New road begins for Archie

His smile was gleaming post-match, but now it's all back down to business for Archie Thompson as he paves his own road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

It-s hard to keep the smile off Archie Thompson-s face even at the worst of times, but the likeable striker had it gleaming post-match in the bowels of Stadium Australia last night.

For a man who proudly wears his heart on his sleeve 24/7 when it comes to his country, this was a moment he wasn-t letting go of, not going to forget, and nor should he.

After all it wasn-t that long ago when he was out of favour in the national fold and wasn-t a part of Pim Verbeek-s squad when the Socceroos travelled to South Africa in 2010, despite having gone to Germany under Guus Hiddink in 2006.

Things seem to have come full circle for the Victory striker now, and although he has mostly been used off the bench by current coach Holger Osieck he has been integral to the Socceroos in recent matches and is keen to hold his spot for Brazil, even if he is being cautious about his chances of making the final 23.

“I-ve come into the qualifying stage not taking anything for granted, for me representing Australia is the pinnacle and pretty close to my heart, to be going to the World Cup is great and I just have to continue to work hard for the next 12 months,” Thompson said.

“To be honest it-s not certain yet. It-s still 12 months and there are still so many young players out there that have the opportunity of making the 23-man squad that goes to Brazil, but I-m just going to soak this in because I missed the last World Cup, I was part of the World Cup before that and that was phenomenal for me.”

That word, phenomenal provides an important segway right now, because once again Archie-s national and club teammate Mark Milligan was just that for the Socceroos.

Milligan, a physical presence in defence and a slick passer of the ball in attack, his importance and value has continued to grow for the national side and Thompson couldn-t agree more with that sentiment, lauding the defensive midfielder, while also hoping Victory can keep Milligan in the A-League.

“He has been fantastic the last three games, to come into such important matches having a month off football, the guys went to Central Coast, Sydney and were doing all the hard yards without having proper league games, Mark has been fantastic.

“I can-t speak highly enough of him, I just hope Victory can keep him, because fantastic again tonight and he-s got plenty of interest around the place.”

With some criticism of the Socceroos being prevalent for not being able to put Iraq away, Thompson was adamant it was unnecessary insisting there are zero easy matches at international level and that the Socceroos will be in for a fight once they reach Brazil.

“There are no easy games internationally, there was talk about three or four guys not being able to play (for Iraq), but they have got young guys who have come in and that-s what it is, older guys come out and people think ‘Ok it-s easy now- but you have young talent coming in."