SYDNEY (Reuters) - Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak accepts that people will write off Australia’s chances at the World Cup but says his experience at Crystal Palace had shown him that surprises are always possible.
The 29-year-old midfielder was appointed Australia captain on Wednesday after a stellar season as skipper at Palace, who staged a remarkable revival in the second half of the season to finish 11th in the Premier League.
Along the way they played a big role in the title race by beating Chelsea 1-0 and holding Liverpool to a 3-3 draw over the final few games of the season.
Australia’s task in taking on world champions Spain, Netherlands and Chile in the group stage in Brazil next month is one that would be a big challenge for any country but Jedinak believes they might just be able to produce a shock or two.
“If this season was any indication for me, all I’ll say to you is I was written off every week last year,” Jedinak said.
”We were always supposed to get a hiding - we all know how that turned out.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win games or get points but, if you have everyone pulling together and playing at their utmost, their maximum every game, you never know - surprises can happen.”
Jedinak played all but the last half-hour of the campaign for Palace and said it was too early to know whether the groin injury that curtailed his season would prevent him from playing against South Africa in next Monday’s warm-up in Sydney.
“I have been working closely with the physios and medical staff since I got here,” he told reporters at the Socceroos’ training camp north of Sydney.
“It is coming along nicely (but) I haven’t made it on the field for training yet so make of that what you want.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ian Ransom