Following a relatively straighforward qualifying campaign, Australia have been handed a very tough four team group at the 2010 World Cup. Although the pool containing Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast has been dubbed the group of death, Australia’s group is arguably tougher as all of the four teams have ambitions of making the 2nd round and beyond.
Realistically, Germany are the masters of navigating their way through to the latter stages of major tournaments. It would be foolish to predict anything other than a three way battle between Serbia, Ghana and Australia for second place. All three teams are able to make a case. Ghana are playing on their own continent and have the prospect of competitive football (African Nations) just months before the event. Serbia are one of the most underestimated nations in world football and have players in all positions that compete in the top European leagues. Australia probably have the most experienced squad of the three and the majority of their squad qualified for the second round at the 2006 tournament.
If they do manage to qualify in second place, they will most likely face England in round two. That would be a particularly interesting encounter as Australia previously beat the English 3-1 in a friendly not too long ago. If they managed to shock the world and progress, they are most likely to face France in the quarter finals.
Manager Pim Verbeek shouldn’t have a majorly difficult task in choosing his squad for the 2010 World Cup. A few squad spaces may need to be decided on but the Aussie manager will probably know his starting line up at this moment in time due to a lack of depth. Here are several of the players who will surely be on the plane to South Africa providing they are fit.
The majority of Australia’s squad is most likely to be the same as four years ago when the reached the 2nd round in Germany. However back then, Guus Hiddink was the inspiration behind their success. The nation has a lack of promising young talent breaking through, especially in the forward positions where the country is crying out for a new Mark Viduka to score the crucial goals. Although they will be hard to beat, a group stage exit looms for the Aussies.