Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill rose to national stardom due to their exploits in 2006, but it’s been a while since a men’s World Cup paved the way for a true breakout star in Australia.
The Garang Kuol hype train has well and truly left the station, but he’s likely to only feature in short cameos off the bench.
Socceroos legend and Western United boss John Aloisi told Wide World of Sports that Australia’s games will be won and lost in the middle of the field, and that both Aaron Mooy and Ajdin Hrustic will be pivotal.
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“There’s a number of players that I think are going to be very important – I see Mooy as a really important player because of his experience and the level he’s played at, the games that he’s played at, and he’s in our midfield. We need our midfield to be at their best,” he told Wide World of Sports.
But the 32-year-old Celtic player is hardly one for the future – whereas Hrustic, who is fresh off winning a European trophy with Eintracht Frankfurt before signing with Serie A side Hellas Verona this past off-season, is one to build around.
“Hrustic has still got that ability to score something out of nothing, a free kick, and in tight games, these World Cup games, you need that little bit – scoring from a set piece or a corner,” Aloisi said.
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Aloisi added that he hoped that towering defender Harry Souttar would be ready to play, and latch onto those dead balls – but regardless of who is scoring and assisting, the team ethic is more important than anything.
“Where our strength is going to lie is our ability to work hard for each other,” Aloisi said.
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“That’s going to be our strength, that has to be our strength.
“We have to be very hard to beat – we have to make sure that we run more, and fight more than the opposition, which I know we will, and then hopefully that little bit of quality can get us that goal that we need.”
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Where are they now? The historic Socceroos squad that went to the 2006 FIFA World Cup