Updated: 12/07/2013 06:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia's big opportunity in 'Group of Death'

Australia are looking at facing reigning world champions Spain, the Netherlands and Chile as an enormous challenge rather than as confronting a "group of death", Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said Saturday.


Australia's big opportunity in 'Group of Death'

Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou, arrives for the final draw of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia state, Brazil, on December 6, 2013

Australia, the lowest ranked of the 32 qualified teams for next year's World Cup at 59, were always going to face a tough draw in Brazil, but some pundits viewed it as the worst possible draw to be pitted with the football powerhouses in Group B.

The Socceroos, who have qualified for the last two World Cups, will open their tournament against Chile on June 13 before back-to-back games against the Netherlands and Spain, who both played in the 2010 World Cup final.

While some are painting it as a "group of death", Postecoglou, who only has been in the job since October following the sacking of German Holger Osieck, views it as an opportunity to create headlines.

"Everyone will be writing us off in this group, which is I think is logical," Postecoglou told Australian broadcaster SBS at the draw ceremony in Salvador de Bahia.

"But from our perspective we've some great opportunities to show the world we can play some good football against the best nations in the world.

"Our group looks the most difficult group but I hope it's the group that plays the best football and we'll play our part in that. We've got a chance to make some headlines when the World Cup comes around."

Postecoglou said the three group matches would serve as invaluable experience for his transitional team as they build towards hosting the 2015 Asian Cup.

"We know what Spain are like and the Dutch have always played good football and in this qualifying campaign Chile have been outstanding," he said.

"So there's going to be some real footballing challenges ahead of us. We want to keep growing and keep getting better and that's our measures."

Postecogclou said one positive aspect of the draw will be that all three of their group games will be in the south of Brazil, cutting down on travel throughout the vast country.

The Socceroos have chosen the coastal town of Vitoria, some 500 kilometres (310 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro, as their base for the month-long tournament.

"In terms of location it's probably as good as we can get and in terms of climate we're not going to be playing in any area that will be hotter than where we're training, or more humid," he said.

"So from that point of view, geographically it's probably a good spot for us."

Australia reached the second round of the 2006 tournament in Germany where they went down 1-0 to a disputed last-minute penalty to eventual champions Italy and failed to get out of their group in South Africa four years ago.

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