Wednesday 03 February 2016, 11:18

Postecoglou: Russia 2017 a great reward

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has spoken of his excitement ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, with the tournament now 500 days away. While the Official Emblem for the tournament was unveiled at a ceremony in Moscow, the Socceroos coach had been discussing the merits of the "Festival of Champions", with his side reaching Russia thanks to their first AFC Asian Cup win in January 2015.

“Firstly, the Confederations Cup is a great reward for the players and everyone who was involved in our Asian Cup victory,” Postecoglou told “To play in the Confederations Cup against the champions of the other six Confederations, Germany and Russia will be a great experience for the players.

"The Confederations Cup has always been a prestigious event, but over time it has grown into a fantastic tournament where some of the biggest nations in world football come together for a meaningful competition 12 months out from the World Cup."

As well as FIFA World Cup™ winners Germany and the hosts, the Aussies will face Mexico and Chile, along with the champions of Europe, Oceania and Africa. Postecoglou knows the value of getting his squad together for a tournament experience against such international heavyweights, as they build towards the global finals one year later.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for the players to get some valuable experience against big nations in a tournament mode, which is extremely valuable in terms of our progression as a team and also for the players," he continued. “We have a good core group of the squad that will have three years of solid matches and this will be a test that reaches further than a one-off game, and it allows us to get a look at Russia and the conditions that will greet all nations during the 2018 World Cup."

Postecoglou's side currently sit top of their their 2018 World Cup qualifying group, two points ahead of Jordan with two games remaining.

"Of course we have to continue our form in the World Cup Qualifiers, but this is an important part of our plan to make a difference in Russia," Postecoglou concluded.

Only five countries have appeared at more Confederation Cups than Australia, with the Socceroos having graced the tournament three times before as members of the Oceania Football Confederation, most recently in 2005.

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