When Ange Postecoglou named his final squad last week, Tommy Oar was a no-brainer. A vibrant attacking winger who has shown the potential to give some of the world’s best defenders headaches with his killer crossing and forward runs, his recent performances a glimpse of what we can expect from Oar in Brazil. Being a prime product of the Postecoglou-Roar football factory it’s no surprise Ange will call upon his services on Saturday morning to face Chile, an exciting challenge for Oar.
“There’s an element of excitement and determination to win and make our mark at the World Cup,” Oar tells TURF.
“From our perspective, there’s nothing to lose.The pressure will completely be on the other three teams when we come up against them and the world will be expecting them to get a good result against us.”
Surprisingly at just 22 years old, Oar is a veteran Socceroo compared to some of his companions in the Australian ranks. Spending the past four years playing in the Netherlands, over 40 international appearances and with a handful of goals, Oar already has invaluable experience that will be key for Australia in Brazil.
“For us its important to enjoy it and savour the moment, I really think the way we’ve been playing the last few games and improved under Ange we can really turn a few heads and cause some surprises.”
Oar’s softly mannered character often provides a false sense of the mentally tough footballer inside. Spending the past four years since in the Dutch Eredivise with FC Utrecht, Tommy’s established himself as an ever maturing midfielder that’s highly competitive in such a fast moving league.
“Moving to the other side of the world and only being 18 at the time was a challenge.”
“A lot of people were critical that I wasn’t getting enough game time but now I see that experience as being invaluable for me, that you’ve got to be mentally tough to stick it out and I’m reaping the rewards because of it.”
Preparing for a World Cup isn’t anything new for Oar. Four years ago he featured in Pim Verbeek’s preliminary squad, but being cut before securing a seat on the plane to South Africa. Tommy describe’s his time with the national team in 2010 as an invaluable learning experience which he’s keen to capitalise on this time around.
“I’m a bit more familiar with what to expect on and off the field in terms or training for a World Cup. Just to train for so long with the players I had the opportunity to then like Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and had the full month to see how they prepared for a big tournament was a great experience for me. Hopefully I can use that experience this time.”
The Cup draw in December caused much angst amongst the Australian football community, having imminent dates with some of world football’s biggest powerhouses isn’t a task for the fainthearted.
“I was actually watching the draw with my teammates in the change room watching the television and obviously being drawn against Holland with a lot of Dutch players in my team it was quite funny. When you go to the world cup you’ve got to play the world’s best and we certainly have got that.”
However there’s not kidding in the mammoth task that lies ahead for the Socceroos, lessons taught last year by Brazil still cut raw of what to expect.
“I think it’s difficult for people to understand how difficult it was to play them. We couldn’t keep the ball and when you play a team like brazil they have the ball almost the whole match you’re always going to be under a lot of pressure.”
But at the end of the day, a start in the World Cup can only be described as a dream-come true.
“When you’re a kid kicking the ball around, dreaming of being a professional footballer, when you get the chance to represent your country and go on the field you’re achieving that goal, it’s a fantastic feeling.”
Words by Jacob Arnott