Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan is looking to create special memories for Australia during the FIFA World Cup, with the country's campaign beginning against France this morning (11am UK time).
The Socceroos begin their campaign today at the Kazan Arena, and he discussed his predecessors who have also plied their trade in England, as well as looking ahead to the tournament in Russia.
He said, “Australian goalkeepers have done well historically in world football, and it’s nice to be a part of that group of players now in England.
“If I can continue contributing to the legacy that they’ve left on English football, then I’ll be very happy.
“I’ve played in the Confederations Cup in Russia last year for my country, but you never know what to expect at these tournaments, especially at the World Cup.
“I look at individual performers down the years at the tournament and you look at people like Tim Cahill when he scored for us against Holland in 2014 - that’s the tournament personified because special moments are created, fingers crossed we create a few more of those.”
Bert van Marwijk’s Socceroos will also face Denmark and Peru, as well as Les Bleus today, in Group C of the competition, and Ryan insisted that the side’s performances would have to be of a high level regardless of their scheduled group opposition.
“When the group was drawn, we saw we had France first – those are the sorts of challenges that you relish as a footballer.
“I love playing matches and being successful and whenever you play the big nations you have to embrace those challenges.
“But when the draw came out, I didn’t really have a preference, I just knew that as a team we would have to play three of the best games of our lives to try and reach the knockout stages.”
The goalkeeper’s debut season in the top flight has seen the former Valencia man establish himself as Chris Hughton’s first choice in-between the sticks.
Ryan highlighted that his move to Albion was made with the intention of testing himself against the best players in the world ahead of his international duties.
“I’ve played against world-class players this season and that’s what’s been so important for me with Brighton.
“I wanted to test myself against the best players in the world in order to prepare me for the tournament and I feel like that’s exactly what I’ve done by coming to the club this season.
“It’s an environment where I’ve got a lot of experience and to have also been successful against them instils me with belief that we can achieve something at the World Cup.”