Socceroos captain: We can be the Leicester of the World Cup

Mile Jedinak of the Socceroos. Photo / Getty
Mile Jedinak of the Socceroos. Photo / Getty

The Socceroos can be the Leicester City of the next World Cup, captain Mile Jedinak says.

Jedinak believes Australia, like Leicester in the English Premier League, have the belief and talent to make a surprise run at the 2018 tournament.

"If we think that way, if we can make a few surprises and people don't expect it, that would be awesome," Jedinak said on Tuesday.

"Can we do it? I think we can.

"Where does it get us? I think that will be the question going forward, but it's definitely something we need to strive for."

Jedinak's EPL outfit Crystal Palace lost to Leicester on the weekend to continue City's unexpected hold on top spot in England.

The Socceroos captain has now linked with his Australian teammates in Adelaide to prepare for the final game in their first phase of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Australia top their group with two remaining fixtures, against Tajikistan in Adelaide on Tuesday and Jordan in Sydney a week later.

The Australians would likely advance to the next phase even if they lose one of those games, but Jedinak cautioned against any complacency.

"Without a doubt we want to finish top of the group. That was our intention from the start and that hasn't changed," he said.

And while Socceroos players were gathering from around the world, he said coach Ange Postecoglou would expect a slick start to this leg of the campaign.

"Obviously acclimatising always takes a little bit of time but in terms of doing the work on the field, we're expected to hit the ground running and set the standard for the guys who are relatively new to the team setup," Jedinak said.

"The training side of things, it's just about that concentration and staying switched on."

The Socceroos host Tajikistan at Adelaide Oval, where previous soccer games have been notable for a rapid pitch, but Jedinak said the surface wouldn't be a factor for the Australians to dwell on.

"It is what it is. You have got accept it and move on," he said.

"You can't use that as an excuse ... a little issue here and there isn't going to deter us."

- AAP

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