WELL PREPARED: Socceroos star Aaron Mooy controls the ball during an Australian training session in Antalya, Turkey ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
WELL PREPARED: Socceroos star Aaron Mooy controls the ball during an Australian training session in Antalya, Turkey ahead of the World Cup in Russia. Robert Cianflone

Mooy says Socceroos ready to take on favourites France

FOOTBALL: Socceroos star Aaron Mooy says Australia will walk onto the field for their World Cup opener in Kazan next month as France's equals, undaunted by reputations or unfavourable predictions.

France, who tuned up for the Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Ireland in Paris on Tuesday (AEST), are tournament favourites along with Germany, Spain and Brazil.

The last time Australia faced a previous winner first up the result was ugly. A 4-0 loss to Germany in 2010 under Pim Verbeek all but ended their hopes of progression.

Mooy said mentality and belief would be crucial on June 16.

"If you want to compete, you have to take out the big boys," he said.

"We deserve to be there as much as them.

"I'm sure the manager, the boss, will try and give us as much chance to get something out of the game."

Mooy is an instrumental part of the Australian side but makes his World Cup debut in Russia.

Four years ago, he was just emerging as a top-tier talent in Melbourne City's midfield after half-starts at other clubs.

Without experience at the global showpiece, Mooy fell short of predicting Australia would get out of their group - completed by top-12 nations Denmark and Peru.

"It's hard to say whether we'll qualify because we're starting afresh. We haven't been with the new coaching staff for too long," he said.

"But we all believe in what they're doing and I think we've got a chance for sure.

"We'll be very well prepared. It's all about making that chance as big as we can."

Mooy helped Huddersfield secure another Premier League season with a strong campaign in midfield and has been linked with a move to more established club West Ham.

He insists he's happy with the underdogs, raising a family in England's West Yorkshire, and is focusing in on the World Cup.

"I'm happy (at Huddersfield). We're happy here," he said.

"I've got a two-and-a-half year-old and another one on the way, due the start of September.

"Players say going to a World Cup, it's one of the best parts of their career and I can't wait."

- AAP

News Corp Australia


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