Australia can win World Cup, says Mat Ryan
Valencia goalkeeper Mat Ryan said Friday that reigning Asian Cup champions Australia can go beyond being the best in the region to one day win the World Cup.
“It’s not only to be the best in Asia, we want to one day be up there mixing it up with the best, if not be the best in the world and win the World Cup one day,” the Australia national team goalkeeper said.
“We want to go as far as we can in that competition, if not all the way,” he added, speaking to AFP on the sidelines of Valencia’s visit to Singapore.
“I know that it is a big call but look at Leicester City this year, who would have said that they could have won the Premier League?”
Australia, currently ranked 50th in the world, face England and Greece in upcoming friendly games.
“We’re just enjoying it every step of the way and we have another test coming up next week (against England),” Ryan said.
The Socceroos are in the same group as heavyweights Japan for the final stage of regional qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
They will face Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and minnows Thailand in Group B when games start in September.
Australia’s round-of-16 exit at the 2006 World Cup was the team’s best finish yet, and Ryan said he thinks the team can go further under the leadership of head coach Ange Postecoglou.
“He’s been publicly and privately naming our goals. He came out and said we’d win the Asian Cup six months before the tournament and we did it,” he said.
Postecoglou, who won two Australian A-League championships with Brisbane Roar, led the Socceroos to their Asian Cup triumph last year.
The Asian Cup success followed a World Cup campaign which saw the Aussies finish without a single point in their three group games.
Ryan signed a six year contract with Spanish side Valencia from Belgian outfit Bruges last year and also played for Australia at the 2014 World Cup finals.
He was voted player of the year by his fellow Australian professionals last year.
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