Socceroos Mile Jedinak (left) and Tim Cahill celebrate qualifying for the World Cup.
Socceroos Mile Jedinak (left) and Tim Cahill celebrate qualifying for the World Cup.

Slater: Forget reputations and believe

MIRACLES can happen and dreams do come true.

That's the attitude the Socceroos need to take heading to Russia next year, where they will be underdogs in all three of their group games.

In 2001 Australia stunned France in the Confederations Cup three years after the French were crowned world champions.

Who's to say we can't do it again?

France have world class players across the park, from Paul Pogba to Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann to Anthony Martial. It's a team of superstars that is packed with youth.

It's a country I know well having spent five years playing there and it's a wonderful footballing culture.

France’s Paul Pogba is one of the world’s best players.
France’s Paul Pogba is one of the world’s best players.

I played against their coach Didier Deschamps many times when he was at Marseilles. He was a great No. 6 who led his nation to victories in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

His team plays a little like he did - physical but with the technical quality all great French teams possess.

They can be summed up in three words: pedigree, class, quality.

It's a wonderful game to look forward to and if we can just jag something out of that opener, be it a win, draw or close loss, it would be enormous.

You don't want to have a repeat of South Africa 2010, when our tournament basically ended after a 4-0 loss to Germany in the opener.

France, along with Germany and Brazil, are the favourites heading into the tournament and sometimes that pressure can do funny things to a team, especially in the opening match when the nerves can be at their peak.

Australia cannot afford to slip up like the did against Germany in 2010.
Australia cannot afford to slip up like the did against Germany in 2010.

That's the attitude we need to take with the eyes of the world on our team.

We have a tough group and we'd be silly not to think that, but that's what the World Cup is all about - taking on the best.

We should have some good information on Peru considering they faced New Zealand in a playoff.

Peru should not be underestimated. Unlike the likes of Chile and Paraguay they survived the brutal South American qualification process.

They are ranked 11 in the world, which may surprise some, and have qualified for the first time in 36 years and will have a nation of 32 million fans cheering them on.

Denmark have a strong side headed by Tottenham's Christian Eriksen. Don't forget they smashed the Republic of Ireland 5-1 with Eriksen scoring a hat-trick to secure their ticket to Russia.

This is our fourth straight World Cup so we know how it works. Don't get smashed in the first game, look at Denmark and Peru as doable and embrace the excitement!



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