A disconsolate Ange Postecoglou couldn’t camouflage his disappointment at Australia’s swift Confederations Cup departure, despite the boldness of making six changes to his team and almost embarrassing Chile.
By
Dave Lewis in Moscow

26 Jun 2017 - 8:09 AM  UPDATED 26 Jun 2017 - 8:10 AM

In a measure of just what he expects from his squad, Postecoglou looked more like a coach who’d been on the end of a hammering, rather than masterminding 90 minutes of unrelenting energy and purpose from his players, after a 1-1 draw which sees Australia pack their bags for home.

Wrung dry by the emotion of an occasion in which Australia earned the respect of their opponents, with not just their physicality but also their finesse, Postecoglou wasn’t in the mood to play the role of valiant loser happy to have stood toe-to-toe with the globe’s fourth ranked team.

“I’m just disappointed to have gone out of the tournament,” he said. “Credit to the guys who came in, we needed energy tonight and they brought that and more.

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“But we didn’t get through the group which was our objective. It has been a missed opportunity … but that’s setting the highest possible benchmarks which we have to consistently meet to compete at this level.

“We wanted to measure ourselves against the very best and we have at this tournament.

“We are not there yet but we will be pushing forward and make sure we are developing.”

Postecoglou believes his squad, precious few of whom are in the top echelons of club football, will need to scale higher peaks in those aspects of their careers for the national team to truly flourish.

“I will keep pushing this group of players who I believe have the capability to perform at the highest level,” he declared.

“We have guys out there who should be playing at the top level with their clubs, and hopefully by measuring ourselves against the best some of them will get that chance.

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“It needs to happen … the biggest difference between us and the teams we have faced in this competition is where the players play their club football.

“We are not far from being a good team but to do that we need more of our boys playing at the top level.”

He sees Chile, who found the tenacity and technique of the Socceroos hard to handle, as the template for his team to emulate.

“I have great admiration for the way Chile play their football … we have watched them grow over the last four or five years and they have not taken a backward step against any team in the world.

“I want us to be a similar type of team.”

Postecoglou couldn’t resist a snipe at his critics after being asked whether Australia would negotiate the hurdle posed by Japan and Thailand to clinch World Cup qualification, and “what went right against Chile that didn’t against Germany and Cameroon.”

“I didn’t think things didn’t go right in the first two games and I have said all along that we will qualify for the World Cup,” he retorted.

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“At some point in time I will get replaced by John the pragmatist, and you can all be happy and revel in it.

“But I will always want Australia to be playing the sort of football that takes it to opposition teams and see where that takes us.”