Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou doesn’t just want to beat Chile in their Confederations Cup clash. He wants to be them.
And to be fair, Australia’s national team has taken several steps on the way to mirroring Chile, ranked the world’s fourth best team.
Both are continental champions and both have renovated their national programs with a sharper focus towards technical ability and tactical consistency.
Chile – boasting world class stars such as Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo and Gary Medel – are just a little further along the way.
The two sides will meet in Moscow on Sunday night (Monday 1am AEST) with a place in the tournament semi-finals on the line.
Australia can only guarantee passage with a two-goal win over the South American champions, a result they’ve never managed over such a high quality opponent in a competitive match.
Postecoglou witnessed Chile’s quality first hand at the 2014 World Cup when la Roja earned a 3-1 win and is excited for the rematch.
“I was quite excited when we got them in the draw,” he said on Saturday.
“It’s the kind of team you want to play against because in some form or respect we want to emulate of their feats.
“They were a small fish in their continent for a while and they decided to change that and we’re trying to change that ourselves as well.”
Postecoglou declared the high stakes at play were “why we’re here”.
“We wanted to be alive by the time the third game came around. We weren’t at the World Cup,” he said.
“We’ve made it difficult for ourselves to be fair. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us.
“But we’re looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity to play against one of the world’s best teams. An opportunity to create something special.”
Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has injury concerns, with Medel substituted out of their last-out draw with Germany.
Pizzi could see his captain, Bravo, make his first start of the tournament after declaring the goalkeeper fit.
Postecoglou foreshadowed “changes” to his starting team but didn’t dwell on how many or who – saying only he would be monitoring fatigue levels closely.
Whoever does start won’t be afforded the luxury of finding their way into the game.
“Part of being us and the way we play is to go full throttle from the start,” he said.
“We’ll try and take the game to them right from he beginning. It’s a game we have to win. There’s no point waiting for a certain moment for things to kick in.
“We’re not going to be a team that waits.
“When the whistle goes we’ll start and we’ll try to match their intensity, match their work rate, match their emphasis on trying to dominate the game and see where that takes us.”