RIO DE JANEIRO – Australia’s World Cup team landed in Brazil on Wednesday, the first foreign squad to arrive for the tournament that starts in two weeks.
Jerome Valcke, the top FIFA official in charge of the World Cup, welcomed Australia with a message on his Twitter account. “The @Socceroos have landed in Brazil!” he said.
Australia is a heavy underdog in Group B with defending World Cup champion Spain, Chile and the Netherlands. Australia opens June 13 against Chile in the western city of Cuiaba.
The Socceroos will train in Vitoria, which is located about 300 kilometres (200 miles) northeast of Rio de Janeiro.
Midfielder Mark Bresciano, speaking before leaving Australia, said to expect a few surprises from a team ranked only 59th in the world.
Bresciano called it a “very tough group and competition. We are going to go there and try to do our country proud and do ourselves proud and try to shock the world.”
Australia had a three-leg journey to reach Vitoria. The flight from Sydney crossed the Pacific and landed in Santiago, Chile, with the next leg to Curitiba, Brazil, in the south and then on to Vitoria.