Mat Ryan believes the Socceroos are now a better team than the one that played at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and insists they are still the best side in Asia.
Australia recorded thumping wins over Tajikistan (7-0) and Jordan (5-1) to cruise into the final round of qualification for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
The Socceroos are now one of 12 remaining teams vying for Asia’s four automatic World Cup spots, with the draw set to take place in Kuala Lumpur on April 12.
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Ryan hailed the progression of the national team under Ange Postecoglou and pointed to the win over Jordan as an illustration of just how far the Socceroos had come.
‘‘It wasn’t too long ago, with all due respect to past Socceroos, that we were struggling against this type of opposition,’’ Ryan told Fairfax Media's Sebastian Hassett (www.smh.com.au) after the Jordan win.
‘‘We have an enormous amount of confidence and we’re the champions of Asia. No matter who we’re playing – be it Germany, Holland or whoever – we’ve shown we can take it to teams.
‘‘We’re a better team now than at the World Cup and everyone who comes in buys into what we’re trying to do.
“The togetherness of the squad is very important, we get on like a big family. We’re enjoying the football.’’
Ryan was hardly tested against Tajikistan and Jordan but admitted he was disappointed to concede a 90th minute strike against Harry Redknapp’s side on Tuesday night.
‘‘It’s disappointing, but the most important thing is the result and performance. We showed we’re doing positive things, but we can always learn,’’ he said.
Australia next face old rivals England in a friendly at the Stadium of Light on May 27 (May 28 Australian time) before returning home for back-to-back clashes with Greece in June.