"We have to become one of the best teams. We don’t have the best players of the world but I want to create a team who is one of the best teams and then you have a chance also against those countries," van Marwijk said.
His quest to do so has been aided by the Socceroos’ road to Russia. No team in the 88-year history of the World Cup has reached the tournament having travelled greater distances than this Socceroos’ team during qualification. It took them to places such as Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Honduras, Japan and Iran. It means van Marwijk inherits an already battle-hardened squad, one that has played more games than other nation to get to Russia (22 in total, including four play-off fixtures).
“This group is resilient. They don’t give up, we don’t give up until the bitter end, we always put everything we can out on to that pitch regardless of the opposition and the result. I think we’ve seen the growth of this group,” Jedinak said. “We want to do something special and everyone is pushing each other to the utmost limits to try and make that happen.”