As champions of the 2015 Asian Cup, Australia will represent the Asian Football Confederation in Russia for this summer's Confederations Cup. The Socceroos make their fourth appearance in the tournament, having previously represented the Oceania Football Confederation. Sitting in third place, even on points with Japan and Saudi Arabia in World Cup Qualifying, their status for the tournament next year is still very much up in the air, but they'll travel to Russia this summer.
What five things should you know about Australia heading into this tournament?
Getty ImagesVince Caligiuri
Australia wasn't always part of the AFC
In 2006, Australia ended a nearly 40-year association with the Oceania Football Confederation, leaving to join the Asian Football Confederation. In a move designed to help break the "glass ceiling" of World Cup qualification, Australia was unanimously approved to jump federations, and subsequently qualified for the next three World Cups.
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They're the only national team to have been a champion of two confederations
Because of their jump from the OFC to the AFC, Australia became the first and only nation to have become champions of two separate confederations. They've won won the OFC Nations Cup four times between 1980 and 2004, as well as lifting the AFC Asian Cup trophy in 2015 event on their home turf in Australia.
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They'll be without captain Mile Jedinak
Aston Villa defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak (pictured, center) missed a number of games due to a persistent groin injury this past season, and that injury will keep him out of Confederations Cup as well. Australia's captain, Jedinak is a huge miss for the Socceroos, and they'll struggle to replace his presence in the middle of the park.
Coach Ange Postecoglou has set the bar high
Just hours after being pasted 4-0 by Brazil on Tuesday, Australia coach Ange Postecoglou set the Socceroos' goals for this tournament: they want to win it all.
“We want to win it, mate,” he told the press before the team prepped to fly out of Melbourne on Wednesday. “I know after last night that probably sounds ridiculous, but I took this job with the intent of being as ambitious as I possibly can for Australian football.
“When you’re ambitious you have spectacular failures and spectacular successes. I’m not going to coach in between, just notch up a stint for my country as a coach flat-lining. Let’s go there and see what we can do. The first game is obviously critical. If we get a result against Germany then it’s that kind of competition that you’ve got a chance.”
Of course there's a chance. But it's a very slim one.
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They've been shipping goals
Australia have been awful defending. They've kept just two clean sheets in their last eight matches, and both of those were against lowly UAE. Brazil hung four on them in the last friendly before Russia, and it easily could've been more. The good news is, the Brazil loss was the first time they've been shut out since October of 2015, so there's hope in that regard.