Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says his side will have no fear against a rampant Netherlands on Thursday morning (AEST) after a promising showing against Chile in the World Cup.
Australia came away with plenty of plaudits but ultimately no points in a 3-1 loss to Chile on Saturday morning, shortly after the Dutch destroyed defending champions Spain 5-1 in a genuine title statement.
The Chile defeat also came at the cost of Ivan Franjic suffering a hamstring injury which is likely to rule him out for the rest of the tournament as Australia looks to shuffle its defensive backline set to take on the ruthless Netherlands forwards.
But Postecoglou says his charges are determined to stand up against the world’s number 15 side.
“It was a surprising result [Netherlands’ 5-1 win over Spain], with two very good sides,” Postecoglou told a media gathering at the Socceroos base in Vitoria.
“We watched the game and it was incredible. The first half was very evenly balanced. Spain could have been 2-0 up, van Persie scores an unbelievable goal and they ran away with it.
“But our players are looking forward to it, we want to measure ourselves against the best.
“If [the Netherlands] win against us, they’re through. They’ll be very determined to do that, but with that comes some pressure as well.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to upset all the logic and all the odds.”
Asked on how he felt about the Socceroos’ valiant performance against Chile, Postecoglou said the team needs to balance the quality of its play against missed chances to level the match.
“I feel good about getting close, but I’d much rather be disappointed at missing the opportunity,” he said.
“Hopefully that fires them up for the next one.
“We just need to keep concentrating and focussing on what we need to do. The belief doesn’t change.
“I’ve said in the lead-up, without any false sense of bravado, we can make an impact at the tournament. We’ve still got two opportunities to make an impact.”
We’re devastated for Franjic: McGowan
Socceroos defender Ryan McGowan, who came on for the injured Franjic against Chile, says the whole squad is looking to move on from the missed opportunities against Chile.
He said the team feels for Franjic, who excelled domestically for the Brisbane Roar to cement a place as Australia’s first-choice right-back.
But McGowan, who could be called on to start against the Netherlands and look to hold off the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, said he is ready to step into the breach.
“There were a few close calls [against Chile]. We won’t focus on the missed opportunity,” McGowan said.
“Everyone in the group’s devastated for Ivan and we wish him a quick recovery.
“The boss said at the start we all have to be ready. I’d be more than happy to go out and try my best.
“I played a lot at right back [early in my career] but for the last 18 months or two years it has been more at centre-back.
“I’ll go out there and try my best, try and get as forward as I can.”