Australia on Sunday finally arrived at its base in chilly Kazan, where the ‘Socceroos’ will begin preparations for what many pundits believe will be yet another early departure from the World Cup.
Scheduled to meet highly-fancied France in its World Cup opener on June 16, Bert Van Marwijk’s men touched down shortly after midday and made the short trip from Kazan airport to their hotel and training complex a few kilometres from the centre of the colourful, windswept Tatar city.
Australia, whose best World Cup performance was reaching the last 16 under Guus Hiddink in 2006, is based at the Trudovye Rezervy Stadium, the training centre of local top ice-hockey side Ak Bars Kazan.
Van Marwijk’s greatest moment was leading the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010, when the ‘Oranje’ were beaten 1-0 by Spain in South Africa.
But this current Australia crop would only seriously begin to impress home fans if it managed to qualify from a Group C also featuring Denmark and Peru.
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