Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk is using La Liga side Atletico Madrid as unlikely inspiration for Australia ahead of the World Cup.
Much like with Atletico and their fierce rivals Real Madrid, the Socceroos are up against the odds in Russia drawn in a group alongside France, Denmark and Peru.
Though with a fraction of the budget of Real, Atletico have been able to carve out significant success of their own claiming yet another Europa League title this past season and in fact finishing higher than Real in La Liga.
Built upon a rigid defense and an attack that thrives on the counter, Diego Simeone's side is proving somewhat of an inspiration for Bert van Marwijk as he looks to find some success for Australia in Russia.
Socceroos goalkeeper Maty Ryan spent some of his career in La Liga for Valencia and revealed the emphasis van Marwijk has placed on Atletico's approach to Australia during camp in Turkey.
"He’s been talking about Atletico Madrid a lot," Ryan told The Age.
"Technically they don’t have the most skillful and talented players in La Liga when you compare them to the likes of about Real and Barcelona but [van Marwijk] says they have the best team in terms of camaraderie, the way in which they defend, keeping it very compact and very tight.
"He's basing our defensive structure on the way they defend. That real togetherness and grit when you watch Atletico play."
Atletico finished the most recent La Liga season in second, one place higher than Real, and conceded a league-low 22 goals throughout the campaign.
That number was half of what their Madrid rivals let in and seven fewer than Barcelona, who won the La Liga title.
While defensively compact, Ryan revealed it was Atletico's well-timed aggressive pressing that has laid the foundations for Australia.
"Initially, that's been most of our work, how we press teams," he said.
"If you watch the way Atletico Madrid defend, there’s absolutely no space there when they come up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
"They struggle to have any success against them because they’re absolutely suffocated for time and space on the ball."
The Socceroos will be looking to show just how much they've learned over the past two weeks when they face the Czech Republic in a friendly on Friday night and Hungary a week later on June 10.
Australia will then need to channel their Atletico spirit in their World Cup opener against France on June 16 before subsequent games against Denmark and Peru.