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  • Australia’s self belief shines through in Germany draw

    2019 - 04.21

    As it happenedSocceroos draw 2-2
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    Winning is contagious and there is no greater builder of confidence than success – as the Socceroos continue to show.

    Twelve months ago Ange Postecoglou’s team was losing pre-World Cup friendlies in London to the likes of Ecuador.

    Now, having put up a strong performance in Brazil and won the Asian Cup on home soil, they are capable of going to the home of the world champions, Germany, and taking it right up to the best team on the planet, as they did early on Thursday morning when they came from behind to lead, and then draw, with the Germans.

    There was nothing fluky about this 2-2 result and in truth with better finishing the Socceroos could have put the game to bed some time before Lukas Podolksi spared Germany’s blushes with an 81st minute leveller.

    Australia almost always (save for those horrific displays against Brazil and France that resulted in 6-0 losses 18 months ago) plays with character and commitment.

    It showed its traditional virtues once more this morning  by shrugging off the concession of an early goal to regroup, take the game to the world champions and, for much of this fixture, look the likely winners.

    Of course Germany have been going through a rocky period since their stunning success in Brazil and their form in European championship qualifiers has not been what might be expected, with draws against Ireland and a loss to Poland amongst recent results.

    And Jogi Low picked an experimental side for this game with a number of fresh faces as he seeks to refine his squad for the Euros next year and the World Cup in 2018.

    But that takes nothing away from the merit of Australia’s performance. Whichever side Germany puts out is strong. It is a powerhouse of world football precisely because it has such strength in depth with a number of players who would be starters in many other international teams.

    And Postecoglou’s hand was not completely full either. Talisman Tim Cahill was a late withdrawal, while regulars Massimo Luongo and Trent Sainsbury were not in the starting line up either.

    Postecoglou received any number of plaudits – justifiably – when he guided the Socceroos to that Asian Cup triumph in Sydney six weeks ago.

    His aim was not just to win, but to develop an Australian style; one based on pace, power, pressing, passing and, crucially, self belief. Postecoglou wants to develop a squad where the parts are interchangeable; where any one player can come in and do the job of another without the collective losing any quality or efficiency.

    He encourages his teams to compete, but also to play football and back themselves, to go into any match believing that they can win even if they are up against the world champions, as they working this morning.

    It’s a template that is working, but one that will require continual refinement as new players come in and old stars depart.

    Postecoglou and all those within the camp have been reluctant to rest on their laurels since the Asian Cup, which is now seen as the starting point for what the coach and the country hopes will be a new era of success for a new golden generation.

    With the World Cup qualifiers now on the horizon the signsare good. But Postecoglou, more than anyone, will not be content unless there is continuous improvement. He has certainly created the mindset within the squad for Australia to believe it can compete against anyone, including the very best.

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