Home Sports How Australia’s players fared at the World Cup

How Australia’s players fared at the World Cup


Mat Ryan – 7

Superb against France, strong against Denmark but mostly helpess against Peru, Ryan was one of the Socceroos’ best in Russia. He kept Australia in the opening match with Les Bleus with his shot-stopping, while his calmness and sweeping at the back in his second World Cup was top notch.

Mark Milligan – 7

Thrown in at the back, nominal midfielder Milligan was a revelation in defence. He formed a strong partnership with Trent Sainsbury and marshalled the backline. Milligan’s future in the national team could be purely at centre-back in his advancing years, such was his display in Russia.

Trent Sainsbury – 7

Impressive against France, it was arguably Sainsbury’s slack marking that allowed Christian Eriksen to score in the second match. It was also the 26-year-old’s error that allowed Paolo Guerrero to set up André Carrillo for Peru’s opener. Apart from that, Sainsbury was solid and dependable, especially in the first two games.

Aziz Behich – 8

Ensconced at left-back, Behich is destined for a bigger club than Bursaspor after his performances at the World Cup. Full of running, technically proficient and defensively sound, the Melburnian was the attacking full-back that Bert van Marwijk needed. Didn’t let his country down.

Josh Ridson – 6

Managed a big step up from the A-League decently, despite a few slip-ups. Was running on empty in the final 15 minutes against France, and was caught out of position for Peru’s second goal in Sochi. But apart from that, enhanced his reputation and should by plying his trade in Europe soon.

Aaron Mooy – 8

Took his impressive Premier League form with Huddersfield Town with him into his first World Cup. The midfielder was excellent against France and dynamic against Denmark, but quiet against Peru. With each year Mooy is becoming a more important player for his country.

Mile Jedinak – 7

Captain couragerous Jedinak finished as Australia’s top-scorer with two precise penalties. Under pressure before the tournament from Massimo Luongo, Jedinak kept his spot and showed nerves of steel from the spot. Got in the face of Paul Pogba in the opener and worked well in tandem with Mooy.

Leckie – 8

Was full on industrious running and endeavour in all 270 minutes of Australia’s Russian campaign. Leckie was the Socceroos’ man of the match against the Danes, earning rare praise from Danish coach Åge Hareide. All that was missing from Leckie’s World Cup was a goal, which he deserved.

Robbie Kruse – 6

Ineffectual in the first game and struggling for impact in the second, Kruse rose to the occasion in Sochi. Was responsible for creating some of Australia’s best chances against Peru and shut up some critics with his effective shift. Much maligned earlier on but proved his worth on Tuesday.

Daniel Arzani – 8

The youngest player at the 2018 World Cup announced himself on the world stage with a series of super-sub performances. Arzani dazzled in Kazan and almost proved the match-winner in Samara. The 19-year-old is arguably the best discovery the Socceroos made in Russia. Surely destined for bigger and better things in Europe now.

Tom Rogic – 7

Nullified by France, Rogic came alive in the games against Denmark and Peru. He shined in Samara and was influential in Sochi. Often under-valued by the green and gold, the No 10 proved a real handful for both the Danes and the Peruvians.

Jackson Irvine – 6

Was asked to fill an unconventional No 10 role off the bench in replacing Tom Rogic in all three games. Usually a defensive midfielder for his club Hull City, it proved a bridge too far for Irvine, but tried hard and threw himself about.

Andrew Nabbout – 6

Led the line effortlessly in the duels with the French and the Danes. While his touches and scoring chances were limited, Nabbout got through a mountain of work and pressing in the first two fixtures as asked by Van Marwijk. Unfortunately was injured in Samara and unable to take the field in Sochi.

Tomi Juric – 4

Ineffectual in all three matches and seem to struggle for confidence and fitness. Asked to relieve Nabbout in the first two games, Juric couldn’t get on the scoreboard. Was unable to take a handful of half-chances at the Fisht Stadium and was eventually replaced by Tim Cahill.

Tim Cahill – 5

Australia’s record goal-scorer received just 37 minutes at his fourth World Cup. Cahill’s misuse caused hysteria and consternation in his homeland. But the striker was unable to add to his legacy, as he was mostly well-contained by Peru’s defence in his one brief cameo.


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