- Australia's style draws high praise from Joachim Low
- Coach Ange Postecoglou has instilled self-confidence in his side
- Positive and attacking is Australia's mantra
By Pete Smith with Australia
Australian sportspeople have never been satisfied with losing, but there was perhaps a time when the Socceroos took some solace from a heroic defeat against a traditional football world power.
Any such thoughts are long gone, and that is particularly true in the Ange Postecoglou era. The Australian players’ hang-dog demeanour and the post-match reaction of Postecoglou provided further evidence that any assumptions of inferiority on the field have long been cast aside.
Australia fell 3-2 to Germany in their FIFA Confederations Cup opener, but future Group B opponents Cameroon and Chile have been put on notice that they can expect a rigorous and demanding examination.
The Socceroos eclipsed a poor first half to shade the Germans for possession in the second period. After the match, FIFA World Cup™-winning Germany coach Joachim Low spoke at length of his admiration for the Socceroos approach.
“It is a team that is courageous and cheeky enough to challenge their opponents regardless of whether it is Brazil or Germany, or any other opponents,” Low said. “They attack very boldy early on, and not many teams do that. I think they have developed greatly in the last two or three years.
“What I have seen is that there has been a positive development since 2010 from Australia, having previously played with long and high balls. For us that was easy to defend against.
“Now they have changed their playing style, leaving aside whether they have a back three of a back four. They play really good combination football.”
*Changing perceptions *
Low’s words will be appreciated by Postecoglou, a coach who has long bristled at the idea that perceptions of Australian football overlook their modern approach in favour of old stereotypes.
And Australia’s mentality is not limited to self-confidence on the world stage. Postecoglou’s philosophy is that how you win is more important than the final outcome itself.
“If we get a victory that is backs to the wall, and we scramble through, that won’t be satisfying to me,” Postecoglou said before their match against the world champions.
And the Aussie mentor has also instilled belief in his youthful and relatively inexperienced side.
“We are respectful of every opponent, but we know the qualities in our team and the belief in ourselves,” said Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
“Maybe we were a bit anxious tonight and forcing things instead of being confident on the ball. If we can find that form from the second half we know we will give a better account of ourselves.
“We will take confidence [into the Cameroon match] that we can play our brand of football against this level of opposition, like we showed at the last World Cup.”