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Youth the key to Socceroos World Cup campaign

Robbie Kruse controls ball in WCQ against Jordan. Photo: Tom Griffiths

Robbie Kruse controls ball in WCQ against Jordan. Photo: Tom Griffiths

The youth of the Socceroos squad has played a vital role in Australia’s qualifying campaign for the 2014 World cup in Brazil.

Time and time again players such as Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse and Tom Rogic have proved themselves as emerging stars for the Socceroos stepping up when the pressure could have easily been too much to handle.

The Socceroos struggled early in the campaign after suffering a shock loss to Oman 2-1 away from home.

Holger Osieck’s has had to look for players like veteran Archie Thompson to save the Socceroos from behind in the dying stages of games.

Poor performances in the early games of the campaign resulted in Holger Osieck receiving vast criticism from the media for the squad being too old – the squad had an average age of 28 – and for not making crucial changes early enough in the game.

Osieck had his back against the wall and there were calls for him to be sacked if they lost to Japan in Saitama, his decision to bring in young players like Oar and Rogic was when everything started to change.

Kruse, Oar and Rogic starred in the Socceroos must-win games against Jordan and Iraq.

A solid preparation for the World Cup is vital and now is the time to start moulding the youth of the Socceroos into regular starters.

With Kruse now at Bayer Leverkeusen and rated as one of Germany’s elite attackers and Rogic playing for Scottish powerhouse Celtic, the European standard of football experience will put them in good stead for Brazil.

Oar has also claimed the left wing for the Socceroos and was among the best players in the squad in the final three qualifying games.

Rogic provides as a possible starter for the Socceroos in the future as he stepped up showing his class coming on as a substitution against Iraq due to Brett Holman’s poor slump of form.

These players will all be showcased in Brazil – although others will be trying to prove themselves and gain a spot in the side.

The A League will be a place where Australian players will be auditioning for Socceroos scouts for selection in the world cup.

The Under 20 Socceroos side is participating in the Under 20 World Cup at the moment and is showing high hopes of making it to the next round of the tournament.

Let’s not forget superstar and icon Tim Cahill was only 24 when he scored two goals against Japan in the 2006 World Cup.

If the right players are given the opportunity to represent the Socceroos in as many friendlies as possible before Brazil then the Socceroos should not be taken lightly in the 2014 tournament.

By Ari Charilaou

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