Bayer Leverkusen's Robbie Kruse has expressed his sympathy for ousted Australia coach Holger Osieck.
But the 25-year-old has backed the Socceroos to give a good account of themselves at the FIFA World Cup.
Osieck was axed by Football Federation Australia after overseeing successive 6-0 defeats in friendlies away to Brazil and France in September and October.
Kruse made his international debut during the German coach's tenure, going on to become a first-team regular, and was sorry to see him go.
"I feel bad for Holger Osieck, he led us toward the World Cup in Brazil, and now is not in charge anymore," Kruse told the Leverkusen website.
"In previous friendlies we lost against France and Brazil 6-0 (in) each game, he had to leave afterwards. Obviously these were tough opponents he chose, he could (have chosen) easy teams as well, but he wanted to see how we would deal with that pressure. And we are facing such strong teams in the World Cup anyhow.
"We are aware we might have the toughest group with the Netherlands, Spain and Chile, no-one really expects much from us, but who knows, maybe we can cause some damage and surprise Chile in the first match."
After earning a move from Melbourne Victory to German club Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2011, Kruse made another step up when he signed for traditional Bundesliga heavyweights Bayer Leverkusen in April.
"If I look back I have to admit it was a very emotional year in my career," he said.
"Now that this year is over, I can also say that it has been one of my most successful ones.
"However it didn't start well, we played a disappointing second part of the previous campaign with Fortuna (Dusseldorf), even though the first half of it was quite good. The outcome was relegation, of which I felt sorry for the fans and club.
"For me personally it was a weird situation: On one hand I was sad about being relegated with Dusseldorf, on the other I was looking forward to my move to Leverkusen and playing Champions League. I enjoyed myself in Dusseldorf ... I'm grateful they gave me (a) chance. But then I was really looking forward to my new (move to) Leverkusen and the next step of my career."
Kruse was honoured with an individual accolade from FFA in November, and hopes his success overseas can serve as an inspiration to aspiring players back home.
"I am very proud to be Footballer of the Year in Australia," he said.
"I feel honoured, and I am proud to be an Australian. I think this award will encourage many young talented players to try their luck in Europe."
|Inzaghi finds positives in lacklustre display|
|Eredivisie Review: AZ move third, Propper fires Vitesse to victory|
|Chievo 0 Milan 0: Pressure back on Inzaghi|
|Bundesliga Review: Derby win for Dortmund superheroes, Leverkusen go fourth|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lyon loss leaves door open for PSG|
|Bueno nets perfect hat-trick in four-goal spree for Rayo|
|Carver impressed with Newcastle´s fighting spirit|
|Van Gaal explains Di Maria decision|
|Luis Enrique angered by Granada pitch|
|Sherwood confident of Villa survival|
|Referee East says ´no mistaken identity´ as Poyet pledges to look again|
|League One Review: Robertson and Johnson off to winning starts, Bristol City go eight clear|
|Bruce angered by missed decision|
|Berahino can be ´top class´ - Pulis|
|Grateful Gutierrez thanks ´special´ fans|
|Monk targets Swansea points record|
|Klopp´s ´perfect´ afternoon|
|Victory soured by Ireland injury, says Hughes|
|Championship Review: Middlesbrough´s opportunity missed as Derby are defeated|
|Koeman: I am realistic on Champions League|
|League Two Review: Burton beaten again, Hartlepool gain welcome lift|
|´Triple punishment´ rule could be scrapped|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Inverness slip up as strugglers prosper|
