The mud hasn’t but settled on the Socceroos’ most profitable males’s World Cup marketing campaign – certainly, the gamers solely touched down in Australia final evening – however the unimaginable efficiency in Qatar already has followers dreaming of what might be sooner or later.
The emergence of younger skills – from the centre-back pairing of Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles to the flourishing starlet Garang Kuol – means the longer term is vibrant.
And the subsequent World Cup, shared between three hosts within the USA, Canada and Mexico, is simply across the nook.
Qatar’s harsh local weather meant the Cup was pushed again to November-December for the primary time in historical past. In 2026, it’s set to return to the same old June-July timeslot.
That means there are simply three and a half years between tournaments – that means older gamers may need extra cause to hope for one final journey to the most important stage in soccer.
Here’s a far-too-early have a look at how the Australian squad might look in 2026, and the proficient younger weapons who might break by means of on the way in which.
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Goalkeepers usually have much more longevity than outfielders – and that’s the case within the World Cup, with 40-year-old Mexican keeper Alfredo Talavera the oldest participant in Qatar.
By that mark, Andrew Redmayne might comfortably retain his back-up position in 2026 on the age of 37, whereas Danny Vukovic, who can be 41, might be out of the hunt. Mat Ryan can be 34, giving him a more-than-reasonable likelihood of including to his Australian record-equalling tally of 10 World Cup matches.
When he introduced his World Cup squad final month, Arnold revealed a priority over the subsequent technology of glovemen, saying: “Because on the finish of the day, there’s a lack of depth of goalkeepers … We want extra younger goalkeepers going by means of.”
This event’s shock snub, Mitch Langerak, can be 37 when the subsequent Cup rolls round and will nonetheless get an opportunity as a back-up.
But there’s little doubt that the Socceroos need to blood the subsequent technology within the coming years.
Adelaide United’s 22-year-old Joe Gauci and 24-year-old Tom Glover have each impressed for the Olyroos and seem like the main candidates enjoying in Australia. 22-year-old Jacob Chapman (on mortgage at fourth-tier English facet Salford City from Huddersfield Town) is highly-rated, as is 20-year-old Nicholas Bilokapic, who has already earned a senior look within the FA Cup for the Terriers. 23-year-old Charlton Athletic’s Ashley Maynard-Brewer is one other super-impressive expertise.
In the subsequent 4 years, the Socceroos will certainly look to the long-term future on the place.
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Probably the best place to lock in primarily based on the proof at this World Cup! Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles surprised the world with their spectacular partnership for the Socceroos, beginning collectively in all 4 matches in Qatar.
Souttar’s top and passing vary, plus having a uncommon left-footer within the coronary heart of defence in Rowles, made them a formidable duo – and with each being 24 years outdated, they might properly be the beginning duo on the subsequent two World Cups, not simply 2026. But the subsequent event ought to see them on the peak of their powers.
25-year-old Thomas Deng gives versatility because of his capabilities at fullback – one thing 28-year-old Milos Degenek additionally did brilliantly when he featured at proper again in opposition to Denmark and Argentina.
Degenek has grown right into a key chief of the squad and set the usual together with his willpower and depth on the sphere, and his huge expertise might see him stored within the squad on the highway to 2026.
30-year-old Bailey Wright might be on the cusp when it comes to age and health, the identical as a pair of gamers unfortunate to overlook out on a visit to Qatar: Trent Sainsbury (61 caps) and Harrison Delbridge (1).
And there isn’t a scarcity of proficient children coming by means of the ranks able to take over.
23-year-old Jay Rich-Baghuelou is a towering defender within the mould of Souttar – albeit simply 1.96m tall. He impressed with the Olyroos on the Tokyo Olympics and has since left Crystal Palace for League One facet Accrington Stanley. 23-year-old Gianni Stensness is on a meteoric rise, now in Norway, and his versatility as a centre-defensive-midfielder makes him one to be careful for sooner or later.
The Socceroos are additionally hoping to poach 19-year-old Alessandro Circati, born in Italy however raised in WA. The teen is starring in Italy’s second division and has represented Italy on the youth worldwide stage, however has not but determined his worldwide future. Aleksandar Popovic (23)
In Australia, 20-year-old Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Brisbane Roar on mortgage from Raków Częstochowa) is a rising star and will break by means of down the road, like 20-year-old Alexandar Popovic of Adelaide United.
Argentina’s ahead #10 Lionel Messi (R) fights with Kye Rowles.Source: AFP
Aziz Behich had the event of his life in Qatar, and the veteran almost scored one of the best objective of his life when he launched into a Messi-like run in opposition to Argentina solely to have the ball poached a millisecond earlier than he might fireplace dwelling. However, he’s 31, and 2026 is probably going too far down the monitor. 22-year-old Joel King is subsequent in line, and has been on monitor for years to take over on the place.
Callum Elder, 27, is a extra battle-hardened determine who continues to impress in England’s Championship with Hull City.
Down the road, 20-year-old Jordan Bos of Melbourne City seems a promising expertise, whereas Mariners teen Jacob Farrell (additionally 20) seems set to be the subsequent cab off the rank within the unimaginable manufacturing line of gamers from the Central Coast.
Entering Qatar, this place was one which appeared most locked-in for the longer term. Fran Karacic can be 30 and Nathaniel Atkinson 26 (till his birthday mid-tournament!). Ryan Strain – who was unlucky to overlook out on this event – is simply 25 however continues to enhance and will leapfrog one of many pair.
22-year-old Lewis Miller earned a transfer to Scotland with Hibernian in June after his spectacular performances for the Central Coast Mariners, and continues to progress within the robust, bodily league.
