AFTER two successive losses to Japan and Korea, the Socceroos chances at the 2015 Asian Cup seemed laughable. Tim Morgan explains how new head coach Ange Postecoglou will give hope to the Australian soccer team.
It was a game Japanese and Australian soccer fans will never forget.
Think back to the 2006 World Cup. The Japanese had held Australia goalless for 84 minutes before Tim Cahill scored Australia’s first ever World Cup goal.
The 52nd minute substitute would double up five minutes later as Australia would go on to win 3-1 and etch both Cahill and Coach Guus Hiddink into Australian folk-lore.
The jubilant celebrations that followed that victory are a far cry from the current state of discontent that has followed Australia’s 6-0 friendly losses to Brazil and France.
The thumping’s forced Australia to sack coach Holger Osieck and lead many, like Goal.com editor Iain Strachan, to question how Australia would rebound for the 2015 Asian Cup to be hosted in Australia.
“If we played it tomorrow with the Socceroos in a state of disarray then it certainly would be a challenge,” said Strachan.
“It probably wouldn’t be too pretty.”
It’s not just about qualifying for the World Cup, and it is not just about doing well at the World Cup. It’s about thinking what Australia will need further down the line to do well at the Asian Cup” – Iain Strachan, Goal.com editor
The need for the Football Federation of Australia to address its long term goals, as well as the 2014 World Cup, was apparent in its decision to sign Australian, Ange Postecoglou, to a five-year deal – the longest ever to a national coach.
Strachan said the two-time A-league champion coach would be looking to transition young players into a squad that still has many of the heroes from 2006.
“It’s not just about qualifying for the World Cup, and it is not just about doing well at the World Cup. It’s about thinking what Australia will need further down the line to do well at the Asian Cup,” he said.
“It’s very likely whichever players are picked for the Asian Cup will have already had a good deal of experience in national team set up and playing the way Ange wants them to play.”
Strachan added that those extra months of stability under Postecoglou may be what gets Australia another win against Japan in 2015.
“I think Australia could be quite confident about their Asian Cup hopes.”
The 2015 Asian Cup will be hosted in Australia during January with seven matches scheduled to be played at AAMI Park.