|Mancini wary of Fiorentina quality|
|Hearts attack hits double figures in Scotland|
|West Brom 1 Southampton 0: Berahino wins it, then limps off|
|Manchester United 2 Sunderland 0: Rooney at the double amid red card controversy|
|Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 0: Cisse strike downs visitors|
|Stoke City 1 Hull City 0: Super sub Crouch secures win|
|Granada 1 Barcelona 3: Suarez inspires routine win|
|Burnley 0 Swansea City 1: Trippier own goal proves decisive|
|Borussia Dortmund 3 Schalke 0: Late show seals dominant derby win|
|Referee Dowd fails to make it through West Brom, Saints clash|
|Allardyce ´shocked´ after home loss|
|Pardew lauds Murray after ´mixed afternoon´ for striker|
|West Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3: Pardew enjoys more away-day success|
|Blanc: PSG prepared for confident Monaco|
|Ancelotti: Isco place is non-negotiable|
|Pellegrini out to end dismal record at Anfield|
|Roma v Juventus: Matri eyes glory in title tussle|
|Martinez wary of wounded Arsenal|
|A-League Review: Spectacular Sydney derby the highlight|
|Perez to testify in corruption case|
|Bentaleb determined to avoid European hangover|
|Liverpool cannot dwell on Europa exit, says Rodgers|
|Marquinhos welcomes Manchester United interest|
|Tottenham must be ´nearly perfect´ to beat Chelsea - Pochettino|
|Bielsa: I take responsibility|
|League Cup final ´most important´ for Mourinho|
|Rodgers unsure if European exit will be a blessing|
|Vitoria Guimaraes 1 Maritimo 0: Hosts end winless run|
|Guardiola satisfied with Cologne victory|
|Espanyol 1 Cordoba 0: Abraham goal secures the points|
|Marseille 2 Caen 3: Hosts throw lead away yet again|
|Bayern Munich 4 Cologne 1: Champions move 11 points clear|
|Dordrecht 2 Go Ahead Eagles 1: Klaiber leaves it late|
|Luis Enrique laments English ´campaign´ over Suarez|
|Atletico Madrid v Sevilla: Champions attempt to bounce back|
|De Gea dismisses ´lies´ about Van Gaal relationship|
|Monaco v Paris Saint-Germain: Jardim wants no Champions League distractions|
|Inter v Fiorentina: Both sides on a high after Europa League success|
|Real Madrid v Villarreal: Ancelotti´s side looking to keep chasing pack at bay|
|Arsenal v Everton: Hurting Wenger calls for immediate response|
|Hull and Panathinaikos among four clubs pay FFP fines|
|Liverpool v Manchester City: Champions eye long-awaited Anfield success|
|Lucas Moura out for at least four weeks|
|Chelsea v Tottenham: Mourinho´s men channel spirit of 2005|
|Loan move to Ipswich an easy decision for Wood|
|Qatar World Cup final no later than December 18 - Blatter|
|Martinez excited by Kiev draw|
|Dynamo face disciplinary hearing after crowd trouble|
|Hughes close on signing new Stoke deal|
|Parma game called off again|
|De Boer to stay at Ajax|
|Arnesen backs Vieira as potential future City director of football|
|Mourinho has no fears over Wembley referee|
|Van Persie absent for Sunderland clash|
|Mason hoping to relive 2008 at League Cup final|
|Fiorentina and Roma to meet in Europa League|
|Inter finalise Felipe swoop|
|Poyet delighted to have ´contagious´ Cattermole back|
|Melbourne City 3 Adelaide United 1: Baharudin triggers crucial comeback|
|Chelsea can cope with Matic absence - Terry|
|Mancini: I tried to take Guarin to Galatasaray|
|Wilshere undergoes ankle procedure|
|Bruce: Most Championship clubs would struggle with FFP|
|Henry would say yes to Arsenal job|
|Mignolet backs ´devastated´ Liverpool to regroup|
|Tiote looks set to miss the rest of the season|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Osvaldo scores for Boca, Internacional win|
|Alajuelense 5 DC United 2: Costa Ricans set for semis|
|Besiktas settled score with Liverpool - Cenk|
|Montella: Hard to keep Salah|
|Martinez salutes Everton´s qualification|
|Europa League games marred by crowd trouble|