Sports

Ange out to restore pride for Socceroos

AUSTRALIA​

Ange Postecoglou’s side were made to work hard before sealing their third successive appearance at a World Cup, but their luck has been on a downward slope since and only the most optimistic of fans will have hopes of progression.

The Socceroos have become leading contenders in the Asian Football Confederation and sealed one of the four automatic qualification spots for the World Cup, although that was only guaranteed in their final group game when striker Josh Kennedy struck seven minutes from time in a 1-0 win over Iraq.

But a run of four consecutive defeats in the second half of last year, including back-to-back 6-0 thrashings in Brazil and France respectively, led to the removal of Holger Osieck as coach after three years in charge.

The German was replaced by two-time A-League winner Postecoglou, whose tenure began in positive fashion with friendly wins over Canada and Costa Rica.

But, he was perhaps given a sharp reminder of what the job will entail after watching his side squander a three-goal lead in their 4-3 defeat by Ecuador in March.

In Tim Cahill (above) and Mark Bresciano, they have seasoned campaigners who have led Australia’s charge for much of the last decade, while it is hoped talented youngsters such as James Holland will play a vital part in the next generation.

The trio have all graced the Champions League this season with Bayer Leverkusen, Celtic and Austria Vienna respectively