The Socceroos are about to kick off their World Cup opener against world soccer giants France, but most Australians couldn’t name a single player.
In most of the countries that have qualified for the World Cup, the players are household names and are treated like gods, with the French boasting world star Kylian Mbappe.
But it looked like a very different situation in Sydney just ahead of Australia’s opener against the reigning World Cup champions, which kicks off at 6am AEDT today.
Daily Mail Australia arrived at the CBD with a Socceroos team photo and asked passersby if they could name any of the players in the picture, without much luck.
Yet despite the pundits advising our unsung heroes to finish last in their group, coach Graham Arnold says his team can shock the world with one simple word: ‘belief’.
After all, most of those pundits doubted the Aussies would qualify first.
“It’s about believing, believing that we can do the job,” Arnold said.
Energy, bring that energy to the nation and focus on our performance’..
I believe in (team unity). You can say that our players are not playing in the best leagues in the world, and all their players are. But it is a team sport. It’s about connecting all 26 players in a familiar environment.
“They’re partners, they support each other and that’s when you can get special results.”
Members of the public in Sydney were asked if they could identify the Socceroos players.
As Australia heads to its fifth consecutive World Cup, it’s no surprise that most Australians can’t name much of the current squad. The team has no current players in the Premier League, and only a few in Europe’s top leagues.
As the Daily Mail Australia hit the streets yesterday, Scotsman Dom Lamont had a good chance, despite his own team failing to appear at the World Cup.
“First of all, Aaron Moy, he plays for Celtic,” said Sun. ‘Jason Cummings, because he’s not really Australian. I’m sure there’s also Martin Boyle.
The Socceroos are less than 24 hours away from kicking off their World Cup opener against reigning champions France, but most Australians can’t name a single player on the team.
Scotsman Dom Lamont (pictured) had a good chance, despite his nation not appearing in the tournament.
Oh, Jackson Irvine, St. Paulii [football team Irvine plays for]. And Andy Redmayne, the goalie.
John Faulkner’s response was forceful when they showed him the team photo. ‘No,’ he said.
Jesse Horan said he couldn’t name any of the ‘new’ Socceroos, but took a look anyway and just shook his head at the team photo.
John Faulkner’s (pictured) response was forceful when Daily Mail Australia showed him the Socceroos team photo. ‘Did not say
It was a similar scenario with Joe Szczepanlak, who said he was interested in the World Cup, but not too familiar with the current generation of players.
“Not this current team, the previous team, yes, but not this current team,” he said.
Soccer fan Dean Rees was wearing a Leeds United shirt, but was unable to identify a single Socceroo.
“No, I can’t choose any of them,” he admitted.
Lowen Noakes didn’t like his chances in the challenge, but he took a look anyway.
‘No, I’m sorry,’ he smiled.
Joe Szczepanlak (pictured) said he was interested in the World Cup but wasn’t too familiar with the current generation of players.
Michael Lopez chose goalkeepers Andrew Redmayne and Mat Ryan, the former being one of the most recognizable Socceroos thanks to his heroism in the penalty shootout with Peru.
“I don’t really watch Australian rules football, to be honest with you,” Lopez said. ‘I see PLA [English Premier League].’
Alex Phan recognized Aaron Mooy and Andy Redmayne.
‘That’s a tough pass!’ Darren Kowald laughed.
Rugby league fan Terry Cameron said the only player he could think of is Tim Cahill (who retired in 2019) but he’ll be watching him tomorrow morning.
Roosters legend Luke Ricketson stopped and looked at the team photo.
Roosters legend Luke Ricketson (pictured) stopped and looked at the team photo but could only identify coach Graham Arnold.
“Of course I know the Socceroos,” Ricketson said. But when asked to name a player, he fell silent. ‘Ah friend – it’s very difficult. Graham Arnold!
“I can’t,” Savalia Xu admitted. I am not familiar with sports.
Alex Phan (pictured) recognized Aaron Mooy and Andy Redmayne
Savalia Xu (pictured) said she couldn’t name a player in the photo.
While many are writing off the unknown opportunities for the Australians against France this morning, it’s safe to say that the reigning world champions haven’t had the easiest run to the tournament.
Les Bleus narrowly avoided relegation in their Nations League group earlier this year and have been plagued by a series of injuries to key men, keeping them out of Qatar.
The Socceroos look to do the impossible and beat the world champions in Qatar
XI PLANNED FOR THE BIG GAME
FRANCE FORECASTED THE XI
AUSTRALIA PREVIOUS XI
Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema will not participate in the defense of the French crown.
The Socceroos also do not come into this morning’s game in full health. Earlier this week, Arnold was dealt a blow after Martin Boyle was ruled out of the tournament and replaced by Marco Tilio.
Kye Rowles, however, has recovered from an injury sustained earlier in the club’s campaign.
Those with fond memories will remember France beating Australia en route to World Cup glory in Russia four years ago, with Antoine Griezmann and Aziz Behich scoring for Les Bleus.
They have met on two other occasions, with France winning handily in 2013 and drawing in 2001.
Wednesday morning’s match will be played at the Al Janoub Stadium, located in Al-Wakrah, 17km south of Doha.
Al Janoub Stadium was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and has a capacity for 40,000 spectators, including a retractable roof.
Click HERE for information on everything you need to know for the big game.