Caltex Socceroos fans may not quite be doing handstands and yelling "spasiba" (that's Russian for thanks), but as they wake to the news of today's draw in Moscow for the 2018 World Cup, it finally gives hope of progression.
All groups at every World Cup are difficult.
But Group C at Russia 2018 with France, Peru and Denmark with the Aussies is do-able. In fact, the rankings suggest this will be quite an even group.
The French are the obvious big gun in the group, and at a World Cup in Europe, this young, dynamic side that went so close at the last Euros will genuinely believe they could win a World Cup - their first in 20 years since the famous 1998 victory on French soil.
Paul Pogba of Manchester United versus Aaron Mooy in midfield. An EPL showdown to watch.
Then there's highly rated Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint Germain) and Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) against Trent Sainsbury, Mat Ryan and Co.
This will be something special for Aussie fans and a great test of how far our national team has come since that ugly 6-0 loss in Paris in 2013.
Peru will provide a similar type of test with their attacking ethos.
Let's hope our Kiwi friends pass on their analysis of the Peruvians - not that we'd need it but it'd still help - after the All Whites met the South Americans in the intercontinental playoff last month (losing 2-0 in the second leg in Lima).
Denmark, like the Socceroos, will fancy their chances of progressing with the French. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) is in good form in the EPL, and watch out for Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen).
Difficult, yes. But this group is very much do-able as we search for a second group stage qualification at a FIFA World Cup.
And courtesy of the Opta World Cup predictor, here are some more insights into what is looming as an intriguing World Cup in Russia next year.
- Taking into account FIFA Rankings, Group C (France, Australia, Peru & Denmark) should be the most ‘competitive’ with an average world ranking of 17.8.
- From Group A through to Group F, the Opta World Cup Predictor expects Uruguay, Spain, France, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Belgium and Colombia to top their respective groups.
Based on the Opta World Cup Predictor, Brazil have the best potential chance of winning the tournament (14.2%).
In contrast, Morocco have the lowest potential chance of winning the World Cup, with a 41.7% chance of finishing fourth in their group.
Of teams to have never lifted the trophy, Belgium have the highest chance of winning the World Cup according to the Opta World Cup Predictor (3.8%).
For ticket information, head to FIFA's website - www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/index
Aussies Abroad: Nabbout, Urawa Red Diamonds win Emperors Cup final
Andrew Nabbout emerged an Emperors Cup Final winner with Urawa Red Diamonds after the J-League outfit defeated Vegalta Sendai 1-0 yesterday evening. Nabbout was an unused substitute as the Reds clinched the trophy thanks to an early strike from Tomoya Ugajin. It is Urawa’s
'Amazing reward': Cahill to feature in FIFA World Football Museum
A pair of Tim Cahill’s boots will join items like the FIFA World Cup trophy, match balls from some of football’s biggest occasions and rare match-worn shirts in FIFA’s World Football Museum in Switzerland. The Caltex Socceroos legend revealed on Instagram on Sunday morning (AE
Boyle given 'all clear' following 'nasty collision'
Caltex Socceroos attacker Martin Boyle has been given the “all clear” following a head knock in Hibernian’s Scottish Premiership win at Hamilton Academical on Sunday morning (AEDT). Boyle needed lengthy treatment before half time after clashing with Hamilton’s Gary Woods and s
Aussies Abroad: Rogic helps Celtic to big win, Mooy suffers late loss
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Tom Rogic provided an assist as Celtic thumped Kilmarnock 5-1 to leapfrog their opponents and move to the top of the Scottish Premiership table. But Huddersfield Town suffered a heartbreaking defeat, with Arsenal needing a late moment of magic to do