Group B: Australia

Ageing stars have yet to strike a balance with younger squad members

Group B: Australia

The team: Australia aren’t the team they used to be. Ageing stars like Luke Wilkshire, Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy still grace the squad, and the young players have so far failed to impress. Qualification underlined these problems as the Socceroos suffered shock defeats to Oman and Jordan before rallying to book their berth in Brazil with a narrow win over Iraq. Successive 6-0 friendly defeats to Brazil and France cost Holger Osieck his job, with Ange Postecoglou handed the reins for the FIFA World Cup.

The coach: Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou may be one of Australia’s most successful domestic coaches, but he faces his biggest challenge in Brazil. Having won back-to-back A League titles with Brisbane Roar before a short but successful spell at Melbourne Victory, the 48-year-old was given a five-year contract with the national team in October 2013. His extensive knowledge of the domestic football scene will be an asset.

Player to watch: Tim Cahill

Fans of English Premier League club Everton will still have fond memories of Tim Cahill. The free-scoring midfielder/forward chipped in with his fair share of vital goals during his eight years on Merseyside and he now plies his trade in America for New York Red Bulls. Although the years are catching up with him, the 34-year-old still has an uncanny knack of popping up at the right time with crucial goals. His experience will count for a lot in Brazil as well.

Facts

World ranking: 59
World Cup appearances: 3
Previous best: Round of 16 in 2006
Qualification: Second in group
Form (qualifiers): DDLWDDWW
Fixtures: June 14 vs. Chile; June 18 vs. Netherlands; June 23 vs. Spain

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