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Hard road to Qatar doesn't faze Roo Ryan

3 minute read

Goalkeeper Maty Ryan says taking the hard road to the 2022 World Cup is not fazing the Socceroos as they prepare for the playoffs.

AARON MOOY. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Socceroos goalkeeper Maty Ryan is confident taking the hard road to Qatar won't derail Australia's bid to reach a fifth straight World Cup finals.

The Socceroos are just weeks away from learning if they'll be at this year's World Cup in November with the last spots for the 32-nation tournament to be decided via playoffs next month.

Australia face the United Arab Emirates in an Asian playoff in Doha on June 7 with the winner of that match to take on South American nation Peru six days later at the same venue for a place in the World Cup.

Having faded badly in the final half of their third round of qualifying to be pipped for an automatic spot behind Japan and Saudi Arabia, the pressure is firmly on coach Graham Arnold and his players to reverse their recent poor form and reach the finals.

Ryan believes the return of several key players that were absent for the previous window such as Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine and Adam Taggart can only strengthen Australia's squad while youngsters given a chance in recent windows have added competition for places.

"It doesn't matter how you get there, as long as you get there," Ryan said in an interview with La Liga TV, where he has just finished the season with Spanish club Real Sociedad.

"As Australians we tend to do things the hard way.

"Looking at any advantage we can have, we've played some qualifying games already in Qatar in the campaign thus far. Got some experience in doing that.

"Based on the last camp we've got some real key personnel that will be fit and all that again, coming back. We blooded some new talent in the last camp as well.

"We've given guys some great experience and they showed also that they stepped up and it creates more competition for spots.

"Using all of those tools and putting all of that into place, I believe very much so that we can go on and qualify for Qatar come the end of the year."

If Australia reach Qatar it would be Ryan's third World Cup after being part of Australia's squads for Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018.

This time would however be extra special for the 30-year-old given he has emerged as Australia's captain during the campaign following the international retirement of Mark Milligan at the end of 2019.

"There's a number of dreams that you continually have by being a professional footballer that keep occurring all the time and that would be another example," Ryan said.

"There's nothing like it.

"The hype that's just around it, it's like no other that I've experienced or witnessed.

"The whole world stops for the World Cup ... (it's) the highest of highs there is in football.

"That's what we're all trying to get and achieve."

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