An Aussie’s Guide To The 2022 FIFA World Cup
— 22 November 2022

An Aussie’s Guide To The 2022 FIFA World Cup

— 22 November 2022
Billy Booker
Billy Booker

The greatest show on earth has begun in Qatar: the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Yes, Australia is there, alongside 31 other nations. 

Playing in their fifth straight FIFA World Cup, the Socceroos are rank outsiders. Progressing beyond the group stage for the first time since 2006 would be a huge achievement, and even winning one match would eclipse results from the last two World Cups.

However, let’s not allow pessimism or cynicism get us down. In sports, anything can happen and World Cups are notorious for chokes, upsets, and miraculous late winners. Here is an Aussie’s Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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When are the Socceroos playing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

The Socceroos will play three group matches across eight days. Realistically, one win, one draw, and a narrow loss should be enough to see them progress. Teams receive three points for a victory, one for a draw, and none for losses.

Australia v France is the first task, and what a mighty one it is. Though the reigning champions are missing key players, they remain a world powerhouse and one of the favourites in the tournaments. Kick-off is 6 AM on Wednesday, November 23. The key for the Socceroos here is not losing by a lot. A draw or win would be ideal, but a narrow defeat is still OK.

Australia v Tunisia is the game the Socceroos really need to win. Kick-off is 9 PM on Saturday, November 26. Though the Tunisians are ranked eight spots higher in the FIFA rankings, they are beatable. 

Australia v Denmark will be a dead rubber if the Socceroos lose their first two matches. The Danish are good and will be the favourites, but a draw is not out of the question. Kick-off is 2 AM on Thursday, December 1. 

If the Socceroos finish second in the group and advance to the Round of 16, they’ll face the winner of Group C, which is favoured to be Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Kick-off for this match is on track for Sunday, December 6 at 6 AM.

Australia’s Squad – The 2022 Socceroos

Goalkeepers: Andrew Redmayne, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic 

Defenders: Fran Karacic, Harry Souttar, Milos Degenek, Kyle Rowles, Bailey Wright, Thomas Deng, Aziz Behich, Joel King, Nathaniel Atkinson

Midfielders: Aaron Mooy, Cameron Devlin, Keanu Baccus, Jackson Irvine, Craig Goodwin, Ajdin Hrustic, Riley McGree

Forwards: Mathew Leckie, Mitch Duke, Martin Boyle, Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil, Jason Cummings, Garang Kuol

NameCurrent Club, Country“A” Caps (Goals)Junior Club 
(Member Federation/Country)
Nathaniel ATKINSONHeart of Midlothian, Scotland5 (0)Riverside Olympic FC / Football Tasmania
Keanu BACCUSSt Mirren, Scotland1 (0)Parklea FC / Football NSW
Aziz BEHICHDundee United, Scotland53 (2)Meadow Park SC / Football Victoria
Martin BOYLEHibernian FC, Scotland19 (5)Lewis United FC / Montrose FC (Scotland)
Jason CUMMINGSCentral Coast Mariners, Australia1 (1)Lothian Thistle Hutchinson Vale FC (Scotland)
Milos DEGENEKColumbus Crew, USA38 (1)Blacktown City FC / Football NSW
Thomas DENGAlbirex Niigata, Japan2 (0)Adelaide Blue Eagles / Football South Australia
Cameron DEVLINHeart of Midlothian, Scotland1 (0)Sutherland Sharks / Football NSW
Mitchell DUKEFagiano Okayama, Japan21 (8)Liverpool Rangers SC / Football NSW
Craig GOODWINAdelaide United, Australia10 (1)Munro Para City FC / Football South Australia
Ajdin HRUSTICHellas Verona FC, Italy20 (3)Heatherton United SC / Football Victoria
Jackson IRVINEFC St. Pauli, Germany49 (7)Ringwood City SC / Football Victoria
Fran KARACICBrescia Calcio, Italy11 (1)NK Lokomotiva / Croatia
Joel KINGOdense Boldklub, Denmark4 (0)Shellharbour Junior FC / Football NSW
Garang KUOLCentral Coast Mariners, Australia1 (0)Goulburn Valley Suns / Football Victoria
Mathew LECKIEMelbourne City FC, Australia73 (13)Brimbank Stallions FC / Football Victoria
Awer MABILCadiz CF, Spain29 (8)Saint Augustines FC / Football South Australia
Jamie MACLARENMelbourne City FC, Australia26 (8)Green Gully SC / Football Victoria
Riley MCGREEMiddlesbrough FC, England11 (1)Gawler Eagles FC / Football South Australia
Aaron MOOYCeltic FC, Scotland53 (7)Carlingford Redbacks FC / Football NSW
Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk)Sydney FC, Australia4 (0)Gosford City Dragons FC / Football NSW
Kye ROWLESHeart of Midlothian, Scotland3 (0)Palm Beach SC / Football QLD
Mathew RYAN (Gk) (Cpt)FC Copenhagen, Denmark75 (0)Blacktown City FC / Football NSW
Harry SOUTTARStoke City, England10 (6)Brechin City Boys Club (Scotland)
Danny VUKOVIC (Gk)Central Coast Mariners, Australia4 (0)St Clair United SC / Football NSW
Bailey WRIGHTSunderland AFC, England27 (2)Langwarrin SC / Football Victoria

How can I watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Australia?

Football fans will remember how Optus bungled the 2018 FIFA World Cup for Australian viewers. Thankfully, SBS has exclusive rights to all 64 matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and it’s completely free.

Who is Australia’s 2022 FIFA World Cup coach?

Graham Arnold has been Socceroos manager since just after the 2018 World Cup. His first assignment was the 2019 Asian Cup, where his team crashed out at the quarter-final stage following a 1-0 loss to Jordan. 

As disappointing as that Asian Cup result was, Arnold, who took over from Guus Hiddink as caretaker, was always going to be defined by whether he could guide Australia to Qatar. The Socceroos upset Peru to scrape through in penalties, with Arnold making a key tactical decision to sub out goalie Mat Ryan for Andrew Redmayne. It worked, and he was widely applauded. 

Arnold has mellowed since his first stint in charge. 

“I tried the hard arse way in the 2007 Asian Cup and it clearly didn’t work,” he said in an interview with Code Sports.

“It didn’t feel natural coaching that way and being a dictator and all that.” 

A changed man with more empathy and compassion, he has six A-League titles under his belt to show his progress. At the helm of Sydney FC and then Central Coast Mariners, his teams dominated. 

Arnold’s contract ends with the last kick of the ball in Qatar, and while he is keen to stay on if wanted, much will depend on how the Socceroos perform on the grandest stage of all.

The Verdict

The blueprint for Australia progressing out of the group stage dates back to 2006, when Harry Kewell and his team came agonisingly close to taking eventual winners Italy to penalties in the Round of 16.

In that World Cup, Australia defeated Japan 3-1, lost to Brazil 2-0, and drew with Croatia 2-2. A win, a narrow loss, and a draw equalled four points, which was enough to progress.

The same logic applies to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Defeating Tunisia, narrowly losing to France, and drawing with Denmark should be enough for the Socceroos to stay in Qatar. The French often take a while to warm into tournaments, so meeting them first is the best result for Australia.

Don’t get us wrong, collecting four points from three games will be bloody tough. But it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

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Billy Booker