Jedi knighted to lead Socceroos in Brazil

Mile Jedinak will become just the fourth Australian football player to lead the Socceroos to the World Cup after being named captain by head coach Ange Postecoglou on Wednesday.

Jedinak has ample experience as skipper of English Premier League side Crystal Palace where he played a key role in helping the club to an 11th-placed finish.

He will be supported by vice-captains Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano - both set to make a third appearance at the World Cup Finals.

The appointments of Jedinak, Cahill and Bresciano were confirmed by Postecoglou at a team meeting last night as the Socceroos continue preparations on the New South Wales' Central Coast.

Jedinak follows Peter Wilson (1974), Mark Viduka (2006) and Lucas Neill (2010) as Australians who have captained the Socceroos at the world football's global showpiece.

Neill, who was dropped by Postecoglou after the double-World Cup veteran struggled to get game time in the UK, was the Socceroos' 50th skipper and led an ageing green and gold line-up for more than seven years.

In contrast Jedinak, 29, will be charged with leading a largely inexperienced line-up in Brazil.

A handful of established stars like Cahill, Bresciano, Dario Vidosic and Mark Milligan were selected in a preliminary World Cup squad alongside high profile talented youngsters such as Tom Rogic, Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie and Matthew Spiranovic.

Rising A-League stars like James Troisi and Adam Taggart - who both had stunning seasons - are among 10 locally-based players who were selected for the squad as part of the Regeneration Ange revolution which has an average age of 25.5.

"Mile Jedinak will captain our national team at the 2014 World Cup," Postecoglou said.

"It is a privileged position and an accolade he richly deserves after the incredible job he has done at Crystal Palace in the toughest club competition in world football — the English Premier League.

"Mile Jedinak embodies everything that is great about Australian football and Australia as a nation.

"He has risen to the top of world football and done it the hard way from humble beginnings where he has battled and believed in himself to overcome the odds with an enormous work ethic and passion for what he does.

"I have no doubt he will lead the team with distinction in Brazil and we will have two of our greatest-ever football players in Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano giving the team what I believe is strong leadership.

"Mile will be our captain but all three players will share the onus of leading this group to the World Cup where we will be representing the people of Australia with enormous pride and drive."

Postecoglou added: "We are going to Brazil to do all 23 million Australians proud."

Jedinak said he was honoured to be named Socceroo captain for the 2014 World Cup Brazil after leading Australia for the first time in the international friendly against Ecuador in London in March.

"To be handed the responsibility of captaining my country at the World Cup is humbling, yet incredibly exciting," Jedinak said.

"Just pulling the Socceroo shirt on fills me with pride but to be leading out my country and these players at the World Cup on behalf of all Australians is special.

"It is an honour to be named captain but it is also a huge responsibility and I look forward to providing leadership for the team along with Tim (Cahill) and Mark (Bresciano) as we take on some of the biggest nations in world football."

Cahill and Bresciano also spoke of the honour that comes with a leadership role of the Socceroos at a World Cup.

"Playing for the national team means a lot to me and to represent the Socceroos at the World Cup is an honour and I look forward to taking this opportunity to help Mile and Bresh (Bresciano) share the experience we have picked up in our time with the national team," Cahill said.

Bresciano echoed Cahill’s sentiments.

"It is a privilege to wear the green and gold Socceroos shirt at the World Cup and represent the past, present and the future of football in this country. I’m honoured to have been recognised as a leader within this team."

Send Off the Socceroos


Socceroos vs South Africa, presented by NAB



Monday 26 May 2014
ANZ Stadium, Sydney 
Kick-off: 7.30pm

Tickets are from $30 including public transport.

SOCCEROOS 30-MAN PRELIMINARY SQUAD FOR THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL

GOALKEEPERS

Mark BIRIGHITTI (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

Eugene GALEKOVIC (Adelaide United FC, AUSTRALIA)

Mitchell LANGERAK (B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY)

Mat RYAN (Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM)

DEFENDERS

Jason DAVIDSON (SC Heracles Almelo, NETHERLANDS)

Ivan FRANJIC (Brisbane Roar FC, AUSTRALIA)

Curtis GOOD (Newcastle United, ENGLAND)

Ryan McGOWAN (Shandong Luneng Taishan FC, CHINA)

Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, AUSTRALIA)

Alex WILKINSON (Jeonbuk Hyundai FC, KOREA REPUBLIC)

Luke WILKSHIRE (FK Dinamo Moscow, RUSSIA)

Bailey WRIGHT (Preston North End FC, ENGLAND)

MIDFIELDERS

Oliver BOZANIC (FC Luzern, SWITZERLAND)

Mark BRESCIANO (Al Gharafa, QATAR)

Joshua BRILLANTE (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

James HOLLAND (FK Austria Vienna, AUSTRIA)

Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND)

Massimo LUONGO (Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND)

Matthew McKAY (Brisbane ROAR FC, AUSTRALIA)

Mark MILLIGAN (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Tommy OAR (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS)

Tommy ROGIC (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Adam SAROTA (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS)

James TROISI (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Dario VIDOSIC (FC Sion, SWITZERLAND)

FORWARDS

Tim CAHILL (New York Red Bulls, USA)

Ben HALLORAN (Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY)

Josh KENNEDY (Nagoya Grampus 8, JAPAN)

Matthew LECKIE (FSV Frankfurt 1899, GERMANY)

Adam TAGGART (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

PRE WORLD CUP WARM UP MATCHES — TRAINING GAMES

Monday 26 May

Socceroos v South Africa, presented by NAB

ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park NSW

Kick off: 7.30pm (AEST)

Gates open: 5.30pm

Monday 2 June

Training game v Parana Clube (Curitiba-based second division club)

Estadio Engenheiro Araripe (Socceroos training base)

1pm start

Friday 6 June

Socceroos v Croatia

Pituacu Stadium, Salvador

Kick off: 8pm