Sydney (AFP) – Australia must shed their inferiority complex and stop thinking of themselves as the “underdog”, former national coach Ange Postecoglou said Thursday after their early World Cup exit.
The Socceroos limped out of the tournament in Russia with a 2-0 defeat to Peru in Sochi on Tuesday, again paying for a lack of a cutting edge in front of goal.
Australia have won only two of their 16 World Cup games stretching back to their tournament debut in 1974. They brought in Dutchman Bert van Marwijk after Postecoglou abruptly quit following their qualification for Russia.
Postecoglou, who now coaches Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos, defended his attacking philosophy and said the reigning Asian champions should not fear failure on the world stage.
“If our way forward is to rely on our defensive stability and competitiveness, then let that be our blueprint,” he wrote on the PlayersVoice website.
“But we must shed our inferiority complex. The problem with always being the underdog is that it is a sign you haven’t improved.”
Postecoglou said Australia still thought of themselves as underdogs, despite qualifying for the last four World Cups.
“What has happened and transpired since I left the position shows me my instincts were right,” he said.
“We still want to be the underdog. We want everyone to know that eight times out of 10 we will be beaten by the very best, but that does not mean we can’t knock them off. After all we are Australians and we fear no one.
“We can’t fear failure or being exposed. The Socceroo name alone should give us that strength. We should build on the shoulders of those before us, otherwise we have failed in our responsibilities.”
Despite another World Cup failure, Postecoglou remains optimistic about Australia’s future in international football.
“The core of this group have their peak years ahead of them,” he said.
“They have played under great leaders like Mile Jedinak, Mark Bresciano, Mark Milligan and Matt McKay. They have played with our greatest Socceroo Timmy Cahill.
“The likes of (youngsters) Daniel Arzani and Tommy Rogic give us genuine excitement.”
Postecoglou also fired a salvo at Didier Deschamps after the France boss criticised his coaching ethos.
“Before the France (World Cup) game, Didier Deschamps remarked how the Socceroos now had a better balance between attack and defence,” he said.
“He referenced that during my reign we were too offensive and open. Some used it as further evidence of my failings.
“I saw it differently. We all try and find meaning, and I can think of no better five words to define my career than those. His teams were too attacking.”