National soccer team coaches, including Australia's Ange Postecoglou (second from right) at the Confederations Cup draw in Kazan, Russia.
National soccer team coaches, including Australia's Ange Postecoglou (second from right) at the Confederations Cup draw in Kazan, Russia. Christian Charisius

Confederations Cup the ideal challenge for Socceroos

SINCE replacing Holger Osieck in October 2013, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has always said he wanted to test his team against the best in the world - now he can do that, quite literally.

Australia has been drawn against world champion Germany and old foe Chile, as well as the winner of the African Cup of Nations, to be decided in January next year, when it takes part in next year's Confederations Cup in Russia.

It will be a daunting task but the Socceroos will have to play against similar teams if they make it to the World Cup a year later.

The draw took place in Russia yesterday morning and Postecoglou was in Kazan to watch it unfold.

Australia has qualified for the Confederations Cup on three previous occasions but this is the first time it has qualified as champions of the Asian Football Confederation.

The Socceroos proved in January 2015 when they won the Asian Cup they can mix it with the best in this confederation, but this is a big step up.

Chile showed at the 2014 World Cup with a 3-1 win just how good it can be, while Germany went all the way to the world title in that year, defeating hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals.

And whichever country wins the African Cup of Nations, they will provide a stern test.

As always, Postecoglou was upbeat after the draw in Russia, saying the tournament would be a great benchmark to see just where his team is placed.

"We've played Chile before (at the 2014 World Cup) and Germany quite recently (in a friendly, drawing 2-2), and the African nation it'll be a cracking game, so I think it's going to be a good group and one we're looking forward to,” he said.

"It's (the Confederations Cup) enormously beneficial as we get our chance to measure ourselves against the best in the world. And that's what we want.

"The more we expose ourselves to that level, the more progress we can make. And with this group, it certainly gives us a chance to measure ourselves against the best.

"And we've been progressing as a team since we won the Asian Cup (in 2015) and played at the last World Cup.”

At the World Cup in Brazil, the Socceroos did give sides such as Chile and the Netherlands a scare before being outplayed by Spain.

Postecoglou will be hoping that come June next year in Russia, his team will be able to do more than that against some of the best nations in the world.


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