Australia secured undoubtedly their best result to date when taking out the Asian Cup on home soil in January, and are offered a great chance of progressing past the second stage of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying after being drawn alongside four relatively unheralded nations.
Known for fighting well above their weight in the footballing world, the Socceroos failed to progress past the ‘Pool of Death’ at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and were deemed a failure despite pushing some of the world’s best teams to the limit.
Responding in the best way possible when lifting a maiden Asian Cup less-than six months later, Australia are clear favourites to top Group B ahead of Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.
Manager Ange Postecoglou’s position was touted by many as in serious danger leading into the Asian Cup; however the Melbourne-based coach once again proved his worth when his gamble to blood a young team against the world’s best in Brazil paid dividends.
Understandably thrilled with the result posted by his team in January, Postecoglou told The West Australian his intentions for the 2018 FIFA World Cup remain the same; cause as much damage as possible.
“I’ve already been quoted as saying I want to do some damage at the next World Cup,” Postecoglou said.
“I want to win a World Cup – it’s as simple as that.
“I say it and I get the feeling this country will cringe a little, think that maybe I’m a little bit crazy. But until we say it, we’re never going to do it.
“It may not be in this three-year cycle. Most people will say it won’t be. But it’s so important to start that process and I’m happy to be the first cab off the rank to say that I want to go to the World Cup and try and win it.
“This sport is the last bastion for our country to conquer. We’ve done it every other sport – we’re world champions at tennis, golf, rugby, rugby league, cricket, Olympic Games, America’s Cup.
“This is the last one. I may not be the one who does it but I’m going to start the process.”
Perth’s NIB Stadium has been confirmed to host Australia’s first home game of Group B with Bangladesh in September, while Adelaide, Wollongong, Newcastle and Canberra are all being considered as venues for the remaining three fixtures.
Australia is currently rated a $1.87 chance of scoring more than 19.5 goals during their campaign in stage two of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.