EXCLUSIVE: Tough and exciting is how Socceroos James Holland Mathew Ryan have described the difficult draw handed to Australia for the 2014 World Cup.
The Socceroos will face world champions Spain along with European heavyweights the Netherlands and South American nation Chile, ranked 15th in the world, in Group B.
“It’s exciting, obviously three massive nations,” Holland said.
“To play against the likes of Spain is massive and Holland as well, to have Chile in the mix, it’s definitely going to make it for a tough World Cup. [But] it’s the World Cup so it’s supposed to be the best of the best, so you can’t expect too much.”
Austria Wien midfielder Holland spent three years in the Netherlands, with AZ Alkmaar and on loan at Sparta Rotterdam, after leaving the Newcastle Jets. The 24-year old, who is also fluent in Dutch, says it will be good to take on the Oranje.
“I’ve got some friends in Holland so it will make it all the more interesting,” the Aussie said. “Hopefully we can snag a result and make it a little exciting.”
Initially, Club Brugge goalkeeper Ryan was struggling to find the words to describe the Socceroos’ difficult World Cup draw.
“It will be an interesting time ahead,” Ryan said. “Looking forward to it, excited, and can’t wait for a few months time.
“The group is a fairly tough one but it being a World Cup, obviously I’ve got no experience in the World Cup arena yet, but I’ve always imagined there'll be no easy games in a World Cup.
“Every nation is doing its best to prepare for this event that comes once every few years, the pinnacle of the game.”
Ryan believes the Socceroos have the ability to make it out of the group.
“With the Australian mentality, one of our strengths is that we love an underdog title,” he added.
“Hopefully we can have a game plan that plays to our strengths and those big games on the big stage, being Australian that doesn’t faze us.
“Hopefully we can cause a bit of an upset against the bigger teams like Spain and Holland and Chile.
“Chile beat England not long ago also. I’m sure whoever the squad is on the night of each game they’ll be giving it their all.
“Football is a funny game sometimes, you’ve seen stranger things happen, upsets throughout the world. Hopefully we’ll be looking to cause a few of them.”
Ryan said the prospect of possibly playing the likes of Robin Van Persie, Xavi and Iniesta was “a bit mind-blowing at the moment”.
“As a young kid you grew up playing FIFA and idolising these players,” he said.
“The World Cup’s quite some time away yet, I’ve just got to concentrate on doing well and hopefully I get that starting position and get to test myself against the best players in the world.”
Both Ryan and Holland were in the Socceroos squad that recently took on Costa Rica, new coach Ange Postecoglou’s first game in charge, and the Austria-based midfielder believes under Postecoglou Australia will not back down to any opponent.
“That result was fantastic,” Holland said.
“Not only the result but the way we played was fantastic. Being in camp was good, there were a lot of positives.
“At the end of the day it is football so anything’s possible. I think that’s mentality we’re sort of going in with – we’re Australian, we don’t give up and we always back ourselves. Ange has installed that belief in us so it’s good. ”