Filopoulos, Burns talk FIFA Confederations Cup

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup is less than a month away, as we review the Socceroos chances and more leading into the international tournament.

We ask Chief Executive Officer Peter Filopoulos and 11-time Caltex Socceroo Jacob Burns for their predictions for the international tournament in Russia.

Who will be the Socceroos star in Russia?

PF: Tom Rogic will be the stand out. He's an exciting player, I've followed his career at Celtic and I'm looking forward to seeing him excel in the national team.
JB: I think Aaron Mooy has to be, off the back of the season he's just had with Huddersfield City and the hype around him, he'll be the key to our success in this tournament.

We've seen many Socceroos break-through as regular first team players in massive tournaments; Brett Holman at the 2010 World Cup, Matt McKay at the 2011 Asian Cup, Matt Leckie at the 2014 World Cup and Massimo Luongo at the 2015 Asian Cup. Who is the break-through for this tournament?

PF: Ajdin Hrustic is exciting; he came through the juniors at South Melbourne. I enjoy seeing players like that take an unusual pathway that brings them back the Socceroos.
JB: I actually like the look of Jackson Irvine, he's a little different and based on his last few performances in the Socceroos jersey, he's one to watch. He can score, create and get into good areas like Massimo Luongo.

Germany have selected a young side for the tournament, eager to prove their case for selection for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Joachim Loew. We face them in the first game of the group in Sochi, how will we fare against the World Champions?

PF: With Ange Postecoglou at the helm and having worked closely with him in the past, anything is possible. He'll field the team that's going to get the result for the Socceroos.
JB: I think it's going to be an extremely tough game, regardless of whether the team is full-strength or young guys coming through ready to prove themselves. They'll have plenty of depth and are a strong nation across all levels. It's going to be an incredibly tough game for us, that's why they're the reigning world champions.

Cameroon seem to be the easiest match of the group at this stage, but underestimate them at your peril; they became African Champions in some style. What do you make of them as Group B opponents?

PF: One thing I do know about Ange is that he never underestimates any opposition, so he'll prepare the team for the game with full focus. He'll make sure none of the players think there's an easy or a hard game in the group.
JB: Another dangeorus team to win the African Cup of Nations. They're physically strong, have a lot of flair going forward and have a totally unpredicatable style of play, so we'll have to be at our best to compete in this game.

In 2014, Chile edged past the Socceroos in a high-tempo 3-1 World Cup in Cuiaba in Brazil. 3 years later in St. Petersburg, do we improve on our result?

PF: I'm always positive and glass-half-full, I think we'll improve on the result and maybe surprise. I'll say 2-1 to the Socceroos!
JB: I think the Socceroos have always got to look to improve against the big football nations with rich history. They've got Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal playing for the biggest clubs in Europe and dominating; it's another healthy test and wonderful challenge for our Aussie boys. All three teams in our group offer three different styles of football but knowing Ange will focus on our game first and foremost, I believe we'll take it to the opposition.

New Zealand also head to the tournament in a group with Russia, Portugal and Mexico. What do you make of their chances of getting out of the group?

PF: I really don't spend too much time thinking about New Zealand's plight, but I wish them all the best.
JB: They're going to be up against it in an extremely tough group. It's going to be a very difficult challenge with the host nation being in there, especially with Portugal and Mexico in there. They'll have to call upon the experience in their international boys like Winston Reid who come up against high quality players week in week out in the English Premier League.

Which country wins the tournament?

PF: I'm going to say Portugal. No particular reason, Cristiano Ronaldo could be the factor.
JB: Germany seem to the be favourite but I wouldn't rule out a surprise in Portugal or the home nation Russia. I think it always comes down to squad selection and who's available.


Heading to the tournament? Join up with Jacob Burns and other Perth Glory fans in Russia, details here: