Ahead of the Socceroos clash with reigning World and European Champions Spain, injured Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic shares with the PFA his World Cup experience and tips the Socceroos to defy the odds against Spain.

“When the draw game out people said we were in the group of death.” Ivan Franjic says of the moment their World Cup group was announced. “But for a footballer that is what you want – to test yourself against the best.”

In the opening two games against South American heavyweights Chile and perennial challengers the Netherlands they have indeed been tested. In both matches the Socceroos have embraced the challenge that Franjic spoke off.

After a nervy opening 15 minutes the Socceroos weathered the storm against Chile and were unlucky not to get a draw in their 3-1 loss. Against  the Netherlands the Socceroos for much of the match took the game to their opponents and at one stage lead 2-1 before succumbing 3-2.

Whilst many may have been surprised by the Socceroos performances Franjic is not amongst them. “We have always had the belief that we could produce a good performance. At the end of the day it is about being a good team,” said the Brisbane Roar right back. “We knew if we could gel together we would be a very good team. We didn’t want to be one of those teams that sits back.”

Franjic admits that their belief was tested in the opening minutes of the clash with Chile when they raced to a two nil lead in what he described as a “very disappointing opening 15 minutes.” After the opening stages it quickly got better for Franjic and his Socceroos teammates with the 26-year-old sending in a pinpoint cross for Tim Cahill to score to halve the deficit just before half-time.

“Ange has said to us as all along ‘as long as you keep believing no matter what happens, whether you go one or two down just keep going the way we have been working on and we will turn it around.’ Obviously not as far as we would have liked but the first game gave us something to take into game two.”

Unfortunately for Franjic there would be no game two with a hamstring injury against Chile ruling him out of the remainder of the tournament. In his absence the Socceroos would dominate against a Dutch side coming off a 5-1 hammering of Spain. Having worked so hard to get himself to the World Cup the Melbourne born player admits it was difficult not to be on the pitch.

“Personally it was very hard for me but at the end of the day it is all about the team and the nation. I was shattered when we lost because I think we deserved to win the game especially the way we played in the first half.”

Despite all the plaudits the team received for their efforts against the Dutch, Franjic predicted that the Socceroos would be desperate to finish on a high against the reigning Champions.

“Spain is a world class nation, they have been dominating games but just not scoring goals but I think with the boys confidence from the last two games means we could win this game and finish the tournament on a high note.”

Here’s to the Socceroos shocking the World once again.