On the eve of the Socceroos’ friendly with Croatia on Friday, Socceroo Tim Cahill has compared the Socceroos’ preparations for this World Cup to the successful campaign in Germany eight years ago.
Speaking to reporters after Wednesday morning’s training session in Vitoria - the Socceroos’ last before flying to Salvador on Thursday to meet the Croatians in a pre-World Cup friendly - Cahill said the intense training and preparation under coach Ange Postecoglou has been a revelation.
And he drew parallels between this squad's preparation and the one under the Dutch master in 2006 when the Socceroos stunned the football world to reach the knockout stages of the Cup.
“When you have a coach that believes in you, you find different gears. Our preparation hasn't been too different from when we had Guus [Hiddink],” Cahill said.
“We are all about making an impact and playing attractive football. Ange has made a massive impression on the whole team.
“One of the proudest moments of my career was when we played Croatia in 2006. No one expected us to get that far and we proved people wrong.
“We just need to believe in what we do tactically and we will do our country proud.”
In the squad’s first session since the culling of four players (Josh Kennedy, Luke Wilkshire, Tom Rogic and Mark Birighitti) for a final 23-man squad, it was mixed on the injury front.
In good news, attacking right back Ivan Franjic was said to be moving well in the session.
Franjic picked up a knock to his knee in the team’s farewell match in Sydney against South Africa on May 26.
However key midfielder Mark Bresciano trained separately from the main group.
Cahill was quick to talk up the returning players in the side and played down injury concerns.
"You've got to adapt to these situations. 'Bresh' is moving heaven and earth to get fit and there's still time. Loads of time.
“You need your leaders on the field, it was good to have Jedinak out there today. I don't think Chile will want to run into him,” he said.
“Our defence is ready, they are confident and physical. It is good to have ‘Spira’ [Matt Spiranovic] back.
“There’s no fear among these boys. There’s nervous energy in the camp... I really want to make an impact.”
The Socceroos now look to Croatia this Friday (Sat, 9am AEST) in Salvador in their final hit-out on Brazilian soil before the World Cup kicks off for them on June 13 against Chile.
“We’ve got a massive test against Croatia coming up. The best thing I can see is the determination and the intent to train well."
The locals again expressed their fondness for the Socceroos, with a local club presenting Cahill with their team jersey.
And earlier in the week around 3000 locals were on hand to watch the team train.
Cahill added: “It’s a nice family atmosphere on and off the park here."
The Socceroos play Croatia in a friendly on Friday night (kick off 9am AEST time Saturday morning live on Fox Sports) ahead of their tournament opener against Chile on June 13.
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