He might have one eye on the World Cup opener against Chile but the Socceroos' final friendly against Croatia this Friday in Salvador (Saturday, 9am AEST) has extra special significance for Matt Spiranovic.
With his family background from Croatia, the nation and its football side has always held a special place in the hearts of the Spiranovic family, who are based in Geelong, Victoria.
In fact it was the Croats’ thrilling march to the 1998 semi-finals in France where the Socceroos defender first fell in love with the World Cup as a nine-year-old.
"I remember being an insomniac during that 1998 World Cup," Spiranovic told www.socceroos.com.au.
"I was staying at my uncle's house watching every game and following Croatia, they were great memories.
"They made the semis that year and had some great players like Suker, Boban and Prosinecki
"Obviously that all changed when Australia made it and in Germany they played each other and it was a special game. Of course it's all Australia now."
Spiranovic is now hoping he can be a part of a Socceroos side that - much like Croatia did 16 years ago - can cause their own shocks in Brazil.
While he has just 17 caps to his name, at 25 Spiranovic is somewhat of a veteran when it comes to defensive options in Ange Postecoglou's squad.
It's a role that's been thrust on the Western Sydney Wanderers star following the omissions of former skipper Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski.
But guiding the likes of Ivan Franjic, Jason Davidson, Bailey Wright and Ryan McGowan is something Spiranovic is relishing.
He has been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm and quality of the young contingent in the squad and believes it gives them a realistic shot at proving the critics wrong.
"This team's young, fearless and has nothing to lose," Spiranovic said.
"There's a lot of talent in this team and I think while people may be writing us off, knowing how Ange wants us to play and his philosophy, he's not one to take a backward step and no doubt we won't die wondering.
"It's important to have that attitude and mentality.
"There is nothing to lose and it's important to go out there, do our best and enjoy it and that's generally when you play your best.
"I'm really excited by what we can achieve in Brazil."
Asked how the rookies in the side were handling being part of a World Cup squad, Spiranovic said: "They're excited, they're nervous because it’s all new.
"I remember my first camp coming in was the same, although it was maybe a bit different because it was a team packed full of overseas stars.
"But this is still a special thing to be a part of and a great opportunity for them.
"I'm excited to be a part of it with them and just looking forward to getting started."
The Socceroos play Croatia in a friendly on Friday night (kick off 9am AEST time Saturday morning live on Fox Sports) ahead of their tournament opener against Chile on June 13.
Have you signed up to receive Socceroos Insider – Daily?
Sign up now to receive our daily newsletter, delivered at 12pm AEDT each day, featuring all the best news and videos direct from camp in Vitoria Brazil.
And don't forget to get social with the Socceroos
The FIFA World Cup™ rule that could decide five groups
Four groups have teams locked on the same points, the same amount of goals scored AND identical goal difference as the race for the Round of 16 goes down to the wire. Group B, Group F, Group G and Group H all have two teams neck-and-neck to reach the Round of 16, with little-k
The key men in an all-out Peru attack
The equation is simple for the Socceroos – nothing but a win will do, and hope France get the job done against Denmark. In the way is Peru, a side without a goal or a point at their first FIFA World Cup™ since 1982 but not for a lack of trying. If they’re to win their first
Day 36 Wrap: Socceroos land in Sochi to face Peru
The Socceroos have arrived in Sochi, travelling from their Kazan base camp ahead of Wednesday morning’s clash with Peru. The final Group C match of the FIFA World Cup™ will kick-off at 12am AEST Wednesday 27 March – live on SBS and Optus Sport – and just one training session r
Ultimate Guide: The man credited with Peru's 36-year fairy tale
There are thousands of Peruvians following their national team in Russia, some of whom have reportedly been ‘selling their houses’ to be able to get to the FIFA World Cup™. They’re a fanatical football nation who will be formidable opponents in Sochi. Here's your Ultimate G