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Last World Cup: Group stage
Nickname: The Socceroos
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Star man: Robbie Kruse
Tournament best: Last 16 2006

The Socceroos qualified from the Asian section but some terrible friendly results, plus a failure to truly refresh an ageing squad, cost German coach Holger Osieck his job. Getting out of the group phase may be the best they can hope for.

Strengths: The Australians ruled the skies in qualifying, scoring the third highest proportion of headers and not conceding a single one in return. This was in large part down to their industriousness down the flanks, with only two sides creating a higher percentage of their goals from wide positions. They also garnered a reputation for striking late with over half of their goals being netted in the final 15 minutes of matches.

Weaknesses: In FIFA Rankings terms, Australia are the weakest side in the finals at 59th, having dropped 26 positions over the last year. Runners-up in their qualifying group, they missed out on top spot due to a poor defensive record that saw them only keep clean sheets in around a third of their matches. They were punished on the counter attack more than any other finalist

Prospects: Unfortunately for Australia their strength on the wings may be of limited use given that they're up against the three nations who conceded the smallest percentages of goals from wide positions. The size of the task facing them can be seen from a glance at the FIFA Rankings: no side's group stage opponents have a higher average FIFA Ranking.