Ange Postecoglou: World Cup record of Celtic manager target who won Asian Cup

Ange Postecoglou qualified Australia for two World Cups either side of an Asian Cup win for the Socceroos.

Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou speaks at a press conference after the team's final training run in Cuiaba, Brazil, on June 12, 2014. Ahead of Australia taking on Chile in their first match. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

He only took charge of one – resigning from the position months before Russia 2018 – but his tournament record only tells half the story.

2014 Record

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Postecoglou inherited the national job from Holger Osieck tasked with regenerating a team which had stagnated, too reliant on a previously successful, but ageing generation. Months later he took the Socceroos to Brazil – and lost each game with an overall goal difference of minus-six. Hardly positive reading.

However that tells only half the story.

Australia were grouped with reigning champions Spain, 2010 runners-up Netherlands and Chile, who both progressed at the champions’ expense.

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And in a short time, Postecoglou energised a squad from being humbled 6-0 by France in a friendly to standing up to some of the most flamboyant sides at the tournament bringing much praise.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It opened with a 3-1 defeat to the South Americans – but was the first of a series of performances highlighting their self-belief – a trait frequently mentioned when pundits describe Postecoglou’s teams.

Louis van Gaal praised Postecoglou before the next – “I think their coach is a very good coach."

A 3-2 defeat to Holland was termed “heroic” by BBC’s Robbie Savage, and offered a suggestion the team had turned a corner by Craig Foster in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Postecoglou was appointed to play in a proactive manner and, huge credit to him, he did so in the biggest moment of his career to date. Bravo.”

The defeat sent them out but not unbowed. Spain won 3-0 but Brad Friedel noted another hallmark of Postecoglu’s teams – intensity.

Head coach Ange Postecoglou of Australia gestures during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Australia and Netherlands at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 18, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Vinicius Costa/Getty Images)

On BBC the former USA goalkeeper said: “Australia looked like they were trying to play with high energy levels but I'm glad it stayed 3-0 because it could have been five or six and that would not have reflected just how well Australia played in this tournament."

Campaign Reaction

Optimism remained despite elimination.

"Thorough, sophisticated, insightful, aggressive,” said SMH’s Foster, whose colleague Michael Lynch added: “Results hardly sound great, even if they were achieved against three of the best teams in the world. But they should not, on this occasion, be allowed to colour the overall judgement of Australia's Brazilian adventure.

“Postecoglou achieved a lot in a very short time...he has imbued the team with a sense of self belief. They have all bought into his project of renewal and concept of making the Socceroos an exciting team, one the nation looks forward to seeing, rather than the stolid and predictable group it had become.”

Speaking in ABC2 documentary Australian Story, Postecoglou said: “I wanted to win the Asian Cup. Every decision was geared towards that.”

Asian Cup

Six months after Brazil came the Socceroos’ finest hour – defeating South Korea in extra time to take the Asian Cup 2015.

The highlight on Postecoglou’s CV which also includes domestic titles in Australia and Japan ahead of a potential move to Celtic and Europe.

"The Asian Cup is no small beer,” said broadcaster Francis Leach. “To be regional champions is a calling card to take notice of.”

Postecoglu led the Socceroos to another World Cup in Russia, but resigned six days after qualifying via play-off wins over Syria and Honduras.

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