You cannot very well go in front of the cameras and say your side has no chance, so Socceroo Trent Sainsbury fronted the media with predictions of Australia going deep in Russia.
Only seven of the 26 currently training in Turkey have previous World Cup experience, which hardly matters.
After FIFA World Cup 2018, all who make the final 23 for the Socceroos will have WC experience.
Sainsbury chose to classify the lack of experience of the squad as “untapped potential,” and while the team would make one of the best underdog stories ever, it would seem worthwhile to maintain tempered expectations.
Sainsbury has to be chomping at the bit. All football players view playing World Cup as the Holy Grail and he missed in 2014 due to injury.
“It’s hard not to imagine what’s ahead. What’s at stake and what the possibilities of the games are,” Sainsbury said. “Every kid dreams of going to a World Cup and I’m still dreaming to this day. Until I’m there on the pitch I can keep dreaming.”
Hopefully, Sainsbury’s dream does not shift into nightmarish mode when the Socceroos face the unenviable task of taking the pitch against France. It would have been nice to draw either Denmark or Peru as the first opponent.
New coach Bert van Marwijk is putting the players through the paces in Antalya, Turkey and if the Aussies fall flat it will not be for lack of fitness.
The young players will have the benefit of three players with previous experience. Tim Cahill and Mark Milligan played WC footy in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Mile Jedinak appeared in 2010 and 2014.
Sainsbury was part of the Grasshoppers, a team in the Swiss Super League. The Western Australia native was on loan to the Swiss side from Jiangsu Suning and he was a part of the Australian national team that won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.