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Australia coach looking for positive play at WCup

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2014 at 4:20 am •  Published: April 8, 2014
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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Ange Postecoglou cherishes memories of watching the 1974 World Cup on a small black-and-white TV with his dad, recalling how that shared experience when he was 9 helped transform him into an ardent Australia supporter.

Watching those late-night games was rare and precious father-son time in a migrant family struggling to come to grips with differences between their old life in Greece and living in Melbourne.

"It seemed the whole world was in bed and it was just my dad and I watching the Socceroos take on the world," Postecoglou recently wrote. "We rode every goal, miss and emotion. For me it seemed the greatest time ever."

That's why when other candidates may have perceived the Australian coaching job as something of a poison chalice, replacing a high-profile foreign coach after back-to-back 6-0 losses to Brazil and France only nine months ahead of the World Cup, Postecoglou saw it as a fantastic opportunity.

Australia has qualified for three consecutive World Cups, but the expectations have been diminishing with each trip. In Brazil, the Socceroos are grouped with both finalists from 2010 — defending champion Spain and the Netherlands — and Chile. Most critics don't expect them to earn a point.

"It's a chance for us to measure ourselves," Postecoglou told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "From my point of view, we're going to be very positive."

That's Postecoglou's way, and it's his interpretation of the Australian way.

"I know the Australian sporting culture," said Postecoglou, who played for the Socceroos, is a former national youth team manager and the most successful coach in the domestic A-League. "Having grown up in this country, I've got an awareness of what the public expects from its national teams. Our players will respond to that.

"We want all our teams to be attacking teams, and our players like to play that way," he added. "That's been my philosophy — to play attacking, be aggressive."

That kind of positivity was evident as an inexperienced Australia lineup raced to a 3-0 halftime lead in a recent friendly against Ecuador in London. The downside was the match ended in a 4-3 loss, with Australia down a man after goalkeeper Mitch Langerak was red-carded for a crude tackle in the second half.

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