Which Five Players Will Be Crucial To Socceroos At 2018 World Cup?


Australia captain Mile Jedinak was the star of the show as the Socceroos defied the odds to beat Honduras and qualify for next summer’s World Cup. His superb hat-trick put Jorge Luis Pinto’s men to the sword and ensured Australia will be playing at the World Cup for the fourth tournament in a row.

He will be crucial to their chances of success in Russia next summer, but who else can fire the Socceroos to glory?

Here are their top five stars:

Mat Ryan

The old adage goes that you are only as good as your goalkeeper, and the Socceroos have a pretty safe pair of hands between the sticks in Ryan. It did not quite work out for him at Valencia, but a summer move to Premier League new boys Brighton has done him the world of good. He has cut an imposing figure for the Seagulls and helped them keep one of the best defensive records in the league. He has great agility, distribution and handling skills and marshals his defence well.

At just 25 he already has bags of international experience and will be key to their ability to compete next summer.


Mathew Leckie

The 26-year-old forward earned a dream move to Hertha Berlin this summer and scored twice on his debut to lead his team to victory over Stuttgart. He has since taken his tally to four for the campaign and is playing with confidence at present. He has great pace and provides plenty of assists, so he will be a real asset to Ange Postecoglou in Russia.

Leckie is one of only three Australians currently plying his trade in one of Europe’s top five leagues and that big game experience will be vital.

Mile Jedinak

Jedinak has led the team with aplomb since being made captain in 2015, guiding them to victory in the Asian Cup and now leading them into the World Cup. He displayed fantastic composure to score twice from the spot and ensure his team got past Honduras in a tricky playoff. It was a captain’s performance and the players around him will take great heart from his presence in the team.

He screens the defence well, wins the ball in the middle of the park and sets the tempo with his passing. He is not usually renowned for his goal scoring exploits, but that hat-trick took his haul up to 18 in 73 internationals. That is a fine return for a midfielder and another string to Jedinak’s impressive bow.

Tim Cahill

The evergreen Cahill has come to Australia’s rescue countless times over the years, and he did so again to see them past Syria in the first playoff round. His superbly taken brace snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and set up the clash with Honduras. He is now 37, but the Socceroos’ all-time leading scorer is still their most potent weapon. He has banged in a remarkable 50 goals in 104 caps, a sensational record for an attacking midfielder.

Cahill’s speciality has always been running from deep and arriving in the box at exactly the right time to sweep in a cross or bury a towering header, so fans will hope he still has the legs to play like that for Australia at the World Cup. He has scored five times at the World Cup and will be the team’s main threat once again if he is fit.

Aaron Mooy

The 27-year-old midfielder has gone from strength to strength at Huddersfield this year, earning rave reviews for his all-action style. He inspired the Terriers to an unlikely promotion to the Premier League and David Wagner spent a club record £10 million to make his loan move from Man City permanent. Huddersfield have reaped the rewards: Mooy is tidy on the ball, passes with intelligence and precision and gets stuck in, frequently winning the ball in the middle of the park.

He was the best player on the pitch when Huddersfield beat Man United this season and he curled in a delicious winner as they beat Newcastle. He is one of three players to be nominated for the Asian Player of the Year award, along with Japan’s Shinji Kagawa and Son Heung-Min of South Korea, and he has developed into Australia’s best player this year.

Over at Oddschecker you will see that the Socceroos are huge outsiders to win the World Cup, but with Mooy alongside Jedinak in the engine room they have a chance of surprising a few people and going on a strong run.

Author bio

Martin Green is an experienced sports writer and has been covering international football for many years.

Leave a Reply