Ange Postecoglou’s new-look Socceroos get set for uphill battle at World Cup

Postecoglou's new-look Soccerroos face an uphill battle at World Cup

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou may have only been in the job for eight months but he has already set about regenerating a squad decimated by retirements and injuries since South Africa 2010.

The Socceroos limped through their Asian qualifying campaign under Austrian Holger Osieck, who was promptly sacked following successive 6-0 friendly defeats to France and Brazil last year.

After relative success at the last two World Cups, including a heart breaking last-minute defeat to Italy in the first knockout stage eight years ago, the Socceroos are now without a generation of well-known names, including the likes of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill and Mark Schwarzer.

Only Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano remain from that crop of talented players and, along with skipper Mile Jedinak, they have been tasked with leading a very inexperienced group to Brazil.

Even though Schwarzer opted out of international football last year, Australia are well covered between the posts with Mathew Ryan, recently voted Goalkeeper of the Year in Belgium’s Jupiler league, the new first choice ahead of Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitch Langerak.

Of the outfield players, Jedinak is coming off an excellent season with Crystal Palace in the Premier League and he will anchor the midfield alongside Bresciano and Melbourne Victory’s Mark Milligan.

At club level, Postecoglou claimed back-to-back A-League titles with Brisbane Roar and was a great exponent of the false nine, a tactic that he looks set to continue with in Brazil.

With target man Josh Kennedy ruled out of the tournament due to ongoing back problems, Tim Cahill will lead the line in a flexible 4-3-3 formation.

The former Everton and Millwall man, currently playing for the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer, will be flanked by youngsters Tommy Oar and Mathew Leckie, with Ben Halloran and last season’s A-League top scorer Adam Taggart waiting in the wings.

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