Soc­ceroos be­gin plan to make Cup ‘spe­cial’

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - CARLY ADNO

WATCH out, we’re ready to do some­thing spe­cial.

That’s the mes­sage from Soc­ceroos stars Tim Cahill and Maty Ryan as they eye an open­ing match-up against tour­na­ment favourites France at Rus­sia 2018.

Aus­tralia rounded out Group C at the World Cup Draw, held at the State Krem­lin Palace in Moscow, join­ing France, Den­mark and Peru.

Though tricky, it’s one of the more favourable groups the Soc­ceroos have found them­selves in and Cahill hopes they can do “some­thing spe­cial” next year.

Cahill, who turns 38 this month, is pre­par­ing to make it to his fourth World Cup where he is one goal away from join­ing Pele and Ger­man greats Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose as the only play­ers to score in four World Cups.

“(I’m) ex­cited that the draw is com­plete and now we can learn more about our com­pe­ti­tion,” Cahill said.

“The stand­out for me is France – their qual­ity is ex­cep­tional. It’s a group that will be dif­fi­cult, but at the same time we have a lot to look for­ward to and we’ll pre­pare to hope­fully do some­thing spe­cial in this next World Cup.”

The Soc­ceroos play their open­ing match against France on June 16 in Kazan, be­fore meet­ing Den­mark on June 21 in Sa­mara, fol­lowed by Peru on June 26 in Sochi.

Ryan said that they could cause a few sur­prises.

“Very ex­cit­ing now that we know the draw,” he said. “We get to play against one of the favourites of the tour­na­ment in the open­ing match and then two other teams who qual­i­fied through the knock­out stages of qual­i­fy­ing and not di­rectly from the group.

“As a group it’s been drilled into us not to fear any op­po­si­tion we come against, so if we con­tinue im­prov­ing all the way up un­til the start of the tour­na­ment and if we play to the lev­els we know we can then we fancy our­selves against any­one.”

The draw took place at the his­toric Krem­lin State Palace, with guests and foot­ball roy­alty first hav­ing to make their way through Red Square in the snow.

Af­ter the red car­pet ar­rivals, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin made the open­ing ad­dress be­fore for­mal pro­ceed­ings got un­der way.

For­mer Eng­land player Gary Lineker hosted the draw, and he was as­sisted by for­mer World Cup win­ners and Diego For­lan, rep­re­sent­ing the Uruguayan cham­pi­ons of 1930 and 1950.

An­tic­i­pa­tion built in the hall as the au­di­ence waited for the “Group of Death”, but that never re­ally even­tu­ated. Most of the big guns, aside from Spain and Por­tu­gal in Group B, man­aged to avoid each other.

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