Australia have no reason to fear anybody and are primed to again become the pre-eminent force in Asia, according to assistant coach Josep Gombau.
By
Dave Lewis

4 Jul 2017 - 8:04 PM  UPDATED 4 Jul 2017 - 8:04 PM

The Spaniard, recently installed into coach Ange Postecoglou's inner sanctum, has been bowled over by the tactical "bravery" of his boss, perfectly exemplified by the Socceroos' commanding display in their 1-1 draw with eventual runners-up Chile at the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Next up for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup winners are the key 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand in August and September, with a return to Russia this time next year the prize.

Australia trail Japan by a point and are adrift of Saudi Arabia on goal difference.

But four points from their final two group games should suffice and make sure they avoid facing a series of play-off games to reach Russia.

"If we continue to play like this, with this mentality and power, we can beat everybody in Asia and really will not be afraid of any nation anywhere," said Gombau.

Socceroos tactical change: Did Ange get it right?
The recent flurry of activity by the Socceroos - seven games in three months - has been a revelation in how a coach grapples with tactical transition and evolutionary change.

"I like a lot what Ange is doing ... you have to be brave to do this."

Gombau is referring to Postecoglou's bold new 3-2-4-1 formation, which he has steadfastly adhered to despite initial teething troubles.

The maturity and tenacity of the performance against Chile - where he made six changes from the 1-1 draw with Cameroon - appeared to vindicate Postecoglou's refusal to waver.

"He could easily have played more defensively and sat back against Chile because they are a very good side," added Gombau.

"But Ange didn't do that. The players are growing into the system now ... in the beginning they needed to experience it.

"But now they feel like 'now we can beat anybody'. "

The former Adelaide United coach, a fervent practitioner of adventure and aesthetics, said he has already added another layer of knowledge since coming into Postecoglou's orbit.

"For me, as a coach, it's a lesson also," ventured Gombau, who wearing his other hat as Australia's Under-23's coach named his squad on Tuesday for this month's AFC qualifiers in Myanmar.

"It's sometimes easy to be conservative as a coach, depending on the situation.

"But after I saw this (approach by Postecoglou) I think that I can go and change some things and concentrate even more on the attacking side of the game than before."

Gombau believes that no matter what side Postecoglou fields, they will be equipped to fulfill his tactical doctrines.

"Everybody can do the job ... Jackson Irvine and Massimo Luongo were fantastic against Chile, but Aaron Mooy (who was rested) can do the same," he said.

Socceroos headed in right direction: Cahill
A buoyant Tim Cahill believes Australia will carry oodles of confidence into their upcoming World Cup qualifiers despite exiting the Confederations Cup at the group stage.

"We are a team, more than individuals. We are now looking forward with confidence to the games ahead.

"We deserved to beat Chile ... we had the chances to do so.

"We didn't allow them to play. Maybe people who don't understand football think that Chile didn't play well, but we didn't let them."

Australia looked bereft at times of inspiration, and even energy in the 3-2 loss to Germany and draw with Cameroon, but Gombau insists the margins between the matches were wafer thin.

"Sometimes it's about belief ... and it was also a learning experience for the team from the first game to the third," he said.

"Players have to believe they can do things and they grew into the tournament game by game.

"But we didn't change anything in terms of movement, mentality and tactics.

"The players had the same instructions for every game."