Predicting the Australia Squad to Go to the 2014 World Cup
Australia have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after an up-and-down campaign that saw them confirm their place with a 1-0 win over Iraq on June 18.
German coach Holger Osieck has been on the receiving end of substantial criticism from Australian media and fans since taking charge of the Socceroos, based on lackluster results, his mistrust of younger players and the side's sometimes dour style of play.
The mood around the camp seemed to pick up in the latter stages of the qualification process, though, as Osieck settled on a preferred starting 11 and the team began to put together more convincing performances.
With about a year to go until the World Cup kicks off, don't expect wholesale changes to the team.
The strength of the squad selected here is in its adaptability; many of the players named can cover multiple positions through attack, midfield and defense, and that flexibility should serve the Socceroos well during the tournament.
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Players: Mark Schwarzer, Mitchell Langerak, Matthew Ryan
It could be viewed as either a positive or negative that Schwarzer, who will be 41 by the time the World Cup rolls around, is still the Socceroos' undisputed No. 1, assuming he can find a new club as soon as possible.
It is both a testament to his longevity and consistency, and an indication that Australia's goalkeeping stocks are a little limited.
Langerak gets on the plane as backup, while youngster Ryan goes along for experience.
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Players: Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, James Donachie, Robert Cornthwaite, Luke Wilkshire, Matt McKay, Ivan Franjic, Michael Zullo
The recently favored back four of Wilkshire, Ognenovski, Neill and McKay should survive intact until the World Cup, though McKay's spot is probably the least secure.
Zullo may be pushing for a starting berth in a year's time, while Franjic could always play at right back with Wilkshire moving over to the left.
Backup for the veteran centre-backs is provided by the reliable Cornthwaite and the highly promising youngster Donachie.
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Players: Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Tom Rogic, Mark Bresciano, Brett Holman, Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse
Milligan and Jedinak will battle it out for the role of defensive midfielder, with the evergreen Bresciano sitting alongside, or just in front, to dictate play.
Robbie Kruse on the right flank and Tommy Oar on the left will be crucial in providing Australia with pace and dynamism.
Rogic should have taken over from Holman as Australia's chief creative playmaker at the top of the midfield, and Brazil could provide the opportunity for the Celtic man to announce himself on the world stage.
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Players: Archie Thompson, Joshua Kennedy, Matthew Leckie, Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell
Cahill is naturally a midfielder, but he is also Australia's only world-class goalscorer at present, so is most likely to appear up front.
Thompson and Kennedy are named for impact off the bench, while Leckie can fulfill a number of roles in the attacking third.
If Kruse is in good goal-scoring form, he can be used up front as well.
Kewell is Australia's most gifted footballer, and if he comes into the World Cup with a full season of football behind him, he has the ability to prove a game-breaker once more.