Hey! It's just like the days of 'old soccer' - the coach paying his assistants. In this instance, it's because FFA wanted to hang-on to the small backroom army that were already in place and Bert van Marwijk said 'Hey guys, if you want results in such a short time, it's my way or the highway'. As a result, van Marwijk has his people in place, but he's paying for them. One might presume, therefore, that the FFA backroom staff who were not required are not there, as a money-saving strategy? Well, no. They are there also.

Tomi Juric says he is keen to return to action and hopes to get substantial game time against Hungary in Sunday morning's friendly match in Budapest. From Budapest, they head to Russia and their home base of Kazan. 

Perhaps it's his youth and, therefore, unbridled confidence, or maybe he really was prescient but Daniel Arzani (pictured) predicted to his brother, Ben, that he would be at the World Cup two years ago. Daniel did not play an A-League game until January this year. 

Which Socceroos might attract attention of agents and clubs at the World Cup? About half the squad according to David Davutovic's list.

There was a mini mass exodus to China for Australian players a few years ago - something that alarmed Ange Postecoglou - but it's dried-up in recent times with the Chinese FA placing a cap on the number of foreigners in a starting XI. The reason they went? (It's not as if we don't know the answer ...) Money. If you were offered “15-20 times more”, you'd probably make the move too. 

Aaron Mooy says the rollercoaster of emotions surviving the Premier League with Huddersfield was “like being on drugs” and was far worse than the physical toll. Let's hope he's had a bit of a mental break at least before he takes the field v France. 

A-League expansion

Sydney FC weighed-in on A-League expansion yesterday with Chairman Scott Barlow lending support to the south-west Sydney bid, backed by yet another property billionaire Lang Walker based around Campbelltown (and not the one based around Liverpool) because the region “is the future of Sydney”. (Some might argue it's actually another city, Sydney has sprawled so far in almost every direction).

But - and here's the kicker - Barlow went on to say what many of us have already said that the Southern Expansion bid is “deeply flawed. You cannot build a passionate, parochial, rusted-on fan base from three unrelated areas. The last thing we need in the A-League is a nomadic club. I believe it would be destined to fail.” And Barlow put out the statement, while the apparently unconflicted Southern Expansion spokesperson and SBS-TV personality fronting the World Cup broadcast Craig Foster, is in the air for 24 hours or more on his way to the international broadcast centre in Moscow. 

Another report on Sydney FC's statement here

World Cup

In all the mounting excitement, someone has to remind us that we're going to have the VAR at this year's tournament. (Cue: screaming A-League fans). BUT VAR officials in Russia are confident it will stand up to scrutiny, because they'll do it properly, and decisions will be explained to fans. 

Suddenly, Jose Mourinho is one of our favourites again, as he has predicted Australia to finish second in the group and progress to the second stage. “I think France, no problems, will finish first,” Mourinho said. “Big fight to finish second. I’ll go for a surprise. C’mon Australia, let’s finish second!”

Also in the same item, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirms that there will be no official Australian Government delegation to the World Cup - saving taxpayers' money although the reason, of course, is political - but Socceroos matches will be attended by the Australian Ambassador to Russia. 

A look at the 'must see' matches, which includes France v Australia. 

England player, Danny Rose, says his family is not travelling to Russia for the World Cup for fear of being racially abused

International friendlies

Results of international friendlines in the past 24 hours. 

  • South Korea, 0 v Bolivia, 0
  • England, 2 v Costa Rica, 0
  • Portugal, 3 v Algeria, 0
  • Iceland, 2 v Ghana, 2

socceroos, 2018 world cup, a-league expansion