Australia made hard work of it but ultimately qualified for their fourth successive FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer. The Socceroos have ensured themselves as a World Cup 2018 participant after coming through two final play-off rounds against Syria and then Honduras.
They boast a squad that contains a lot of players British fans will know, with Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy, Celtic’s Tom Rogic and Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak just three of the names that will be recognisable. As well as that Tim Cahill still made himself an important member of the squad in qualifying and will hope to end his career on the biggest stage of them all.
Here at Open Odds we will give you the lowdown on Australia betting odds, how the World Cup 2018 Australian team should do and reveal all the information you need to know ahead of the major tournament.
Top 3 World Cup Bookies
Australia prediction: How well will they do?
Firstly, you have to say that Australia haven’t been handed the easiest group although that was to be expected after they were placed in the fourth pot for seeds. They will come up against one of the favourites in France, another UEFA team in Denmark and the South American side, Peru, who qualified through the CONMEBOL play-off section. Given that, it’s hard to make a serious case for Australia who just don’t have the talent to compete with those sides on paper. That’s not to say they will embarrass themselves and there are some reasons for Aussies to be confident.
In midfield they have a lot of talent, with a lot of technically gifted players. Mooy and Rogic are two very classy operators who are capable of setting the tempo and creating chances for Australia, whilst Matthew Leckie is a very exciting, energetic wide man.
Yet, the real issues come in the two key areas of the field. Firstly, up front they were still relying on a 38-year old Tim Cahill to score crucial goals to ensure they qualified for this tournament. The former Everton man has had an outstanding career but he couldn’t score, or make the team, for Millwall in the Championship since arriving in January.
Scoring goals will be a massive problem for the Aussies even if their play may be pleasing on the eye. At the other end, Trent Sainsbury, Bailey Wright and Nathan Jurman are all committed, strong defenders but they could get found out coming up against the elite of France, a Christian Eriksen inspired Denmark and the pace and unpredictability of Peru. With that in mind, we would recommend punters avoid Australia and the best possible bet would be to have a flutter on them finishing bottom of Group C, which is 10/11 with Sky Bet.
Journey to the World Cup — Who did Australia beat to qualify?
As mentioned, Australia have regularly qualified for recent World Cups and that is because they’ve moved to AFC qualifying which has meant they gained automatic qualification to the tournaments instead of having to face a South American heavyweight in a play-off. Yet, they made hard work of it this time, only finishing third in their group, behind Japan and Saudi Arabia which meant they had to go through the play-offs.
They came through though, beating Syria unconvincingly in extra-time and then Honduras to confirm their place in Russia. Such struggles should serve as a reminder to Australia and their fans as to where they really are ahead of this World Cup and it will be quite worrying.
Best players for Australia: Who should you be betting on?
It’s tough to judge Australia as they will go into the tournament under new management with Bert van Marwijk in charge after Ange Postecoglou resigned after guiding the side to the World Cup. However, as a Dutch coach we can expect Van Marwijk to continue in the same style as Postecoglou, which will encourage attacking, passing football. It would make sense too, as this is an Australian squad that has a lot of technical players and can play a high-energy game. Yet, that style may not equate to goals purely because of the lack of quality in the final third.
We’ve touched on the key men in this team, Rogic and Mooy, and they will be responsible for making the Aussies tick in midfield and you wouldn’t be surprised if either chipped in with the occasional goal, particularly Rogic who has scored a selection of screamers for Celtic over the years. He is 8/1 to be top Australian scorer at the World Cup with Bet Victor and that is a tempting price.
The two favourites in that market, Cahill and Tomi Juric are favourites because of their position but it really is hard to see those pair scoring goals against such opposition. Another candidate in that market is Jedinak who scores a lot of goals for his country. That’s primarily because he is the penalty-taker and also will take a few free-kicks. That, added to his ability in the air of set-pieces means that he is another decent option for top Australian goalscorer at 6/1.
Who manages Australia?
It had been chaos for Australia leading into the World Cup with Postecoglou deciding to leave before the tournament. Whilst he obviously had faults, he had created a clear identity and style within the group that had been successful on the whole in his tenure.
He has been replaced by van Marwijk who is only in charge for the tournament, with Graham Arnold replacing him after the tournament. You can’t imagine that is ideal preparation at all, but that’s how it is for the Australians. The Dutch coach has a wealth of experience and is tactically astute so they should be well organised and ready to play but it is a massive ask for the manager to take them out of the group stage.
Why bet on Australia?
Overall, this World Cup team 2018 Australia are going to find it very tough in Russia. They went out in the group stage from another extremely difficult group in Brazil four years ago without a point, although they did entertain and you could see a similar scenario happening in Russia.
A lack of quality in the key areas of the pitch is going to be their undoing against dangerous opposition but they should make it competitive. Ultimately though, Australia’s World Cup journey won’t last long and a fourth placed finish in the group is the best bet. Australia to finish last in Group C – 10/11.
Top 3 World Cup Bookies