World Cup 2018: Socceroos - and their fans - gear up

FOUR years’ waiting is almost at end for Australia’s football fraternity.

After the Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk knows it's easier said than done.

"You have to have the guts to play and be yourself," he said.

So van Marwijk has implored his Australian underdogs to snap at fancied France in Saturday's World Cup Group C opener in Russia.

"When suddenly (Paul) Pogba is standing in front of you or (Antoine) Griezmann and (Kylian) Mbappe ... you must not be impressed," van Marwijk said.

"You can have respect. But you must not be impressed. You must be yourself."

Van Marwijk was adamant the Socceroos had improved under his watch - he was appointed coach in January, two months after the resignation of Ange Postecoglou. By how much? Read more

Tim Cahill.

Tim Cahill.

Retirement not on Socceroo Cahill's mind

Socceroos legend Tim Cahill says he's spent a year thinking and preparing for three matches: the Socceroos' group games in Russia.

What's beyond that, he's yet to contemplate as he prepares to run out for Australia at a fourth World Cup.

Cahill's extraordinary longevity has led to him to become the record scorer for the national team. Read more

Australian head coach Bert van Marwijk (centre) speaks with his players during a training session at the Socceroos training base, Stadium Trudovye Rezervy.

Australian head coach Bert van Marwijk (centre) speaks with his players during a training session at the Socceroos training base, Stadium Trudovye Rezervy.

How Bert won over the Socceroos

The Socceroos gathered together in freezing Oslo in March, shivering and nervous about what the future might hold.

They were heading to a World Cup in just a few months but the coach that steered them to Russia had gone.

Out went Ange Postecoglou, and in his place came Bert van Marwijk - a third Dutchman to oversee Australia's World Cup campaign in four tournaments.

It wasn't that the Socceroos were wedded to Postecoglou. Read more