World Cup 2014: Villa analyst discusses Socceroos adventure
Villa performance analyst Chris Bradley hopes his input can help Australia defy the odds at the World Cup.
Sydney-born Bradley answered his country's call by joining the Socceroos setup as an opposition scout for this summer's tournament in Brazil.
His remit is to prepare detailed analysis on Chile, Netherlands and holders Spain, who Australia will come up against in the so-called 'Group of Death'.
This includes observations on formations, tactics, set plays and individual players, which will then be presented to head coach Ange Postecoglou and his assistants for use in their pre-match preparations.
"It is mostly preparing for the opposition, scouting their games then helping put together pre-match presentations and analysis for the coaching staff and for team meetings," said Bradley, who oversees performance analysis for Villa's academy.
"I always have to be one game ahead. During the season I went out to a game when Chile played Germany in Stuttgart.
"The coach Ange had asked if I could do it as a one-off. [Villa academy manager] Bryan Jones allowed me to go, which was great.
"They were happy with the report and from there they asked me if I could come to the World Cup."
Friday night's Group B clash against Chile in Cuiba has been the major focus for Bradley and his colleagues in recent weeks .
However, while Australia are preparing to kick off their campaign, the globetrotting Villa analyst will continue his travels to take a look at future opponents.
The tournament opener in Sao Paolo between Brazil and Croatia - both potential second round opponents for the Socceroos if they do qualify - is first on the agenda, followed by a trip to Salvador to watch Spain's clash against Holland.
Nevertheless, Bradley will be keeping a close eye on his compatriots.
A good start is imperative if they are to cause an upset and reach the knockout stages.
"Prior to this, I was in Chile for a week," said Bradley.
"I saw them play Egypt first then I saw them play Northern Ireland. They are a very, very good team with a lot of strengths.
"I've seen Alexis Sanchez play live now four times and I've not seen a player quicker than him. He is lightning.
"They play a certain way - a high pressing game - and it is very much based on going forward.
"I think we'll definitely get chances in the game but then it comes down to how well we do with the ball.
"We've had a real big focus on Chile because if we can get a good result in the first game then that momentum will go a long way."
Bradley joined Villa's academy two years ago following a four-year stint at top sports performance analysis and data insight company Amisco.
It is the second time he has been involved in a World Cup, having been part of the New Zealand setup in South Africa four years ago.
Despite bowing out in the group stage with three draws, the All-Whites achieved the distinction of being the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
With the odds stacked against Australia this time, Bradley hopes the Socceroos can cause a few surprises just as their near neighbours did in 2010.
"It is the group of death and Australia are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament so we've got everything to gain and nothing to lose really," he added.
"But Ange has really turned things round here. He is really strong in his beliefs and philosophy.
"He had a lot of success in Australia and he has definitely won over all the players. They've really bought into it."
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