Massimo Luongo was a top performer for the Socceroos against Chile.
Massimo Luongo was a top performer for the Socceroos against Chile. Francois Nel

Socceroos coach not surprised by team's performance

SOCCEROOS coach Ange Postecoglou says his team's impressive performance against Chile in the Confederations Cup came as little surprise to him, insisting that such a showing in a clutch match against one of the world's best sides was exactly what his team was built for.

After 12 hours of reflection, the overriding emotion remains one of regret at a missed opportunity.

After Australia took the game to the South American champions, dominating large parts of the game, they fell agonisingly short of the two goal victory needed to progress.

"The only way to score two goals against world class opposition is to get in their faces and play your football and make sure we get in to their final third as much as possible,” he said. "That's what I've been telling them for three years.

"I felt confident last night that we could do it, particularly if we rattled them a bit, and we did.”

In match of high quality, the Socceroos took a deserved first half lead and looked good value for more before the sucker punch of a scrappy Chile equaliser after the break.

Even after that, however, Australia continued to push on and had chances to win it.

Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke in glowing terms about Postecoglou's side after the game, likening the standard of the match to that of a World Cup quarter-final. However, Postecoglou maintains that the standards set within the camp do not require external approval.

"I don't need opposition coaches telling us that,” he says.

"I think that's part of growing up and standing on your own two feet as a nation.

"Whether they're paying attention to us or not, respecting us or not, we just want to become a team that doesn't seek validation or improvement from anyone else.

"Our performances and the way we approach games will hopefully speak for itself.”

Australia's next match is a decisive World Cup qualifier against group leaders Japan. Postecoglou will prepare for that in August, but continues to look beyond the confines of the region, looking to sides like the Chileans for inspiration.

The bravery of the team in sticking to their principles of playing from the back and guarding possession against the team ranked fourth in the world was of the real successes of the tournament in Russia.

"That's the measure,” says Postecoglou.

"There's no point just doing that against Iraq or Saudi Arabia or Japan.

"That's why I felt disappointed about last night and why I felt good about going to the game. Because everything we'd done was about that scenario.

"We didn't have to change anything, we didn't need to do anything radical.

"Two more games would have been invaluable for us. And we fell short of our stated goal of getting through.

"Obviously I'm still proud of the players' efforts, just disappointed we weren't able to go on.”

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