World Cup 2018 Preview: Australia

The young and hungry group of players who won the 2015 Asian Cup are ready to cut their teeth on the biggest stage.

Nickname(s): Socceroos

Best Finish: Last-16 (2006)

How they qualified: Australia qualified for their fourth successive World Cup after a grueling 22-game qualifying campaign which lasted 29 months. The Socceroos were the 31st team to book their spot at Russia 2018 with a 3-1 aggregate win over Honduras in the intercontinental playoff, which was the second round of playoffs they faced after finished third in AFC qualifying.

Coach: Vacant

Australia’s first homegrown coach Ange Postecoglu, resigned shortly after guiding his team to a Russia 2018 berth. Other Aussie coaches Kevin Muscat and Graham Arnold are in the frame to replace him, also in contention are Dutchman Guus Hiddink and Italian Gianni De Biasi.

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Key Man: Tim Cahill

At 37-years-old, the forward remains a key player for the Socceroos. During qualification, the former Everton goal scorer played an important role for the Socceroos, encapsulated by an age-defying 120 minutes against Syria where he bagged both goals in a crucial 2-1 second-leg playoff win. After leaving the English Premier League in 2012, Cahill moved to New York Red Bulls and then spent a year in China before returning to his native Australia with Melbourne City.

Opening fixtures:

16 June  vs France

21 June vs Denmark

26 June vs Peru

Squad: TBD

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