Socceroos looking to emulate Spanish scrappers
THE Socceroos will evoke the spirit of Spanish overachievers Atletico Madrid, starting with Friday's crunch World Cup test run against Czech Republic.
The friendly in Austria will be the players' last chance to impress before coach Bert van Marwijk trims the 27-man squad to 23 before the June 4 FIFA deadline.
Striker Tomi Juric (knee) is the only injury concern, with the Socceroos expected to field close to their strongest XI intertwined with some 11th hour experimentation ahead of the cull.
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who is expected to be No. 1 in Russia, said the Australian public would be exposed to a new-look Socceroos modelled on the Diego Simeone's street-scrappers.
"We've been working on our defensive shape a lot and hopefully they'll see a side that's going to be hard to break down,'' Ryan said.
"We've been looking at the way Atletico Madrid defend a lot and emulate what those guys do on a week-to-week basis there with Simeone.
"That's the feedback that we've had from the coaching staff.
"He compares us, the Socceroos, to Atletico Madrid in terms of not having the most skilful players in the league, Real Madrid and Barcelona have those sorts of players, but they have the best team in terms of their work ethic, togetherness, the way they adopt their tactics and strategies towards opponents.
"Hopefully we can come out and put in a good defensive display and when we have the ball we're looking to keep the tempo pretty high."
Fresh from an outstanding season with Premier League side Brighton, Ryan said adaptability was key for the Socceroos as the philosophical change from Ange Postecoglou continues.
"There's always challenges involved in adapting but it's part of being a human and a footballer. The quicker we can adapt the better it's going to serve us,'' he said.
"It's one of the traits required as a footballer, changes are constantly happening throughout a season, throughout matches. We have to do our best to embrace all these changes and hopefully it will benefit us moving forward.
"Friday is our first opportunity since being in camp to put the things we've been practicing at training into a match situation.
"In terms of our preparation for the France game we need to be making the most of every single day we're here."
Ryan said the players had remained professional despite impending heartache for four players.
"We're doing everything we individually can to help the team perform to it's highest ability or best way of playing. This camp's been no different, unfortunately that's the circumstance, four players have to go," Ryan said.
"Our professionalism above all shines the most. We approach every camp like it could be our last, with absolute professionalism.''