With a long Hyundai A-League season now over, Socceroos' Mark Milligan says the excitement about tackling the best players in the world is starting to hit home.
With a long Hyundai A-League season now over, Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan says the excitement about taking on some of the best players in the world is starting to hit home.
Milligan has been an ever-present in the Socceroos fold over the last couple of years and is a certainty to be in Ange Postecoglou's squad for the tournament in Brazil in June.
Awaiting the Australians is world champion Spain, European giant Netherlands and the impressive South Americans Chile - and all possess world-class talent.
The 28-year-old Aussie is relishing facing the likes of superstars such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal.
"You watch these boys in the big leagues every weekend and it's going to be an unbelievable experience," Milligan told www.footballaustralia.com.au.
"We know it's going to be tough but we love this type of challenge.
"I think we'll surprise a few people with how we go about things as well."
Milligan will continue training with Melbourne Victory for the next couple of weeks to "keep ticking over" before stepping up preparations for his Samba sojourn.
Postecoglou will name his extended 30-man squad on May 14, with the players to take part in a 10-day camp in Terrigal before flying out for Brazil.
All things going to plan, this will be Milligan's third World Cup but the first time he goes there as a nailed-down member of the starting 11.
"It was nice to be in the whole frame of things in the lead up as well, with qualifiers and getting a lot of game time," he said.
"With the other two (World Cups), I was a late inclusion to it all and missed that side of it.
"It's been very exciting, especially the last few months since Ange (Postecoglou) has come in.
"The team we had over in London had a lot of young boys, I think it's exciting times for Australian football."
Milligan battled a persistent knee injury early in the A-League season, which saw him miss close to a month of action after some minor surgery.
But the Victory skipper says nothing will stand in his way as he prepares to take on the world in Brazil.
"After a long season there's always a few knocks but I'm feeling good," he said.
"The last couple of months, enjoyable as it has been, it's been tough with all the travel and games and things like that.
"But it will be good to keep ticking over the next few weeks, freshen up for a few days then have a big Aussie camp before we go."
The final chance to see the Socceroos on home soil before they head to Brazil 2014 will be when they take on South Africa in a farewell game on May 26 in Sydney. Tickets for the match, presented by NAB, are on sale now. Click here to secure yours today.