The desire to win some silverware will drive Australia on into January's Asian Cup according to Brett Emerton, who expects many of his Socceroo team-mates in the over-30 age bracket to play on after the encouraging conclusion to the FIFA World Cup™ campaign.
Australia might have been eliminated at the group stage of the tournament in South Africa, but Emerton feels the gritty 1-1 draw against Ghana and the impressive 2-1 victory over Serbia will encourage those thinking of quitting to stay on until at least the tournament in Qatar.
"I think a lot of the players haven't made their minds up as to what they are going to do after the World Cup. It's going to be an interesting few months after this World Cup with the upcoming internationals to see what players decide to do. In the last two games we have shown we are not that old after all, we can still go out and mix it with the best and we've shown with our energy levels that there's still plenty of run left in those boys' legs," Emerton said.
Emerton, 31, does not see the end of his international career on the horizon, saying he wants to play for Australia as long as possible and guide the next generation of Socceroos. "I'm sure there will be a few boys who will call it a day. Myself, personally, I'd like to continue to play on as long as I'm being selected for the Australian team. Hopefully I can guide some of the youngsters and help them become good international players," he added.
Emerton refused to say whether he wanted to make it all the way to Brazil 2014, should Australia qualify, but said the Asian Cup was high on the players' agenda. "It's a good tournament and we want to win trophies as a national team, that's something this team is yet to do. We've achieved a lot, but if we went to the Asian Cup and won a trophy it would be the icing on the cake," he said.
Emerton admitted the 4-0 opening loss to Germany had all but ruined Australia's hopes of qualifying. "It's disappointing not to have progressed, but we did all we could against Serbia. It's a fantastic result in the end, but the first game we conceded too many goals and that's hurt us," he said.
"After the Germany game, we were hurting. In the last two games we've put in two good performances, firstly against Ghana with ten men and then winning against Serbia. Unfortunately we don't progress but at least we can walk away with our heads held high. Hopefully we've given the Australian public something to cheer about. The Australian public have been fantastic in all three matches. This is why you play international football for an atmosphere like that."