One Year On | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: The Build Up

Just 12 months ago the Subway Socceroos were preparing for their sixth ever trip to the FIFA World Cup. Externally not much was expected from the new look Australian squad. It was a different story within camp.

In the first of a series looking back at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, hear from the players who ere there as they look back oat statically our most successful Men's World Cup ever.

The Socceroos ‘believed they could do something special’ at Qatar World Cup

The build up

Many thought a group of Tunisia, Denmark and reigning champions France would be too much for Australia.

Of course, it wasn’t, we know that now, but there was a lot that went on in the build up to help the squad to go on to achieve what they did.

For some players this was an all new experience, for some of the senior players it was completely different to what they were used to, but the consensus from the playing group was everything was amazing off the pitch.

Tim Cahill tour of Aspetar facility


From comfortable and welcoming digs at the Aspire Academy to team games and coffee, the players had the ideal conditions to perform on the pitch.

But before all that, Graham Arnold had the difficult task to select the squad. For those that got the call, it was very much a jubilant moment.

Devlin, Cummings & Goodwin REACT to FIFA World Cup call-ups


Cameron Devlin said: “When he (Graham Arnold) broke the news, I don't like to cry much but I think that if there's ever a reason that's probably one, achieving a childhood dream, something that any kid growing up not only just representing your country but at a World Cup is the biggest thing you can do as a footballer.”

He added: “When Arnie told me that it was just so many emotions and just so grateful as well for the opportunity to just be there with such a good group of boys and yeah, it was just such a special moment.”

And for Harry Souttar it was a race against time to get fit. He said: “I've got to put a lot of faith and thanks to the boss and the coaching staff, because I know it was a difficult decision to select me obviously only playing one game in a year.”

So, the 23-man squad selected, the camp is set up and the players are ready - the Socceroos are headed for Qatar.

Of course, Jackson Irvine did all his teammates a favour by stealing all the limelight…

“When we arrived, I had a little viral moment because of a Retro Football top,” Irvine said. For those that don’t know, Irvine arrived in camp in a vintage Mark Viduka Celtic top. Very stylish.

“Everyone knows I’m a lover of football fashion and it was pretty cool to get to share that in that way,” he added.

But in all seriousness, Irvine, who was in the squad for his second World Cup, said Qatar was a completely different experience.

“It was a very different start to the World Cup experience compared to four years earlier,” he said.

“For Russia, we'd been in a camp together for weeks before, there was a selection process, we had a training camp in Turkey a couple of friendlies and then we had our suits, and we flew in. 

“This was obviously very different; it was like coming into a normal camp. We all came in after the weekend club games and then all of a sudden, World Cup.”

Socceroos touch down in Doha!


Thomas Deng was selected for his first World Cup and for him it was like a home away from home in the camp.

“There was a lot of banners and old photos of former Socceroos players, which was good memorabilia, for us and it just helped us to prepare and get ready for the games,” he said.

“Everyone had their own rooms and walking into the facility, it felt like home.”

He did also make sure to mention the players had a full café set up for them. Clearly a top priority.

“Luckily we had the cafe set up which was really good,” he said.

“There was a nice social room where you could communicate and talk to different people.”

Meet the Socceroos' homebase barista ☕️


Craig Goodwin was also in a World Cup squad for the first time and for the left winger, the heightened atmosphere was something that stood out.

“Everything is so important, everything has so much detail, just the media and publicity surrounding it is just on a massive scale compared to anything else that I've experienced,” he said.

“When the training comes, it's very serious and focusing on what you need to do and everyone there wants to play so finding out the day of the game that'd be starting was you know very joyous moment for me.”

He also highlighted the spirit within the squad and the drive the team had to go out on the world stage and prove themselves.

“The special thing with this group was the messaging from the very start was that we don't want to be a just another participant in this World Cup, we really want to strive and to do something special.”

Cahill's playoff camp pump up speech


In terms of summing up the mood of the camp in the days leading up to the opening match, fan favourite Jason Cummings described it perfectly.

“You could feel the buzz around the camp and about the boys,” ‘Cumdog’ said.

“Training was good, we had fun you know, playing table tennis and stuff like that and you know, just spending time with each other and when it came to the game, we were all ‘gee’d’ up we're all ready to go.

“We all believed that we could do something to create history and we ended up doing brilliant.”

Next: The Socceroos take on World Champions France.