Socceroos Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan after a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Socceroos’ Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy provide calm, confident leadership at Qatar’s chaotic World Cup

About halfway down the central annex of the Aspire Academy, where the Socceroos are staying for the duration of their Qatar World Cup campaign, there are two single rooms that sit next door to each other in the hall: W3 and W4.

Most of Australia’s 26 players are sharing apartments in this complex, with two — often good friends — assigned to bunk together. But W3 and W4 are different.

These solo rooms have been reserved for the team’s two leaders, captain Mat Ryan and veteran midfielder Aaron Mooy. As two of the Socceroos’ quieter, more private players, wanting their own space makes sense. It also makes sense for the team, with their similarly understated leadership styles acting like a cool balm across the hot chaos of this World Cup.

There is something striking about both the training base and the squad that has been preparing there for the past week. With all the heat and noise and dust and drama that have engulfed this tournament, the environment that Australia has created is one of almost Zen-like calm.

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