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.
Analysis: the Caltex Socceroos’ World Cup road ahead
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.
Aussies Abroad: Milligan triumphs in battle of the Aussies, Jeggo suffers defeat in Austria
There were two Caltex Socceroos in action across Europe on Saturday morning (AEDT) as Mark Milligan and Jimmy Jeggo stepped out for Hibernian and Austria Vienna respectively.... Milligan played the full 90 in Scotland as Hibs overcame Dundee in a 4-2 thriller at Dens Park. AUS
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic injured as Genk exit Europa League
It wasn’t a happy night in the UEFA Europa League for Danny Vukovic as he was stretched off in Genk’s 4-1 loss to Slavia Prague on Friday morning (AEDT). AUSSIES ABROAD: Vukovic features in top-two battle NEW DEAL: In-form Vukovic rewarded with contract extension Still sco
When to watch your Caltex Socceroos this weekend
There's plenty for Caltex Socceroos fans to sink their teeth into this weekend with our homegrown heroes gearing up for some massive matches. Mathew Leckie attempts to slay a giant in Germany, two Aussies set aside national team loyalties in Denmark and Aaron Mooy goes on the
In-form Vukovic earns Genk contract extension
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been rewarded for his excellent form with a two-season contract extension at Belgian club KRC Genk. The 33-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but the Pro League leaders have taken up their option to extend