Australia coach Ange Postecoglou’s high-risk 3-2-4-1 formation has been picked apart by Brazil and Germany in recent matches but defender Milos Degenek believes it can wield “magic” in their Confederations Cup clash against Cameroon.
Australia were trounced 4-0 by a Neymar-less Brazil in a Melbourne friendly earlier this month and lost 3-2 to a second-string Germany in their Confederations Cup opener on Monday.
The scoreline against Germany flattered the Socceroos, whose back three of Trent Sainsbury, Degenek and Bailey Wright were under siege against Joachim Loew’s young side.
Postecoglou has stuck with the attacking formation since using it in a World Cup qualifier against Iraq in Tehran in March, though local media pundits have questioned whether Australia have the players to pull it off successfully.
After drawing 1-1 with the Iraqis, Australia scored home wins over United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to boost their chances of earning an automatic berth at next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Degenek, who was at the coalface against Brazil and Germany, is a fan of the formation and believes the Socceroos can reap rewards with it.
“The first game in Tehran was a bit difficult because it was new to us,” said the Japan-based 23-year-old.
“Nowadays, personally for me and for some of the players, it’s a lot easier to play now, we understand each other’s roles. “I think we’re understanding each other a lot better and the team understands the system.
“This system, I’m 100 percent behind it because I think it’s an offensive system. I think most of the boys in the midfield will get a good roll, start creating football, start creating the magic.”
Something of a rabble in the first half against Germany, Australia were better organised after the break and drew encouragement from pushing the world number three team.
Cameroon, who lost their opener 2-0 to Chile, will be Australia’s best chance of taking points in Group B and keeping their tournament alive.
The Hugo Broos-coached Africans are an unknown quantity to the Socceroos and the teams will be meeting in their first international on Thursday.
“I watched the first game against Chile, they were sitting back and playing on the counter-attack and very, very direct and quick,” Degenek said.
“I expect them to be very physical, and attack minded. It’s a must-win for both of us. But I’m expecting a game that’s going to mean a lot of transition, a lot of fast football, a lot of breaks.”