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.
Have you signed up to receive Socceroos Insider – Daily?
Sign up now to receive our daily newsletter, delivered at 12pm AEDT each day, featuring all the best news and videos direct from camp in Vitoria Brazil.
And don't forget to get social with the Socceroos
Nabbout's 'dream' debut draws closer
Andrew Nabbout is on the verge of fulfilling a football dream he's held his whole life. The pacy front-man's sensational season with the Newcastle Jets has resulted in not only a Caltex Socceroos call-up, but also a move to Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds. It's been a re
Leckie pleased with 'modern' Van Marwijk's Caltex Socceroos plans
Key winger Mathew Leckie has embraced the encouraging early evidence of new coach Bert van Marwijk's plans for the Caltex Socceroos. In his first camp in charge, Van Marwijk has laid the foundations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup campaign by urging the use of quick, crisp pas
Rukavytsya ready to relive 'unbelievable' World Cup experience
Caltex Socceroos striker Nikita Rukavytsya is hoping history repeats itself as he zeroes in on an unexpected FIFA World Cup berth. The 30-year-old flyer was a surprise recall for last year's do-or-die play-offs against Syria and Honduras having spent the previous four years in
Opponent Watch: Celtic starlet set to lock horns with Rogic
Tom Rogic's superb form could hit a grinding halt in Oslo if a Celtic team-mate has his way in the international friendly between the Caltex Socceroos and Norway. Elsewhere, Colombia are set to have some additional motivation for next week's match in London while a FIFA World