Milicic upbeat as Aussies aim to surprise world’s best in Russia

EXCLUSIVE Caltex Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic believes the extended training camp prior to World Cup 2018 will be pivotal in supercharging Australia’s chances in Russia.

Bert van Marwijk’s Australians will be in camp in Turkey from May 19 to June 7. 

They'll also play two friendlies in Europe before flying to Russia. 


After his appointment in February, Caltex Socceroos coach van Marwijk stressed the importance of quality time with the players in the lead-up to Russia. 

And Milicic is likewise convinced this will be the difference maker for an Aussie side that harbours hopes of progressing through a group that includes France, Denmark and Peru.

“It’s pivotal. It’s when everyone pulls together in the same direction,” the 43-year-old former Caltex Socceroo striker told

“That’s when we work on everything. Not just tactically but physically.Where we’ll go with our training camp, we’ve got close to a month.

“And with previous experience at the World Cup in Brazil and the Asian Cup we had in Australia, once you can get some training into the boys it means a lot.”




In a similar scenario back in 2006, Dutch coach Guus Hiddink took the Socceroos for an intense camp in Holland prior to the World Cup in Germany.

It helped the coaching staff supercharge the players' fitness and understand clearly the game plan. 

It worked beautifully. And the hope is, it’ll have a similar effect on a side that aims to surprise. 

“They [the players] all finish at different times in their seasons, so we’ll look at it individually to see who needs to be topped up and who needs to be taken back a little," added Milicic. 

“We’ll see where everyone stands physically and mentally and with their training loads and the match minutes they play."

"They are very, very focused and driven. It’s business," Milicic added when asked about van Marwijk and the coaching team. 

“It’s ‘how are we going to get out of the group?’ That’s the main focus.

“That’s what they want and that’s what the Australian public want. And we’re all committed together to that.

“They are going there [to Russia] to get out of the group, make no mistake."