His successor in Gosford, Jacob Farrell (20), seems equally prone to go on to huge issues.
Callum Talbot (21) is one other of the leaders of the rising crop down beneath, and appears a future star at Melbourne City.
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Australia has a humiliation of riches on this place – however what number of will stick round in 2026? Aaron Mooy can be 35, Jackson Irvine 33. There’s little doubt that gamers can shine properly into their thirties within the fashionable sport, however taking each is unlikely.
Keanu Baccus was one in every of Australia’s breakout stars in Qatar when he acquired his likelihood in opposition to Denmark and Argentina. He’ll be 28, the identical age as Cameron Devlin (the truth is, they share a birthday!). Devlin, who was within the squad however unused in Qatar, and Connor Metcalfe, who was unfortunate to overlook out on a World Cup place, can be 27. All three seem locked in as the subsequent technology of midfield skills, alongside Denis Genreau (who may also be 27). Louis D’Arrigo can be 25 and likewise gives loads within the defensive midfield slot, whereas 24-year-old Melbourne Victory star Jake Brimmer is quickly rising up the charts within the central midfield position.
In a extra attacking playmaker position, Riley McGree was distinctive in Qatar and can be 27 when the subsequent event comes round, and Ajdin Hrustic 29. Hrustic was Australia’s finest within the qualification highway to Qatar, however an damage pre-tournament robbed him of a beginning spot. Both look set to proceed their battle for the No. 10 position transferring ahead.
Tyrese Francois (on mortgage from Premier League membership Fulham) can be 25, whereas Roma’s Christian Volpato – ought to he select Australia over Italy – can be 22.
And there’s one other title who Australia will probably face a brutal eligibility battle over – Alex Robertson. Robertson is eligible to play for Scotland, Peru, and England – the place he’s on the books at Manchester City. His father and grandfather have each represented Australia, however Robertson has performed in plenty of English junior worldwide groups. If the Socceroos can win the battle for his worldwide providers, he might show the subsequent junior sensation.
Tom Rogic, who missed out on this event, may also be 33, however his probabilities look slim. But on the opposite finish of the spectrum, Cam Peupion – chasing a Premier League debut with Brighton – is simply 20 years outdated and will properly turn into Australia’s subsequent breakout midfielder.
Peupion in motion in opposition to Nigeria on the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup in Brazil 2019.Source: Getty Images
Fellow 20-year-old Caleb Watts has already picked up three Premier League appearances and is now on mortgage, however might shortly shoot into rivalry.
Meanwhile, enjoying in Australia, 21-year-old Calem Nieuwenhof of the Western Sydney Wanderers is one to maintain a watch out for as he continues to come back on in leaps and bounds.
We’d be foolish to not begin with Garang Kuol, the 18-year-old who got here oh-so-close to scoring an equaliser in opposition to Argentina within the dying seconds of stoppage time. He’s about to go to Premier League heavyweights Newcastle, and his future is vibrant. Marco Tilio is 21 and has loads of potential, and will proceed to develop.
Mat Leckie is 31 and in immense bodily situation, however the three-and-a-half 12 months hole to the subsequent World Cup throws his spot into doubt. The identical is true of 29-year-old Martin Boyle, who was cruelly sidelined in Qatar by means of damage. There’s no doubting his skill, however the huge query can be how his latest knee surgical procedure impacts his physicality in the long term. Fingers crossed. Craig Goodwin, at 30, can also be on the cusp.
But Awer Mabil is in his enjoying peak at 27 and can be hoping to keep up his place within the squad transferring ahead, particularly as a frontrunner to the younger group of rising gamers like Kuol. In Australia, 24-year-old Reno Piscopo is one other one to observe.
Perhaps probably the most intriguing bolter can be Daniel Arzani, who was the Socceroos’ youngest star in a breakout 2018 World cup efficiency solely to stroll down a rocky highway afterwards. Now again in Australia, the 23-year-old nonetheless has his finest years forward of him.
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Perhaps probably the most tough space to foretell. Mitch Duke is 31, Jamie Maclaren 29, and Jason Cummings 27. There aren’t any strikers banging down the door (or banging within the targets) within the body to right away bounce into the Socceroos squad.
Nevertheless, there are a variety of proficient gamers who might turn into essential gamers on the highway to 2026. In Australia, the versatile Chris Ikonomidis is 27 and has 17 worldwide caps. 24-year-old Nick D’Agostino has impressed for the Olyroos and has loads of room to develop, however has struggled for consistency to this point in his profession. Western Sydney Wanderers striker Kusini Yengi has tempo to burn and is simply 23.
Perhaps probably the most thrilling prospect is Alou Kuol, Garang’s older brother. The 21-year-old at the moment performs for the reserve group for German first-tier membership VfB Stuttgart – and has boundless potential. The prospect of him lining up within the inexperienced and gold alongside his youthful brother is an attractive one – and greater than doable. They won’t even be the one fraternal bonds shared amongst Socceroos!
The Toure trio of Mohamed (18), Al-Hassan (22), and Musa (17) – all forwards – are all extraordinarily promising younger skills. Al-Hassan and Musa each play in Australia, whereas Mohamed has joined French first-division membership Stade de Reims and at the moment performs for his or her reserves.
The future is blindingly vibrant – it’s only a matter of who lives as much as their potential.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI (With back-up in brackets)
KEEPER: Ryan (Gauci)
DEFENDERS: King (Bos), Rowles (Rich-Baghuelou), Souttar (Deng), Atkinson (Karacic)
MIDFIELD: Baccus (Genreau), Devlin (Irvine), Hrustic (McGree)
FORWARDS: G. Kuol (Mabil), A. Kuol (Cummings), Tilio (Goodwin)
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