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'We've done jack s**t the last two World Cups': Ange hits back at critics

Soccer

Besieged Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has fired a final salvo back at his critics ahead of Australia’s World Cup qualifier with Thailand tonight.

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The Socceroos’ 2-0 loss in Japan has brought out plenty of boo-boys, with the same queries that have dogged Postecoglou’s four-year tenure.

Is this the right team?

Is this the right system?

And what will happen if the Socceroos don’t make the World Cup?

Postecoglou is in part a victim of his Asian Cup-winning success – which raised expectations for his side – and Australia’s repeated qualification for the tournament.

This week, it didn’t seem to matter that the Socceroos have never beaten a Japanese side on their home soil.

Or that his team remain firmly in the qualifying frame.

When interviewed on the Nine Network by Peter FitzSimons, Postecoglou couldn’t hide his disdain to be asked: “If they don’t qualify, is it goodbye Ange?”

Never mind that Postecoglou has already vowed to leave at the end of the World Cup campaign.

“I thought you’d have some new questions. You asked me that last time I was on and I’m still here,” Postecoglou deadpanned.

It continued when Socceroos goalkeeper-turned-pundit Mark Bosnich said Postecoglou’s team selections were “astounding” and questioned his viability in the role.

“Is he the right man (to be coach)? At this moment in time, he’s just shading it,” Bosnich said on Fox Sports.

Postecoglou has heard it all before.

“I’m going to continue to do what I think is right for Australian football. I don’t care if people don’t get that instant gratification,” he said.

“I get that the world’s changed but I still read newspapers. I don’t get my info from Tweets. That’s how I live my life. That’s how I coach.

“I just can’t change my beliefs… it’s been very successful for me and it will continue to be very successful for me.

“One result, one small stumble or big stumble – and I’ve had them before – it doesn’t change me. It steels me.”

A particular criticism that irks Postecoglou is the call for him to be pragmatic to ensure qualification – then change his game plan once at the World Cup.

“What I do know is the consequences of qualifying and doing jack shit because we’ve done that the last two times,” he said.

“Qualifying doesn’t give us the silver bullet.

“People can… say it’s just about qualifying. Well it’s not because I got the job after the last bloke did qualify.

“I only took this job for one reason that is to try and change the landscape.

“I’m not going to shift from what I started doing. Yeah if we don’t get to a World Cup it’s not great. But if we do get to one that shouldn’t be the end game.”

Veteran Tim Cahill yesterday vowed to lead a “fearless” Socceroos performance against World No. 130-ranked Thailand that gives Australia the best possible chance of qualifying for the World Cup.

It isn’t as simple as “win and they’re in” but a strong victory would certainly give Australia an advantage over rivals Saudi Arabia, who play Japan hours later.

Postecoglou described his own side’s effort against Japan as “lacking in conviction and belief”, but Cahill says there will be no repeat of that effort against Thailand.

“We need to go out there and be fearless,” he said.

“We all know what’s on the line.

“This is a massive moment for our country to stake a claim in a World Cup.

“I feel we’re ready… goals will definitely come. I’m confident we’ll score a lot of goals and I’m confident that we’ll make a great account of ourselves.”

Like the rest of the Australian squad, the 37-year-old is desperate to reach a fourth World Cup in Russia next year.

If Australia reaches the showpiece tournament, and Cahill scores, he will become just the fourth man in history to net at four successive World Cups.

And Postecoglou could do worse than turning to Cahill tonight.

The evergreen forward has started each of Australia’s final qualifying matches for the last three World Cups – against Uruguay in 2005, Qatar in 2009 and Iraq in 2013.

And Cahill has made just one start in competitive matches for the Socceroos in the last 18 months – against Chile at the Confederations Cup.

But his warrior-like qualities has Postecoglou pondering Cahill’s return to the starting side to help shake up the Thais.

“I won’t make a decision until [Tuesday],” Postecoglou said.

“Everyone’s recovered really well from the first game which is great. Aaron and Tomi Juric are available now, they’re 100 per cent. Everyone’s fit and available which is a bonus.

“I’ll put together an 11 that I think will get the job done [and] Timmy is certainly in those thoughts.”

-AAP 

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