Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says he has visualised Australia winning the world’s biggest sporting event – the FIFA World Cup.
For a nation that has qualified for just four World Cups (1974, 2006, 2010 and 2014), it is an ambitious goal, but such is the confidence Postecoglou has in his team.
Australia has made great strides forward under the 51-year-old, winning the Asian Cup and rising to 45th in the FIFA rankings, the team’s highest position since 2013, and they have done it playing an exciting and attacking brand of football.
Postecoglou – who is trying to transform Australia’s football mindset from a nation happy to compete at the World Cup to one that believes it can make an impact – details in his new book, Changing The Game, the power of visualisation and how he uses it.
“Winning a World Cup – I’ve visualised it,” he told The New Daily in the build-up to Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Japan in Melbourne.
“I’ve visualised it and I’ve visualised it a long time ago – and still do today.
“We talk about visualisation [as a group] and I remember, even when I was playing, a coach tried to do it with me … I struggled as a player.
“[But] these visualisations I had as a kid about doing great things in football which would have seemed like fairly bizarre and surreal sort of visions to have … they actually, for the most part, have come to fruition.”
The Japan test
The Socceroos are well-placed in their bid to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia, having won seven points from their first three matches in the third stage of qualification through Asia.
A crucial clash against Asian heavyweights Japan now awaits and victory would put Australia well on its way to reaching the showpiece.
But where success for a Socceroos coach who was once measured on making the World Cup, Postecoglou says things are now different.
“We’ve qualified for the last three World Cups [but] that’s not the only end game here,” he said.
“It’s about hopefully people getting excited about the way the team is playing.
“We hope the way we are playing our football will mean that, not only do we qualify, but that we are a chance to make an impact at the World Cup.
“I’m quite open in saying we want to be a team that dominates possession and plays the game in the opposition half and puts on the pressure.
“We’re going to have to be at our best to do that against Japan.
“And that’s what I’m looking forward to – to see how our approach goes against a very good nation, a nation who has got some footballers playing in some of the biggest leagues in the world.”
‘I was born to do it’
You don’t need to spend much time with Postecoglou to be impressed by his belief and drive.
His passion for football and management shines through as he discusses the sides he enjoys watching (Barcelona and Manchester City), his football philosophy and what he enjoys about coaching.
“I say that ‘I’ve never worked a day in my life’. I’ve never felt like I get up in the morning and I’ve got a day of work ahead of me,” he added.
“I just find it [coaching] a real natural extension of the person I am and I still get the same sort of drive, satisfaction [that I first did].
“It may sound sound silly to say but it’s almost like I was born to do it and I still enjoy it. Very much so.”
Postecoglou’s record speaks for itself.
A nation hopes his ambitious visualisation becomes a reality.
Ange Postecoglou’s new book, Changing The Game, is out now. Postecoglou’s book, published by Penguin Random House, charts his journey from his early childhood to playing with South Melbourne and coaching Australia. You can purchase it here.