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Match 38
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Australia can 'definitely' advance from World Cup group, says Ante Milicic

The FC crew explain why Australia's outlook at the World Cup is dreary after being drawn with France, Peru and Denmark.
ESPN's Julien Laurens believes France will be very happy after drawing Australia, Peru and Denmark.

Stand-in Socceroos coach Ante Milicic sees enough in the World Cup draw to believe Australia can get out of its group with France, Denmark and Peru.

And he's even banking on a bit of local support, thousands of kilometres from home.

The Socceroos are without a coach but aren't short of confidence after coming through a marathon 22-match qualification process to reach the Russian tournament.

"It is obvious when you are in Pot 4 that you are going to come up against three strong opponents, and if you look at the FIFA rankings that's what we've got," Milicic said from Moscow.

"Although it's a difficult group we believe in ourselves and definitely [can] advance, progress from the group."

The biggest win for the Socceroos from Friday's draw came on the organisational front.

"In terms of logistics, we couldn't really be happier with the draw," Milicic said.

After choosing a home base of Kazan long before the names were called out, Australia will play their opening fixture there against France. The second group game, against Denmark, is in Samara -- just 360 kilometres away.

Australia came through the playoffs to qualify for the World Cup.

The final, and potentially decisive fixture, is in familiar territory of Sochi, where the Socceroos spent five days this year for the Confederations Cup.

Milicic said he was "quite pleased" to have opted for Kazan as a training venue given the draw -- and he's hoping locals take the Socceroos on as their own.

"We checked out close to 12 training bases... and we're very comfortable with the facility. We think it will suit our squad well," he said.

"I think we'd like to get a little bit of support from the locals and not to mention our travelling fans that were fantastic last time in Brazil.

"Playing the first one at home, you could say, as we're based there, it's an advantage."

But Milicic knows he's facing three of the world's top-12 ranked nations, and France is one of the favourites to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy.

But with nothing to lose, Milicic says the Socceroos will throw everything at Les Bleus -- who have memories of the last meeting, a 6-0 triumph that led to the sacking of Holger Osieck as Australian coach, in mind.

"I think the majority of the French public will have that result fresh in their mind," he said. "A lot has changed since then for both teams, but particularly for us.

"We are looking forward to the game with France... the boys really enjoy playing these big football nations to show what they are capable of."

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