Captain Sainsbury's cheeky pre-match prediction almost comes true
Trent Sainsbury almost got his wish for the ultimate Caltex Socceroos confidence-booster.
Speaking alongside Bert van Marwijk in the media conference prior to facing the Czech Republic, the famously laid-back defender jokingly outlined his hope to win 5-0 in response to his coach's suggestion that the result of the friendly mattered little.
Sainsbury's prediction incredibly fell one goal short as van Marwijk's men eased to a well-earned 4-0 win at the NV Arena in Austria on Friday night (AEST).
The 26-year-old nevertheless had an encouraging team performance and an international captaincy debut to show for the pre-FIFA World Cup warm-up, having worn the armband with Mile Jedinak rested.
"It's a very proud moment for myself," Sainsbury told Fox Sports of the honour. "A nice result to go with it.
"I said yesterday in the interview I wanted five. We got the four. One off.
"There are a few little things we've still got to tinker with and work with.
"A couple of times the rest defence we weren't too happy with and personally, a few times coming out of the line, I probably shouldn't have done.
"Overall it was a good performance [with] a clean sheet."
Holding the world's 45th-ranked nation was aided by impressive performances from full-backs Josh Risdon and Aziz Behich.
The main intrigue, however, was in the middle of the back four, where Sainsbury joined experienced utility Mark Milligan in a potential preview of van Marwijk's preferred partnership for Russia.
"I actually don't think I've played alongside him," Sainsbury said.
"Usually he comes in when I'm injured and fills that spot.
"But he's been around the Socceroos for many years and played alongside many players so it was easy to work alongside him."
Degenek not taking his foot off the gas
Twelve months ago, Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek was playing in Japan — now, he’s tearing up Serbia’s SuperLiga, having been named in the league’s best eleven for the first half of the season. It’s a credit to Degenek, 24, who signed with Red Star Belgrade in July
Degenek named in Serbian Superliga's best XI
Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has been named in the Serbian Superliga’s best eleven players of the first half of the season after his performances for Red Star Belgrade. AUSSIES ABROAD: Sainsbury denies former club Inter in first UCL start READ MORE: Where you can w
FFA to conduct additional injury assessment with Aaron Mooy
Football Federation Australia (FFA) acknowledges Huddersfield Town’s statement regarding Aaron Mooy released on Thursday morning (AEDT). Due to the significance of the AFC Asian Cup to the Caltex Socceroos, FFA will proceed with a plan to deploy its High Performance Coordina
Aussies Abroad: Rogic and Vukovic progress to Europa League Round of 32
The Europa League Round of 32 will have an Aussie flavour after Tom Rogic and Danny Vukovic both sealed their progression to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition. Rogic played 90 minutes as Celtic did it the hard way, their 2-1 loss at the hands of FC Salzbur