February 1, 2015 – 12:49AM
Senior sports reporter with The Age
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has called for Australia’s triumph in the Asian Cup to become the springboard for a golden era for the national team, one in which it should aspire to become a serious challenger in the World Cup.
Just minutes after his side had shrugged off the heartache of conceding a stoppage-time equaliser to win the trophy in extra-time, Postecoglou said that there could not be any resting on laurels.
“This is not the endgame for us, it’s just the beginning. The intent we have shown in this tournament is what we will show going forward. We will play our football with no fear of failure or retribution if things don’t work out,” the triumphant coach said.
“I am not putting any limits on it…. but that shouldn’t be the full stop. Our role now in this (Asian) Confederation is to keep challenging ourselves and the other nations.
“The goal should be for this Confederation to break the South American and European monopoly on the World Cup. We should not rest on our laurels just because we have won this tournament here.
“This is not the end of the journey, in many respects for us it is the beginning.”
Well done: Ange Postecoglou embraces Tim Cahill.Photo: Getty Images
Postecoglou praised the character of his team in coming back from the gut-wrenching disappointment of seeing South Korea score a last-gasp equaliser to take the game into extra-time. He also said that with his history of winning grand finals in adversity he knew that there was plenty of time to go on and win it again.
He told the players that their destiny was in their own hands if they wanted to grasp it.
“When you want to achieve something special, usually you have to work for it. I knew there was a twist in the tale somewhere, my history of grand finals.
“It would have broken a lot of teams, to be so close to being champions and have that taken away from you.
“The thing we did know was that we would be strong in extra-time, we made sure they refocused.
“I am not putting any limits on it, it’s not for me to say, if you had said 14 months ago we would have been sitting in this position people would probably not have believed me.
“We go into a four-year cycle of World Cup qualification. We want to go to the next World Cup to make an impact, not just to be there. I am not going to put any limits on this group of players. It’s all about leaving watermarks along the way and we have left a pretty high one. ”
Man of the tournament Massimo Luongo remains grounded, despite an extraordinary month which has seen him become one of the best known names in the Australian game.
Asked if he now wanted to move from his League One English club Swindon Town, he simply smiled and said his first priority when he got back next week would be to help the club go up to The Championship.
“In the short term (the aim) is to get Swindon promoted. I am back there in four days, I am not worrying about getting a move. I will worry about the season and hopefully we will go up,” he said.
Of his spectacular goal, which for so long looked as though it would be the decisive score, he said, “It was a good ball from Trent Sainsbury, I got a good turn, had a little space behind me. I had all the confidence to get a shot on goal…. I was in the moment…I definitely enjoyed that one.”
Source : The Canberra Times