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Socceroos' group review

I am sure every Socceroos fan was just excited for Australia to be represented in Germany at the World Cup but now with less than a week to go to the actual tournament I am expecting the Socceroos not only to be there but to progress to the next round.
In the Socceroos' Group F, Brazil are obviously the favourites to go through to the next round possibly as group winners. Brazil has got a very strong and experienced squad and score goals from almost anywhere. I think its up to Australia, Japan and Croatia to grab the second spot and I think the Socceroos have a very good chance of doing it.
The team has changed dramatically since the Confederation Cup in 2005 with Hiddink taking over as coach. While the players have remained nearly the same since the Confederation Cup, the attitude has changed and the team is more organised and bubbling with confidence. Having said that Croatia and Japan are no pushovers.
Croatia qualified for the World Cup without losing a single game but just one draw. Having failed to qualify for the second round for both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 tournaments, they will come here with determination to progress as far as they can.
Japan on the other hand are the current Asian champions and are well organised and disciplined and very fast on the ball. The team has continued to improve under Zico and they now more players with European exposure and on their day they can beat anyone. One thing in their favour is that they play Brazil last. If Brazil has qualified by then (by winning the first two games), I don't see them risking their top players in the third game and that could give Japan an advantage. For that to be worthwhile Japan should have got points from their first two games. The flip side is that if Brazil has not qualified by then, it will then become a cup final for Brazil and you can guess who winner will be.
Therefore its important that the Socceroos get something from their first game against Japan so that they don't go into the game against Brazil pointless. The fact that Socceroos play Croatia last is good because that's a winnable game and it would be good for us fans for the team to go into that last game with qualification to the next round still a possibility.

Very interesting points made here. I totally agree with your assessment about Brazil being first, and it is up to the others to grab 2nd place. My heart says Australia to qualify, but Japan for me are the big threat. Croatia is a tempremental side, and if results go against them, will self-destruct, leaving the other two to fight it out.

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