Caltex Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan admits he’s ‘excited’ by Australia’s draw for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia and believes they can be more than competitive on the world stage.
Australia will face France, Denmark and Peru at next year’s tournament after the draw was conducted on Saturday morning (AEDT) in Moscow.
And Milligan, who’s been involved in three previous FIFA World Cup tournaments, believes the Socceroos should be relatively pleased with their opponents.
“It’s very exciting. I think it’s the first we haven’t drawn a Brazil!” Milligan told www.socceroos.com.au
“We obviously have history playing against France and also Denmark a few years ago. I don’t think we’ve played Peru.
“As far as World Cup Draws go, I think it’s pretty good for us.”
Australia will be considered outsiders to progress from the group with with France (9th), Peru (11th) and Denmark (12th) all ranked higher than the Socceroos (39th).
But Milligan pointed to Australia’s Confederations Cup campaign, where they pushed Germany and drew with Cameroon and Chile, as evidence of the team’s ability to compete on the biggest stage.
“It’s exciting. We don’t get to play these teams a great deal, qualifying through Asia and South and North America if we go to a play-off, Milligan said.
“I think we’ve shown at the Confederations Cup which was quite recent, we can more than hold our own against the best in the World.
“Germany was a wonderful challenge. And of course Chile as well.
The Socceroos open the tournament against France in Kazan on June 16, before facing Denmark in Samara on June 22 and Peru in Sochi on June 27.
And Milligan believes a positive start against France will be important to Australia’s chances of progressing to the knockout stages.
“France will be a good challenge. It’s a tough way to start the tournament but if we can get a good performance and a good result, it’ll help us go deeper in the tournament,” he said.