Calendar (French time) in group D
November 22: France-Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium (8 p.m., TF1 and BeIN Sports 1)
November 26: Tunisia-Australia at Al-Janoub Stadium (11 a.m., BeIN Sports 1)
November 30: Australia-Denmark at Al-Janoub Stadium (4 p.m., BeIN Sports 2)
Their nickname: The Socceroos. This portmanteau word was born from the fusion of “soccer” and “kangaroo” – respectively “football” and “kangaroo” in the English of Crocodile Dundee – under the pen of journalist Tony Horstead, in 1967.
The group of 26.
Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan, Andrew Redmayne, Danny Vukovic.
Defenders: Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Thomas Deng, Craig Goodwin, Fran Karacic, Joel King, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar.
Midfielders: Keanu Baccus, Cameron Devlin, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree, Aaron Mooy, Bailey Wright.
Forwards: Martin Boyle, Jason Cummings, Mitchell Duke, Garang Kuol, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, James Maclaren.
Better Qatar than ever. Thirty-first and penultimate country to validate its ticket, Australia is participating for the sixth time in a final phase, the fifth in a row. For now, the team has only managed to get out of their pool once, in 2006, before being eliminated in the round of 16 by the future Italian champions on a controversial penalty following a simulation by Fabio Grosso.
The selector. Graham Arnold, 59 years old. A benchmark for football… in his country. The former striker can boast of having been one of the most experienced coaches in the A-League, the Australian championship, of which he holds the highest percentages of career victories (54.9%) and meetings without defeat (81.5%).
Already on the Socceroos bench for a short freelance between 2006 and 2007, he officially took over as head of the national team at the end of Dutchman Bert van Marwijk’s interim after the 2018 World Cup. not for all that the horrors of the competition, he who officiated as assistant coach during the 2006 campaign alongside Guus Hiddink.
Summary note from the cabinet Le Monde
The strong points. After having fought hard to make the trip to Qatar, the Socceroos, undefeated for five games, approach the competition with renewed confidence. However, we can argue (rightly) that their opponents – New Zealand, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Peru – are a notch below the world’s gratin. Nevertheless, Australia has demonstrated that it can also stay the course.
The weak spots. The experience. Most of the players in the selection evolve in second-class championships or are not holders in their professional clubs. Like the goalkeeper and captain, Mathew Ryan, who certainly went through Real Sociedad, Valencia, Arsenal or Brighton, but who has only played six Superliga games with FC Copenhagen since the start of the season.
Cabinet rating (out of 5): 1.5. We are not going to lie to each other, it is better not to bet too much on the Australians. Still, they can play spoilsports. Instead, ask the French, who, before being crowned world champions in Russia four years ago, had fought to win (2-1) against the Socceroos when they entered the competition.
Keep an eye on him. When he was 11 years old, Awer Mabil had this dream: one day he will compete in the World Cup with Australia. In Qatar, the winger, now 27, realizes it. A nice revenge for the young man born in a refugee camp in northwestern Kenya to Sudanese parents who fled the civil war in their country. This is where he learns to play football, a sock filled with plastic bags as a ball. Helped by her uncle, her family was welcomed to Australia in 2006.
After taking his first steps in the Adelaide United club, at just 17 years old, Awer Mabil prepared his weapons at FC Midtjylland, with which he won the Danish league title in 2020 and tasted the Champions League. After two brief stints in Portugal and Turkey, he has been playing since the start of the season in Cadiz, Spain.
Imagine Arsene… that Australia owes its presence in Qatar to a man who officially played only one minute during the intercontinental play-off against Peru (0-0, 5 shots on goal to 4). One minute well worth it! Andrew Redmayne, the substitute goalkeeper for the Socceroos, had indeed taken the place of the holder – and team captain – Mathew Ryan to play the penalty shoot-out.
Not only did the goalkeeper take out Alex Valera’s final shot on goal, but he marked the public with his puppet gestures, gesticulating in all directions to the point of making the Peruvians lose their lucidity. When you know that said Redmayne never left the local championship and had to wait until 2017 to be an indisputable club starter… at 28! Five years and three selections later, he is now firmly established in the national team.
If you have decided to boycott… and you love animals and nature, know that Australia is one of the seventeen megadiverse countries in the world – understand that it hosts a very high biodiversity. Most of the local wild species are endemic: 87% of mammals, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs and 45% of birds! If you cannot necessarily go there, you can always discover a part of it with the series of documentaries “ Destination Wild: Australia ” from National Geographic.