Australia Team Fact Box

2010-05-10 14:29
Previous appearances in finals: 2

Nickname: The Socceroos

Best performance: Round of 16, 2006

Coach: Pim Verbeek. The Dutchman served with South Korea as Guus Hiddink's assistant at the 2002 World Cup and as assistant to Dick Advocaat for the 2006 World Cup.

As head coach, he led South Korea to third place at the 2007 Asian Cup before joining the Socceroos. His record since taking over has been impressive but he has nonetheless been criticised for employing a no-frills, defensive style of game.

Captain: Lucas Neill

Key players:

Tim Cahill
Age: 29
Position: Midfielder
Club: Everton
World Cup Finals appearances: 4 (2006)
Goals: 2

Australia's most exciting and consistent match-winner. Scored twice in Australia's win over Japan at the 2006 World Cup and has been scoring crucial goals for his country ever since. A key player for Everton, with strength to hold off defenders, as well as an excellent striking ability.

Lucas Neill
Age: 32
Position: Defender
Club: Galatasaray
World Cup Finals appearances: 4 (2006)
Goals: 0

Made his debut for Australia in 1996 when he was 18 and has risen to the ranks of national captain. A vastly experienced player, with almost a decade of Premiership time in England with Everton, Neill is now playing for Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Mark Schwarzer
Age: 37
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Fulham
World Cup Finals appearances: 3 (2006)
Goals: 1

Australia's most capped player with 73 international appearances. Played most of his club football with Middlesbrough but now with Fulham. Though in the twilight of his career Australia goalkeeper Schwarzer is enjoying rare form for both club and country. The Socceroos No1 for several years now, Schwarzer played a major role in his country reaching successive FIFA World Cups™ for the first time. His well-documented penalty shoot-out heroics against Uruguay were key to Australia reaching Germany 2006 and the custodian conceded just four goals in their 14 matches in qualification for South Africa 2010.

FIFA world ranking April 2010: 20

How they qualified: After spending years struggling to advance through various playoffs as Oceania champions, Australia sailed through their first qualifying series since joining the Asian Football Confederation. In their final phase of qualifying, they were undefeated and conceded just one goal from eight matches and were the second team in the world to qualify for South Africa.

Prospects: Australia made it to the last 16 in 2006 and could make it to the second round again this time. They have enough experienced players to trouble any opponents but possibly lack the depth required to advance deep into the tournament.


Australia's Tim Cahill will be a key factor if they are to have success during the 2010 World Cup. (AFP)

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