• Ryan And Socceroos To Face Hungary Ahead Of Russia

    Maty Ryan and his Australian teammates take on Hungary in Budapest on Saturday afternoon in their final warm-up fixture before moving onto the rapidly approaching World Cup in Russia.

    The Socceroos will be feeling quietly confident after an impressive 4-0 victory over the Czech Republic last Sunday. Mathew Leckie notched a brace and Andrew Nabbout justified his selection in attack, which had attracted some criticism, by scoring his very first international goal in a game where Ryan had little to do.

    Albion’s stopper will be keen to keep another clean sheet before packing his bags and jetting off to Russia. Australia first head to Kazan for their opening Group C fixture where face France. The game, being played on 16th June, comes exactly a year since Ryan signed for Albion from Valencia, in a deal which broke the club’s transfer record at the time.

    Already an established Australian international when he arrived at the Amex, Ryan got off to an indifferent start in his opening games for the Seagulls that had some fans questioning the wisdom of replacing the popular David Stockdale. Ryan turned things round with a string of impressive performances between the sticks, and emerged from his first Premier League season with huge amounts of credit.

    It’s no great surprise to see Australia not feature amongst the favourites in the World Cup betting odds, but the Socceroos are a close-knit side who are a stronger team than the sum of the individual parts.

    Ryan is joined in the Australian squad by Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy, who also enjoyed a fine first season in the English top flight, as well as the combative Mile Jedinak, who also has a wealth of top flight experience gained at Selhurst Park before his move to Aston Villa. James Meredith (Millwall), Jackson Irvine (Hull) and Massimo Luongo (QPR) also take experience gained in the English leagues to Russia.

    The ageless Tim Cahill heads to his fourth World Cup finals after some cameo appearances for Millwall in the last campaign as he worked to attain the match fitness required to get on the plane to Russia. He may now be 38 years old, but who would bet against the ex-Everton man adding to his tally of 50 goals for the national side?

    Once the opening game against a strong French side is behind them, they will be hopeful of being able to compete with the Denmark and Peru sides who make up the remainder of Group C. The Australians are considered the outsiders of the group, but a second-place finish may not be out of their reach. After his impressive showing for the Albion this season, it would seem unlikely that Maty Ryan has made any holiday plans that clash with the knockout stages he will be hoping his side are part of.