They might be 0-2 at this World Cup, but Ange Postecoglou says the building blocks are there.
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou believes his side will become a force to be reckoned with at future World Cups despite being eliminated by a 3-2 defeat to the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Australia had deservedly led 2-1 just before the hour mark thanks to Tim Cahill’s stunning volley and Mile Jedinak’s penalty after Arjen Robben had given Holland the lead.
However, Robin van Persie quickly levelled and Memphis Depay struck the winner with the aid of a goalkeeping mistake from Maty Ryan 22 minutes from time.
Postecoglou insisted his young squad will become a force to be reckoned with at future tournaments, including the Asian Cup on home soil next year, if they continue their current rate of progress.
“I don’t feel pleased right now because of emotions of the game, but we came to this World Cup and we’re playing against three of the best nations in the world. People were saying we weren’t going to score a goal and we would just try and survive and I think in both games we’ve taken it to the opposition.
“We’ve only just started on this journey and the goal is to come back in four years time and they fear us before we go on the pitch as much as they fear us on there now. There is no doubt both Chile and the Dutch know they’ve been in a game and I think that speaks about the way we’ve gone about our football.
“At the same time I have said all along I wasn’t going to discount this World Cup, I wasn’t going to come here and experiment or build experience. I came here with the objective to make an impact and I think in both games we’ve had the opportunities to do that so it is just disappointing that we weren’t able to.”
Australia could have been in front once more just before Depay’s winner as Matthew Leckie passed up a great chance. Postecoglou admitted that had been the turning point in the game.
“I think that was the critical moment both us missing the opportunity and conceding. That’s how big games are decided and from our point of view that is two now we’ve had some great opportunities to get our noses in front and we weren’t able to.”
Victory ensured Holland’s place in the last 16 as they have maximum points from two games and will play Chile for the right to top the group on Monday, although they will be without the suspended Van Persie.
Dutch boss Louis van Gaal agreed with Postecoglou that Leckie’s miss turned the game and hailed the clinical nature of Robben and Van Persie in similar circumstances as they each took their tally for the tournament to three goals in two games.
“At one point Australia missed an enormous opportunity, I said we are going to win the match because if they missed chances like that, we will take ours.
“It is great to have strikers like Robben and Van Persie to have scored three goals each in just two matches. They are incredibly clever and create a good spectacle for the fans which is important as well.”