TV pundit Alan Hansen famously, and incorrectly, remarked of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Class of 92 that you win nothing with kids. Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad will be hoping that Hansen can be disproved once more. Outside teams like Australia generally rely on experienced players to compensate for their lack of, well, experience, at the big stage.
Step forward all-time high scorer for the Socceroos, 34-year old Tim Cahill.
The former Everton player was one of the stars of the ‘golden years’ squad from the 2006 edition (speaking relatively, of course; that year saw Australia register its best ever performance at the Cup, when they got past the group stage and were promptly knocked out by eventual champions Italy), which had an average age of 30-plus. Now, coach Postecoglou has gone the other way, selecting one of the youngest squads of the tournament, with an average age of 23. He also brings to Brazil the least experienced squad, with an average of 17 caps per player.In fact, nobody but Cahill (32 career strikes) has scored more than four goals for the national side.
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If indeed Postecoglou can pull off the miracle, he will reward the interpid punter with a huge pay out.
At 62, Australia are the lowest ranked side in the tournament, and correspondingly, have the longest odds to win the tournament — 1000:1. But for them to even match their best World Cup show, they have to do it at the expense of one or both of last edition’s finalists.