal loanee will likely have plenty to do in their group, and will have to be at his best if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout rounds.
Now plying his trade with FC Copenhagen in the Danish top flight, the 30-year-old has managed 75 appearances for the Socceroos to date, and starred in the penalty shoot out win that got them this far.
In November, he will need to recreate his heroics.
Another former Brighton man, like Ryan Aaron Mooy is now in the twilight of his career, but has been marshalling the Socceroos midfield for the last decade and will continue to do so in Qatar.
With 53 caps and seven goals to his name, he remains a key part of the Australia side and the Celtic midfielder will be key to any success that his nation are going to have this winter.
Fan expectation for Australia in the World Cup
Despite being one of the strongest teams in Asia, and even winning the Asian Cup back in 2015, the Socceroos have regularly struggled at World Cups. Only once in five appearances have they made it out of the group stage, which came in 2006 with arguably their greatest ever “Golden Generation” team that included the likes of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer, and Mark Viduka. Hearts were broken in Germany that year when Australia lost 1-0 to Italy in the round of 16 thanks to a controversial extra-time penalty converted by Totti, and the nation hasn’t reached the same stage of the tournament since.
It was a rollercoaster qualifying period for the Socceroos, which began with the longest undefeated streak in World Cup qualifying history before stumbling towards the finish line, culminating in two tense intercontinental play-off games against the UAE and Peru. Most of their qualifiers were also played away from home due to the pandemic, including a number of games in Qatar itself, which could provide a slight advantage come November.
Fans have been critical of head coach Graham Arnold’s pragmatic style of play, which at times feels less about winning and more about ‘not losing’, even though Australian players - particularly the younger ones - contain more creativity and flair than such a style often allows for.
The big issue for the final squad heading to Qatar is match fitness: Australia’s A-League Men has only just begun, giving domestic-based players just a handful of games to find form before taking on opponents who’ve been in the swing of their club seasons for some time, while most of their overseas-based senior players haven’t been receiving regular minutes.
In the context of their own history, in which they haven’t won a single game at a World Cup since 2010, there is little expectation of the Socceroos making it out of a group containing current title-holders France, Denmark, and Tunisia. However, there are some pockets of faithful fans who believe they have the talent emerging through the ranks to cause a potential upset.
101′s Australia World Cup Tip
101 Great Goals are backing Australia to get knocked out in the group stages of the World Cup this year, and it will be between them and Tunisia as to who finishes bottom, but we think the Socceroos will finish dead last.
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