Football Federation Australia has confirmed Ange Postecoglou will lead the Socceroos into next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Postecoglou’s tenure will see him coach Australia through to 2018, which includes tilts at the 2015 Asian Cup and 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He will lead Australia for the first time in a November 15 friendly in Sydney against Costa Rica.
The Melbourne Victory head coach was the leading candidate to take over the role after the recent sacking of Holger Osieck, with Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold and Western Sydney Wanderers mentor Tony Popovic were also contacted by the FFA.
The Victory appeared to be the only stumbling block to Postecoglou’s appointment with the A-League club demanding a rumoured $1 million compensation for Postecoglou.
The final piece of the puzzle fell into place this morning, when the Victory announced it would not prevent their coach from taking the reins of the Socceroos.
FFA chairman Frank Lowy confirmed Postecoglou will coach the Socceroos through to the 2018 Russia World Cup.
“We are looking forward to long service from him,” he said.
“He’s the right person for this time of our development.
“I think the last 10 years or so, we’ve had coaches from overseas. That was the time for it then, but now is the right time for an Australian coach.
“This is a plan we’ve had for quite a while and it has come to fruition. All I really want to do is wish him luck and hope that he succeeds. His expectations are very high of himself.”
Postecoglou said it was a tremendous honour to be appointed to the position, saying he does not believe the country’s recent thrashings at the hands of Brazil and France reflect where the Socceroos’ true ability.
“It’s a tremendous honour for me to be sitting here. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that it’s been a tough few weeks, but I am tremendously honoured to be in this position,” Postecoglou said at a press conference.
“I’d like to thank the Melbourne Victory football club as well … they’ve been tremendously supportive of me. It was a project I was really passionate about, but the chairman said country comes first.
“I’ve got my ideas of how I want the team to play … and then we’ll find out who fits into that. I’m not going in there with a target or hit-list of people, it’s not the way I work. Sometimes people surprise you.
“I want to get the best out of every player available. Will there be changes? Of course there will, I’ve got my own way of doing things.”
Postecoglou wants to restore pride to national side
Postecoglou insists he wants to change the perception around the Socceroos, saying it is time the national side stopped down-playing its chances on the international stage.
“Language is really a powerful tool and I’ve been a little bit frustrated by our constant painting a picture of a team that’s not good enough, a league that’s not good enough, players that are not good enough,” he said.
“Regardless of the state of the game – and it’s been a lot worse than it is right now – we’ve never taken a backwards step.
“Maybe people were fearful of building people’s hopes up and falling short … but I don’t think that’s what a national team is about.
“You look across all the codes and the national teams … we want them to do well and not many of them are at the moment.”
Young players to be tested in bid to top Asia
Postecoglou says he wants to work on making the Socceroos “world class off the field”, to create an environment where players can flourish.
He says he is encouraged by the young Australian players coming through the A-League and in overseas leagues and is willing to throw them into the Socceroos mix.
“I always start with the environment the players work in. Whilst we struggled a bit on the field in the last couple of games, my first job is to make us world class off the field,” he said.
“Maybe a little bit of morale’s down as well. I think it’s fantastic we’ve got a home game coming up. Hopefully we can restore some of that morale and confidence.
“I’ve got enormous belief in our young players. A lot of players who are currently there, I’ve had something to do with.
“A lot of the younger ones I’ve seen coming through in the A-League I’m really excited about.
“I’ve never been let down by throwing young players in and you never find out until you give them that opportunity.
“When you expose a young person to a different level of football, what I’ve always found out is that they never let you down but sometimes they surprise you.”
He says his long-term goal is to make the Socceroos the number-one team in the region, ahead of Australia’s hosting of the Asia Cup in 2015.
“We’re in a region where we need to start taking some ascendancy in Asia in the way we play our football.
“I like us to play an attacking and aggressive football and I think that’s where football’s going anyway. It’s not about the aesthetics, I’m very much into winning.
“We’ll just prepare ourselves to play the best football possible and try and win every game we play.
“They shouldn’t be limited by any goals we set. We want to be the number one team in Asia. If we’re the number one country in Asia, we’re probably competing at the World Cup.”
Postecoglou has enjoyed phenomenal success in Australian domestic football, guiding the Brisbane Roar to two A-League championships as well as picking up two NSL titles with South Melbourne.
He mentored the Melbourne Victory to third place in the 2012-13 A-League season.