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World Cup a real eye-opener, admits Ryan

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CURITIBA, Brazil - Young Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan admits the World Cup has provided him with a brutal reality check.

After having nine goals put past him in Australia's three defeats, including the 3-0 loss to Spain yesterday, the 22-year-old gloveman has vowed to learn and improve from the harsh lessons in Brazil.

"It's been a massive eye-opener for me, coming to this top level and seeing the individuals we're up against," said Ryan.

"They're unbelievably talented, and it's massive learning experience to see the skills they possess and the speed they have.

"Conceding three goals in every game just isn't good enough. It's a real eye-opener and I have to work really hard on my game to improve."

Ryan arrived in Brazil as Ange Postecoglou's clear choice to fill the great Mark Schwarzer's shoes, coming off a standout maiden campaign in the Belgium top flight where he was named goalkeeper of the year for his work at Club Brugge.

But coming up against some of the world's best attackers in Chile's Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez, Dutch duo Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben and Spain's endless list of superstars including David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata was another huge step up.

Ryan was certainly not to blame for all nine goals Australia conceded, though he admits his blunder that gifted Holland the winner in Australia's heartbreaking 3-2 loss fuelled him to do better against Spain.

Despite a better showing, Ryan could do little to stop the fierce attacking firepower of the chastened world No.1 side.

"After what happened with the third goal against Holland, I had to come out today with a bit of a reaction," he said.

"The first 45 minutes was probably the most comfortable for me in the whole tournament, it felt like my best."

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