Socceroos' three most-important players in Brazil

Ahead of the Socceroos squad announcement, we look at three key players vital to the Socceroos chances at the FIFA World Cup.


Mile Jedinak

Has enjoyed a superb season in the English Premier League, skippering Crystal Palace to safety and is looking more and more likely to head to Brazil as the Socceroos captain.

His untimely groin injury which he picked up on the final day of the Premier League season with Crystal Palace is a concern but he is confident he'll be fit in time for the World Cup. 

His role as one of two defensive midfielders – most likely alongside Mark Milligan – is going to be crucial to protect what is likely to be a new-look Socceroos back four.

It's a similar situation he has fulfilled with aplomb for Palace, which should ensure he is ready to do the business against Spain, the Netherlands and Chile.

Palace were considered certainties to be relegated at the start of the season but easily avoided the drop, with Jedinak a major contributor.

He made 134 interceptions, 129 clearances, 16 blocks and won 99 tackles out of 128 to be one of the EPL's leading midfielders.

His stellar campaign against some of the best players in the world and in a huge league like the EPL means Jedinak is battle-hardened and that experience will be paramount against the world’s best will be needed in Brazil.

Tim Cahill

Who else?

Even at 34, Cahill looms as a key weapon if the Socceroos are to cause some major shockwaves in Brazil.

Cahill is likely to be deployed as a lone striker by coach Ange Postecoglou and will be a vital component in the coach's tactics.

He will have a great responsibility not only to put pressure on the central defenders with his aerial ability but will also need to maintain possession when the Socceroos go forward to allow the defence and midfield some respite.

Time and again Cahill has delivered on the big stage for the Socceroos, going back to that game against Japan at the 2006 World Cup where his two goals off the bench turned the game and helped Australia to a 3-1 win.

And the New York Red Bulls star has continued to produce for the national team ever since.

His brace in the most recent friendly against Ecuador made him Australia's greatest-ever goal-scorer with 31 from just 67 caps.

The Aussie also scored with a trademark header in his final MLS game for New York Red Bulls in their epic 5-4 loss to Chicago Fire on the weekend before heading into Socceroos camp this week.

Cahill's ability to get on the end of set pieces as well as crosses from the Socceroos' wingers and fullbacks is a real threat and is likely to produce Australia's best hope on scoring against their formidable group opponents.

Mat Ryan

He might be one of Australia's youngest players going to Brazil but Ryan will have one of – if not – the most important jobs of any Socceroos players.

As the likely first-choice goal-keeper, Ryan will have the difficult task of keeping some of the most feared attacking players in the world at bay.

Of course he will need strong support from those in front of him but the 22-year-old will need to do everything right if the Socceroos are to spring an upset.

Ryan is a superb shot stopper but will also need to be at his best when it comes to dealing with crosses and through-balls, acting as a sweeper behind the back four.

He certainly heads to the tournament full of confidence after a strong debut season in Europe.

The former Central Coast gloveman has kept 13 clean sheets in 37 appearances for his Belgian side Club Brugge, who possess one of the stingiest defences in the Jupiler Pro League.

Ryan's performances have reportedly attracted the interest of none other than Spanish giants Real Madrid according to Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold. 

Could a strong World Cup seal a move to La Liga for the former Mariner? 

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.