Australia is in the World Cup for the first time as an Asian zone qualifier, but can they improve upon their best showing in 2006 when they advanced the round of 16?
They lost their best player in Robbie Kruse for the tournament with an injury and on top of that they were drawn into a very tough group that could be seen as the second Group of Death.
Australia Odds to win World Cup 2014: +150000
Australia Odds to win Group B: 2800
Australia will be playing in Group B, which is a killer one with Spain and Holland, who faced each other in the 2010 World Cup final, and a Chile squad that is playing on their home continent and was more than impressive in their qualifying run to Brazil.
The defense was solid for the Aussies in World Cup qualifying, but can they repeat that facing much better competition in group play?
World Cup Prediction for Australia
There is a reason that odds makers are giving Australia major long shot odds just to make it out of Group B. Holland and Spain both are great at ball possession, which is definitely not a strength for the Aussies.
Chile has strong wing play and they will have some home pitch advantage. While Australia has a good midfield and defense their lack of world-class talent will really hurt them in group play and they will leave Brazil without picking up a single point.
How Australia got to the World Cup
Australia finished second in their World Cup group in qualifying in Asia and overall they went 5-4-1 in the process. The toughest team that the Aussies played in qualifying was Japan, who will be playing this summer.
In the two matches facing the Japanese the score ended a 1-1 draw. Right after qualifying Australia lost 6-0 to both France and Brazil in a couple of friendlies.
World Cup 2014
World Cup Qualifying Results
15/11/11 Thailand 0 - 1 Australia
29/02/12 Australia 4 - 2 Saudi Arabia
08/06/12 Oman 0 - 0 Australia
12/06/12 Australia 1 - 1 Japan
11/09/12 Jordan 2 - 1 Australia
16/10/12 Iraq 1 - 2 Australia
26/03/13 Australia 2 - 2 Oman
04/06/13 Japan 1 - 1 Australia
11/06/13 Australia 4 - 0 Jordan
18/06/13 Australia 1 - 0 Iraq
World Cup Group Play Schedule
13/06/14 Chile vs. Australia - Arena Pantanal
18/06/14 Australia vs. Netherlands - Estadio Beira-Rio
23/06/14 Australia vs. Spain - Arena da Baixada
Team Key Players
Mile Jedinak - MF Crystal Palace - The MF is an attacking one that has to play well on both ends of the pitch.
Tim Cahill - MF New York Red Bulls - The former Everton player is the Aussies best player and his offense will be key likely having to spurn the counter-attack.
Ben Halloran - Fortuna Dussledorf FW - With Krauss out of the tournament, Holloran will be the leader of the attack if there is one this summer.