‘We've proven we can do the unthinkable’: Ryan eager to build on Socceroos' momentum
Socceroos goalkeeper and captain Mat Ryan believes the Socceroos can shock the world at this year's World Cup as they look to build on the momentum gained from navigating the play-offs.
With the qualifiers over, the Socceroos will soon turn their attention to the World Cup itself, where they are drawn in Group D alongside Tunisia, Denmark and reigning champions France.
After successfully securing qualification through the play-offs with an extraordinary 5-4 penalty shootout win over Peru, Ryan’s side will enter the tournament full of pride and confidence.
Throughout the up and down qualification campaign, coach Graham Arnold had been frustrated with their lack of desire but against Peru, fear transformed into fight.
With their World Cup dream on the line, the Socceroos stood up and showed the identity and character that Arnold had been appealing for.
Not only were the Green and Gold heavy underdogs against Peru, but they also had to overcome 15,000 travelling fans in full voice.
Ryan insists the Socceroos will fear no one at the World cup after overcoming all the odds against Peru.
“Every time you put on that jersey, it's an opportunity to do something special and something in your life that you will never forget,” Ryan told reporters at Sydney airport, after arriving home.
"I think in this past week, we have proven that to ourselves and to the nation because a lot of people probably wrote us off and didn't give us a chance but hopefully the win can inspire the younger generation out there to go and chase their dreams.
“We now look forward to having everyone behind us in the build-up to Qatar because we are going there with the aim to do something similar.
"We want to shock the world and show that we can match it with the best out there. We want to keep adding to the history of football in the country and what we have already done.
“We have the momentum of consecutive World Cups so we desperately wanted to continue that. We've already been mentioning what we plan on doing at the World Cup coming up.
We want to be winning football matches at these types of tournaments. We have proven that we can do the unthinkable so whoever stands in our way, I think we've got a belief within the squad that we can go out there and cause upsets.
“That's what we want to do. That's why we are in the business, we want to win games because we are an ambitious bunch. That's the plan moving forward.”
Australian fans reacted with absolute jubilation after the Socceroos booked their place in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with the thrilling win over Peru.
Ryan is now preparing for his third World Cup campaign, having played in all of the Socceroos group games at Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018.
While he has been part of numerous campaigns, the 30-year-old believes there has been a bigger reaction to this qualification than in the previous years.
“It’s massive, you can tell already the impact that it’s had,” he said.
Everyone’s caught the bug. Everyone keeps talking about how the whole public here and media is so positive, upbeat and looking forward to it. That’s the influence we have being in the national team, the Socceroos. Success is a contagious thing.
“We look forward to hopefully getting many people over there to follow us in the stadiums to support us and sing that national anthem loud and proud.”