Football 2 years ago

Coach upset by Socceroos' underdog status

  • Coach upset by Socceroos' underdog status

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Australian coach Ange Postecoglou looks on during the international friendly match between the Australian Socceroos and Greece at ANZ Stadium on June 4, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It's the accepted Australian model of sporting success: take pride in your underdog status then punch above your weight.

It was part of the irresistible lure that rallied the country around the Socceroos during the so-called golden generation.

But it's not the direction coach Ange Postecoglou wants them to head.

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Having built his national team around an all-attacking, winning mentality, it's exasperating to Postecoglou that he's had to challenge an ingrained culture of inferiority to get the punters on board.

"Even when we were great with our golden generation, what we liked about it was that we were punching above our weight as a nation," he said.

"We revelled in that.

"We're uncomfortable if all of a sudden I'm telling people we don't want to be the underdog anymore.

"Maybe that confuses people a little bit, but we've got to get to that point."

The belief, Postecoglou says, is already firmly cemented in the team.

Since taking the reins in 2013, Postecoglou has espoused the notion that on-field authority and bottomless depth will not only see the Socceroos qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but make a significant impact once there.

Despite losing 2-1 to England last weekend, they dominated parts of the friendly to the point where Postecoglou didn't feel Roy Hodgson's 11th-ranked side applied enough pressure to sufficiently test world No.59 Australia's expansive game.

He hopes Greece can do so in Sydney and Melbourne, and that the Socceroos respond ruthlessly to give home crowds a taste of the new brand's capabilities.

"I don't profess to have an intelligence range that goes beyond football, but there's probably a cultural thing in there somewhere that as a nation we're a little bit reticent to put ourselves forward," Postecoglou said.

"We'd much rather others put us down and we prove them wrong.

"In football that's even accentuated further because of our journey as a sport.

"Korea just got beaten 6-1 by Spain ... it wasn't that long ago we were copping half a dozen goals as well.

"We've come a long way, not just in results but in terms of the manner in which we play our football.

"I just want everyone to not fear anything anymore, to go in there with optimism now rather than, you know, is this all an illusion?

"Is this just something that, once we hit the real stuff or go to a World Cup, it's going to be the same old show?"

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