Australia’s ‘Docceroos’ will hoping to 'do an Iceland' at the World Medical Football Championships kicking off tomorrow (Sat) at Barcelona's famed academy training grounds.
An annual event, this year’s tournament will see approximately 600 medical practitioners from 22 nations trade plasters for shin pads and femurs for footballs with the hope of being crowned the world’s best on 16 July.
Click here for the tournament's official site
The Docceroos feature players from around Australia and have been training for months under the guidance of respected youth coach Ian Greener.
The squads hold their selection trials every November with an interstate tournament doubling as the pathway to the national side.
Docceroos co-captain Dr Miguel Taliana is confident the squad are in with a chance of claiming a first ever medal since the Aussie team's formation in 2003.
“We want to at least make the quarter-finals but I don’t think it’s out of our reach to make the semi-finals,” he said.
“However all the teams are getting better every year. They get more and more professional.
“We were the first nation to have a physiotherapist. Now there are quite a few nations with physios. A lot of them have training camps like we do too."
Coinciding with the tournament will be the 22nd International Symposium of Medicine in Health and Sport, which sees medical professionals from around the world collaborate on the cutting edge technologies and treatments in the sports medicine industry.
The knowledge learned at the conference will have implications for footballers across the country with the majority of squad members having an association with football clubs ranging from Hyundai A-League to grassroots around the country.
Another important pillar of the Docceroos’ philosophy is the advocacy and charity work they do, especially in raising awareness about men’s health issues.
Also in action will be the Master Docceroos, who will contest an over 45s 7-aside competition, with 12 teams set to compete for the Clemens Vogel Cup.
On the pitch Taliana believes a strong defence will hold the key to the Docceroos progressing to the knock-out stages.
“A big focus for us is the defence, I think that’s what wins these tournaments.” said Taliana
“We feel like we’ve strengthened in terms of depth this year and we’ve definitively got stronger attacking options in terms of goals scorers as well as creativity.
“We wouldn’t be considered one of the top half dozen favourites but you never know.
“We are hoping to do something special this year. You’ve got to dream. We hope to do an Iceland!”