Two huge Socceroo wins within a week have secured the nation’s passage through to the final stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, to be held in Russia.
Although neither Tajikistan nor Jordan can be mistaken for footballing powerhouses, the manner in which the Socceroos dominated both games was encouraging.
Ange Postecoglou was appointed manager of the side to usher in a new era for the Socceroos, although given the amount of talent on show, he may be ushering in the new ‘Golden Era’.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the ‘Golden Era’ refers to members of the Socceroos squad who ended our long exile from the World Cup back in 2006.
Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer, Brett Emerton, Mark Viduka and co make up the side often referred to as our greatest ever.
Although this current side doesn’t have the star power of the names mentioned before, I’d argue that this side could be the one that takes us even further on the world’s biggest stage.
Having captured the Asian Cup for the first time, an argument could be made that this is our most successful side ever.
Their win in January of 2015 secured the nation’s first major tournament trophy. With all due respect to Oceana region, the likes of the Cook Islands and Tahiti are unlikely to rival the Japans and South Koreas of the Asian qualifiers.
It may be with a fair amount of green and gold inspired hyperbole, but I genuinely believe this side could be anything.
For a start the man widely regarded as the greatest ever Socceroo leads the line in the form of Tim Cahill.
For all the flack the 36 year-old cops on social media, and truthfully most of it is tongue in cheek, no Socceroo has ever achieved the heights of the former Everton star.
At 36, he will likely retire after the Russian hosted World Cup, if selected in the squad.
As good as Kewell and Emerton were, Cahill is undoubtedly the most highly regarded Socceroo of the modern era.
At only 30 years of age I cannot speak for the sides before my time, but it would take something very special to top what Cahill has achieved.
Most generations are defined by their attacking players, and this current side has some absolute gems.
23 year-old Tom Rogic looks as though he is about to embark on a career that will see his name plastered across the back of youngster’s jerseys for many years to come.
The former Mariner has put together a highlight reel of goals during his time for Celtic, while he seems to grow with every outing for his national side.
If Rogic is not the future star in terms of attack, fellow 23 year-old Massimo Luongo’s name will certain be in that discussion.
Arguably the star of the Socceroos’ Asian Cup tournament in 2014/15, Luongo is playing regularly for QPR in England’s second highest division.
Aaron Mooy, 25, is without a doubt the best local product currently playing in the A-League, and you could even argue he is the best player in the league period.
He is scoring and setting up goals for fun for Melbourne City, and has had little problems bringing that brilliant form into the international set up.
Mooy’s presence over every dead ball situation leads to a level of anticipation, as his delivery this season has been top class, adding another route of attack for both club and country.
Throw in Robbie Kruse (27) and Matt Leckie (25), and you have a supremely talented group of young, attacking stars.
That’s without mentioning the two men who combined to secured victory for the Socceroos in last year’s Asian Cup final in Tomi Juric (24) and James Troisi (27), neither of which were in the squad for last night’s 5-1 win over Jordan.
23 year-old Matt Ryan is the brightest prospect we have had between the sticks since Mark Schwarzer, and is gaining confidence having played regularly in Spain’s top division throughout the season.
Apostolos Giannou (26) made his debut for the Socceroos against Tajikistan, laying on an assist and earning his side two penalties with smart runs inside the box. Although it is still very early in his international career, the signs are good.
20 year-old Chris Ikonomidis also looks like one for the future. He’s currently playing on loan in Serie B, and has two caps to his name despite his young age.
Despite not attracting the same sort of plaudits as their attacking counterparts, the Socceroos defensive line is also in good shape.
The four men who started against Jordan were, Brad Smith (21), Trent Sainsbury (24), Bailey Wright and Josh Risdon (both 23). Ryan McGowan who started against Tajikistan was the elder statesman of the backline at only 26.
It would be asking a bit much to ask this young group of Socceroos to lift the World Cup in 2018, but with over two-years between now and kick off to the World’s largest event, this side could develop into anything.
By the time 2022 rolls around, the sky may truly be the limit.
In Ange we trust.