Socceroos striker Tim Cahill

FIFA World Cup preview: Australia’s Socceroos

The Socceroos won't go into the 2018 FIFA World Cup as the worst nation in the world, but they won't be too far off.

And it will take a major effort for this group of Socceroos to escape a pool that includes three opponents ranked in the world's top 12 by FIFA.

France, Denmark and the dangerous Peru await the Aussies and every game is going to be a massive challenge.

Remember, this is a Socceroos outfit that qualified by the skin of their teeth and suffered qualifying losses to the likes of Jordan and Thailand.

Indeed, Syria came within an inch of knocking Australia out of the running to be here in Russia.

Australia will need all of its fighting spirit to escape this pool. And if we do, one of Argentina, Iceland, Croatia or Nigeria will await.

The Socceroos draw

June 16 v France

June 22 v Denmark

June 27 v Peru

The star players

All of Australia wants to see Tim Cahill run out just one more time.

But at 38 and with a three-game suspension robbing him of preparation games, there is some chance he will not make the final cut.

Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has said they are 'managing' the situation, but the reality is the Socceroos will need his experience and guile in this campaign.

Outside of Cahill, the Socceroos boast a mixed bag of seasoned campaigners like Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield), Robbie Kruse (Bochum), Mat Ryan (Brighton) and Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa) with a lot of young and inexperienced players.

So desperate for success is Australia, that Fran Karacic is being considered. The Croation youth player has an Aussie passport, but has never set foot in Australia in his life.

What needs to go their way

Considering France are rated 7-1 shots of winning the whole World Cup, and the fact they belted us 6-0 the last time we played in 2013, it is hard to see us getting a win or even a draw here.

So we turn our attention to Denmark and Peru where the vital wins will need to come from to progress.

Denmark struggled to qualify for the World Cup as well and finished second to Poland in their group. We have also beaten Denmark before, 1-0 in a friendly in 2010. Our two losses to the Danes have not been blowouts.

Peru are one of the great stories of the World Cup, but their FIFA ranking of 11th in the world flatters them. It is built on a large volume of games played as much as it is their ability, but we would be fools to take them lightly.

Peru finished fifth in CONMEBOL before defeating New Zealand to claim their spot. But their run up the world rankings has placed them in a tricky pool, which Australia must capitalise on.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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