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Low key arrival for unfancied Socceroos

Tim Cahill

Kazan – Australia on Sunday finally arrived at their base in chilly Kazan, where the ‘Socceroos’ will begin preparations for what many pundits believe will be yet another early departure from the Soccer World Cup.

Scheduled to meet highly-fancied France in their World Cup opener on June 16, Bert Van Marwijk’s men touched down shortly after midday and made the short trip from Kazan airport to their hotel and training complex a few kilometres from the centre of the colourful, windswept Tatar city.

Australia, whose best World Cup performance was reaching the last 16 under Guus Hiddink in 2006, are based at the Trudovye Rezervy Stadium, the training centre of local top ice-hockey side Ak Bars Kazan.

Van Marwijk’s greatest moment was leading the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010, when the ‘Oranje’ were beaten 1-0 by Spain in South Africa.

But this current Australia crop would only seriously begin to impress home fans if they managed to qualify from a Group C also featuring Denmark and Peru.

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