Two heavy weights of Asia met in the Final, after already playing each other in the group stage, with both teams making some changes from when they played last. Ange opted for a more defensive start, starting Milligan ahead of Troisi in the midfield, who would play alongside our captain Jedinak as two holding midfielders. This change I think probably won us the game, if we had stuck with two attacking minded midfielders, the South Koreans would have easily over-run us in the middle of the park, and they would have scored plenty more.
We managed to score 2 goals against a team that had no goals conceded against them during the entire competition. They were all over us in the first half, controlling the entire game, until Luongo showed them up with a superb goal. Then in the second half, they were more aggressive and direct with their plays, allowing us to control the game better, and they continued with that until the final minute of the game. There are three big things to take away from this competition (not including the trophy!) that I think will benefit Australia in the long run.
We Won Without Cahill:
We won the final without the help of our mighty lord Tim Cahill, and that’s a huge moment for the Socceroos. Not having to rely on the 35 year old veteren to score all our goals during the competition, and while he did have a big impact on our overall performance, it’s good for us to slowly let go of our hero. Tim Cahill has said that he’s eyeing up the chance to play in his fourth world cup in 2018, at the age of 38, and with his talent in the air, it’s not totally unrealistic. While he certainly won’t be starting games, because his overall stamina would have dropped dramatically compared to our other strikers, but he can most definitely come on as a super sub, Japan 2006 World Cup style.
What a legend he is now. Massimo Luongo has thrived under Ange’s coaching style, and theres no doubt that his stock within clubs has been raised dramatically. While currently under contract at Swindon Town in League One over in England, he certainly won’t be staying there long with his current performances. The club has reportedly turned down offers from a Turkish Club, and he is currently linked with Sevilla form Spain.
Luongo has to seriously think about his career over the next few years, he needs consistent playing time at a top club if he’s to reach the level everyone hopes and knows he’s capable of. He should take a lesson from Tom Rogic, a superstar for Australia who has lately been troubled with multiple injuries, missing both major competitions. After moving from the Central Coast Mariners to Celtic over in Scotland, while they play European football, the Australian has only had 11 appearances over the two years he’s been under contract there. Being paid to sit on the bench and not develop into the player he knows he can become is something we don’t want for Luongo.
A large amount of the credit for Australia’s success in this Asian Cup has to go to Ange Postecoglou, he has been the head coach for Australia for just over a year, he inherited an old and out of date team, and in a short amount of time, he’s managed to drastically change the quality of our squad, and even won out first major piece of silverware in Football. No one can doubt his ability now to lead our international team, and he has the whole nations faith in him.
He knows the players very well, and he’s excellent at getting the best out of his players, and particularly what he needs to win games. He doesn’t rely on the Golden Generation like his predecessor Holger Osieck did with the likes of Lucas Neill. He’s had to completely change the squad and find a new starting team ridiculously close to the World Cup, but he managed to pull it off, and he’s calling up the likes of Juric and Antonis, who are the future for Australian Football.
I have all my faith in Ange, and so does Australia.