The Olyroos may have reached Tokyo 2020 with all the finesse of Eric the Eel, but there’s no doubt their qualification is a huge achievement and a major boost for Australian football.
Angelos ‘Ange’ Postecoglou knows all to well the enormity of the task that lies ahead of him.
As the Socceroos finalise their preparations for tonight’s clash against Costa Rica, only time will tell as to how Ange will fair.
From this point onwards, Ange’s every selection, preferred playing style, tactical influences and instruction, key substitutions, results, media conferences, you name it, will all be placed under the microscope for all Australian football fans to see.
No longer is this the A-League, where week-in week-out football has its advantages of maintaining a set structure, providing the same players and weekly training seasons in order to improve on weaknesses and build team chemistry.
Instead, for Ange Postecoglou, the next five years will prove to be greatest test of them all.
After inheriting a team low on confidence, following two successive 6-0 defeats at the hands of the 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil and 2006 World Cup runners-up France, a team with no established sense of direction as to how the team should currently be playing, lacking in effective leadership and experiencing a transition period from the titled ‘golden generation’ to the new kids on the block, it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, his hands are full and this job won’t be easy!
Each football match has its own story to be told and this one is no different, but getting off to the perfect start may be what is required for what many hope is the beginning of a great story under Ange Postecoglou.
Already, before a ball has even been kicked, Mark Schwarzer has deemed it in the best interests for the national team he step aside to provide our future talent the opportunity to prove themselves by representing Australia on the grandest stage.
Judgement has also come to pass on Ange Postecoglou’s announcement Lucas Neill will retain the captaincy and his place in the starting XI.
Many have questioned Lucas Neill’s ability to continue playing for Australia, but Ange has shown the faith in the experienced veteran, as it would seem this is his last chance to prove he has what it takes to be part of the World Cup in Brazil 2014.
Is Lucas Neill doing what’s in the best interests for the national team? Should Ange have said “time’s up mate”?
For the first time since 2005, the national team has an Australian coach.
Despite the efforts of Holger Osieck, it was deemed that he was no longer suitable for the job. Whether an Australian coach has the ability to do better and improve on the efforts of Holger remains to be seen.
But what is nice, is how easy it will be listening to an Australian address the Australian football public.
Tonight is the start of a new era in Australian football, but will things change for the better? Is Ange Postecoglou the right man to coach the Socceroos?