Former Socceroo ‘very optimistic’ for World Cup

November 25, 2022 BY

Ready for anything: The Socceroos’ underdog status may play into their favour this World Cup. Photo: DAN PELED/ AP

FORMER Socceroo Scott McDonald is “optimistic” about what Australia can achieve at the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

While Graham Arnold’s side just scraped through to qualify for the tournament, McDonald said the Socceroos will enjoy their underdog status.

Despite being in a tough group alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia, McDonald believes the Socceroos will play with no external pressure and have a crack at their more fancied opponents.

“When we get to this stage I get very optimistic,” McDonald said on SEN Breakfast.

“I think the players do as well because we’re Australian, we believe, and we like being the underdog and we like having a crack.

“For me right now, I think it all really rests on no pressure.”

Australia’s first game in Qatar came against reigning champions France, but McDonald thinks getting Les Bleus first-up may not be such a bad thing.

“Look at the first game, it’s France, it’s a really big ask, they’re champions of the world,” McDonald said.

“They won the last World Cup, but when we played them last time in 2018 it was a 2-1 victory, it was narrow, and they did frustrate France who didn’t perform very well on the day.

“Getting them the very first game is the best opportunity the Socceroos are going to have.”

McDonald believes Australia’s best chance of causing an upset is scoring from set pieces given their array of dead-ball specialists and tall timber to target.

“I think they’re going to really have to emphasise set-pieces as well the Socceroos,” McDonald said.

“Having that prowess with the likes of Jackson Irvine in there and Harry Souttar does play up that end as well if they can capitalise on something like that.

“The possibility of either causing an upset or certainly getting a result out of them would really set them up well for that second game against Tunisia.

“To go all out and try to get three points in that, you never know.”