3 Australian Talents to Watch Ahead of Brazil 2014
Australia became the second nation to qualify for Brazil 2014 this past week with a nail-biting 1-0 win over Iraq in Sydney.
The Socceroos turned to an old and trusted head in Joshua Kennedy to nod in a late cross from former Palermo midfielder Mark Bresciano. Cue rapture, as the Green and Gold nation knew they were off to their third consecutive Fifa World Cup.
If manager Holger Osieck learned anything from these past few weeks, it is that Australia's next generation is ready to step up and make the difference.
Here are three Aussies to look out for in Europe next season, who may indeed star at Brazil 2014.
Club: Celtic, Scottish Premier League
Position: AM, CM
Tall, powerful and yet graceful, Tom Rogic may be the most talented player out of Australia since Harry Kewell.
His story is equally as impressive.
Just two years ago he was playing amateur football before winning a contract with the Nike football Academy after winning 'The Chance', a competition entered by 75,000 young hopefuls worldwide.
Now Rogic plays with Scottish champions Celtic, having secured a move earlier this year from Central Coast Mariners.
The playmaker has impressed boss Neill Lennon in his short stay and Celtic fans could indeed see more of him as the likes of Victor Wanyama look to leave Glasgow.
The 20-year-old is blessed with a superb technique and first touch and has the ability to dribble through midfield. Standing at 1.87m he is also incredibly difficult to bump off the ball.
In just his second appearance for the Socceroos, he came off the bench to show his precocious talent and help drive the team forward to find the eventual goal that would take Australia to the World Cup.
Remember the name.
Club: Bayer Leverkusen, German Bundesliga
Position: RW, AM
Robbie Kruse was arguably eventually relegated Fortuna Dusseldorf's best player in the Bundesliga last season.
The 24-year-old's combination of dribbling, pace and instinctive off-ball movement make him a handful for any defender.
Jordan recently found out the hard way when Kruse put in a stunning performance for the Socceroos in a 4-0 rout in Melbourne. Providing two glorious assists and a classy goal to boot, it is clear the young forward has finally come of age.
This current Australian team looks at its best when he is on the ball in the final third. He will be key to success at Brazil 2014.
Club: FC Utrecht, Dutch Eredivisie
Position: Left Wing
Tommy Oar has for some time now been Australia's most promising young talent.
He burst on the scene as an 18-year-old ahead of the 2010 World Cup after an exciting international debut against Indonesia and was named A-League Young Player of the Year.
He was not selected to go to South Africa, but he secured a move to the Eredivisie, where he has slowly established himself as a key player for FC Utrecht.
The diminutive left-winger helped his club secure a Europa League spot this past season. With form that Australian boss Holger Osieck could not ignore.
Oar has a knack of scoring absolute belters, and his superb, albeit fortuitous, goal against Japan secured a vital point for the Socceroos in these late stages of qualification.
In Australia's clash against Iraq, he was arguably the best player on the pitch and showed the sort of dribbling that will have fans on the edges of their seats at Brazil 2014.
2013-14 is a big one for Oar. Having now come of age, with his talent, he has the world at his feet.