Facing world champions Spain would intimidate many footballers but Mathew Leckie reckons the Socceroos can use a “tough guy” approach to help turn the tables on World Cup opponents.
The Socceroos kick off their campaign against Chile on June 13th before taking on the Netherlands (June 18) and Spain (June 23) in the group stage.
All three teams are littered with big name stars, the likes of Robin van Persie, Diego Costa and Arturo Vidal.
In stark contrast the Socceroos, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, are largely made up of young, inexperienced players barely known by most in world football.
But Leckie thinks they can mix a typically Australian rough-and-tumble style with good football to surprise their highly-rated opponents.
“Particularly Spain is going to be difficult but we’re not going to say the Netherlands and Chile aren’t at their level,” said Leckie.
“We know the three teams are world class.
“But everyone’s human.
“Us Aussies we’re tough guys, we go out there and give it our all and we’re always there to give a bump or two but also to play good football as well.
“It can also be an advantage for us that they don’t know many of us or the way we play, so we may be able to go over there and surprise them.”
While Spain my be the biggest challenge, Leckie labelled the opening clash against world No.15 Chile the most important as it will set the tone the Socceroos’ campaign.
“If we can get a result from that it’s going to give us a lot of confidence,” he said.
“So we’re definitely looking at that first game going into the World Cup and not worrying about the other two until we get past that.”
Coach Ange Postecoglou on Wednesday named Mile Jedinak the captain for the World Cup with both veterans Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano his deputies.
Leckie backed the decision but said it was up to every player lead.
“He’s just one leader and will be a great captain,” he said.
“But we’re all leaders in our own way and are all here to help each other out.”
The Socceroos face South Africa on Monday in a farewell clash at ANZ Stadium before departing for Brazil two days later.
After a few staggered arrivals all 30 players are now in camp and Leckie feels they’re already starting to gel.
“We all came in at different times so it took us a bit of time but the energy was there today and it’s getting better every day,” he said.
“Hopefully we’re raring to go against South Africa on Monday.”