Updated: 06/08/2014 05:05 | By Agence France-Presse

Socceroos ready to step up to Chile mark

Australia's Alex Wilkinson and Jason Davidson said Saturday excitement is building in the squad camp as they finalize preparations for their World Cup opener against Chile on Friday.


Socceroos ready to step up to Chile mark

Australia's defender Alex Wilkinson talks to the press in Vitoria, on June 7, 2014 - by William West

"It's exciting times. All the boys are buzzing," said Wilkinson.

"It's going to be a challenge -- but one that we're up for," added Wilkinson, who plays for Jeonbuk Motors in South Korea.

Australia will face Chile, defending champions Spain and 2010 finalists Netherlands in Group B, one of the toughest at the World Cup.

Wilkinson featured in Friday's final warm-up when Australia were beaten 1-0 by Croatia in Salvador. But he said the team had laid the groundwork for a respectable World Cup campaign. 

"We were disappointed to concede a goal but I thought all in all defensively as a unit we weren't bad," said Wilkinson of the test against the likes of Real Madrid playmaker Luca Modric.

"Now we need to step up again if we want to do well against Chile. The more you play the more confidence you get," added Wilkinson.

Chile impressed in their qualifiers under Jorge Sampaoli, who welcomed back mercurial Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal for their friendly win over Northern Ireland after keyhole surgery on a meniscus problem.

Wilkinson said he felt privileged to be in Brazil with the Socceroos as they try to spring a surprise.

"I've been lucky enough to play the last two (games) -- the aim is to be there in the starting eleven. Hopefully I've done enough.

Noting Chile have several top names such as Vidal and Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez, he said: "You have to show respect but why can't we go at them and surprise them?

"You go to the World Cup to play the best," he insisted, adding the Australians would not be cowed. 

"We are a physical nation. We like getting stuck in. But that's not to say that's all we're going to do.

"They're expecting us to be physical and we will be physical -- but also want to show them we can play football as well."

Davidson, who speaks Portuguese after spending two seasons in Portugal before a move to Dutch side Almelo, laughed when asked if his language skills had made him "a hit" with the local ladies.

"Personally I have a girlfriend so I'm out of the game," he joked.

"On a serious note I think we're here to do the business; we're here to play football. We've got to concentrate on that."

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