As Ange Postecoglou prepares to name his preliminary squad for next month’s World Cup, the former Socceroos captain Paul Wade has delivered some heartening news for Australia’s opponents in Brazil.
"We are going to get absolutely smashed," Wade said on Tuesday. “It's a massive step up for them, it really is,” he added of a squad that is likely to include players with limited international experience, such as Adam Taggart, Osama Malik, Luke Brattan and James Troisi.
The Socceroos face Spain, Holland and Chile in arguably the hardest group at the World Cup, and Wade says Australia’s team spirit will help them. Up to a point.
"As a footballer, we talk about the green and gold,” said Wade. “As a footballer, you have pride in yourself and your performance and helping your mates out. That all comes into play. But right now, without doubt, we're going to get hammered."
Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Mark Bresciano, Matt McKay and Eugene Galekovic are likely to be the oldest members of the squad with most pundits tipping Postecoglou to go with players who will feature in the 2018 World Cup campaign.
Wade, however, sees the lack of expectation as an advantage for Postecoglou. "There's no pressure on him because we're not expected to get out of the group," he said. "A lot of people are saying we won't even score a goal or get a point."