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Australia look to Guardian Ange for World Cup

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Updated 12 May 2014 01:31:52

Australia look to Guardian Ange for World Cup

Ange Postecoglou has promised to restore positive, attacking football as he leads Australia's transition away from their "golden generation" at the World Cup.

Greek-born Postecoglou, 48, who migrated to Australia as a five-year-old, was flung into the coaching hot seat in October, just eight months ahead of the Brazil finals.

He was given a five-year contract by Football Federation Australia (FFA) after the sacking of German Holger Osieck who paid the price for 6-0 thrashings by Brazil and France.

Postecoglou, the Socceroos' first full-time Australian coach in nine years, won two A-League championships with Brisbane Roar and gained a reputation for fast-paced, aggressive, passing football.

But Postecoglou and his Socceroos face a monumental challenge in Brazil, drawn alongside World Cup holders Spain, 2010 runners-up Netherlands and Chile.

Australia could struggle to get a point, let alone advance from Group B, but the low expectations do not dampen Postecoglou's positivity.

"The World Cup will be an experience for us all, but I don't want a team of players that just want to go to the World Cup," said Postecoglou, who was capped four times by the Socceroos before a knee injury ended his career early.

"I want a team of players who want to make a difference. It's a tough group, but the flip-side of that is that there's an opportunity to do something that no one expects us to do. We can capitalise on that.

"Australia is a sporting nation and we never go into any contest thinking we can't win and football is no different.

"There's a real chance for us all to create a special moment that lasts longer than the competition."

Dutch coach Pim Verbeek was criticised for his negativity at the last World Cup in South Africa after setting up the Socceroos with the onus on defence.

That is something that does not sit well with Postecoglou and irrespective of Australia's formidable opponents in Brazil, the new coach wants to encourage his players to be attack-minded.

"Having grown up in this country, I've got an awareness of what the public expects from its national teams. Our players will respond to that," he said.

"We want all our teams to be attacking teams, and our players like to play that way. That's been my philosophy -- to play attacking, be aggressive."

A major part of Postecoglou's coaching remit is to bring through a new younger generation of players, looking ahead to next year's Asian Cup in Australia and beyond to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Already goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Harry Kewell and Brett Holman have retired from international football and skipper Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire and Mark Bresciano have been left out of friendlies under Postecoglou's watch.

New faces are in the squad, plenty of home-based players are getting a chance and Postecoglou is building his squad around Tim Cahill, Tom Rogic and Mile Jedinak.

"Everything I've done is about growing the game. I win if this game grows and is the biggest game in the county. That's what I want," Postecoglou said.

In Postecoglou's mind Australia have nothing to lose, but plenty to gain at the World Cup in Brazil.


AFP

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