SYDNEY- Australia's squad departed for the World Cup on Wednesday convinced their attacking style can help them cause a shock or two in one of the toughest first round groups.
The 27-man party, which will be winnowed down to the final 23 on Monday, were cheered by around a hundred fans at Sydney Airport before they embarked on their flight to Brazil. Coach Ange Postecoglou has selected an inexperienced squad with a smattering of players who will be playing in their third successive World Cup finals.
One of those is midfielder Mark Bresciano, who accepted that Socceroos success over the last decade had raised expectations in Australia even if, at 59th in the world, they will be the lowest ranked team in Brazil. "It's always a dream going to World Cup, regardless of if it's your first or third. I'm as excited as 2006," he told a news conference at the airport.
"We've got a very tough group but we're going to go there and try and do our country proud, and do ourselves proud, and try and shock the world." With world champions Spain, 2010 finalists the Netherlands and Chile in their first round group, anything other than defeat in all three matches would constitute a surprise.
Postecoglou, who took over from Holger Osieck last October and set about overhauling the squad, has promised his team will not be looking to grind out results with dogged defence, however. "If you go with that mentality of parking the bus, eventually you're going to lose the game because the game does go for 90 minutes and teams will eventually break you down," said Bresciano.
"I think if we are going to have any chance to get a result, we have to attack and try and hurt them." The 34-year-old former Empoli, Parma, Palermo and Lazio midfielder is one of Australia's injury concerns after a back problem forced him to miss Monday's 1-1 friendly draw with South Africa.
Bresciano, who has scored 13 goals in 73 internationals, said he would be back in training in three or four days time and was confident he would be fully fit to face Chile in the opening match of Australia's campaign in Cuiaba on June 13. Bookmakers are offering in excess of 750-1 for Australia to win the tournament; odds which Bresciano thought made a wager worthwhile. "Put a dollar on it," he said, with a smile.