Caltex Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou rued his side’s second half display and inability to control large parts of the contest after a 1-1 draw with Iraq in Tehran on Thursday.
In Group B of World Cup qualification, neither side got the win they needed with Australia moving to 10 points in the group.
And on a bumpy pitch in cold and wet conditions at the PAS Stadium in Tehran, a direct Iraq made life difficult for Australia, with a late Iraqi equaliser making for a nervous final 20 or so minutes for the green and gold.
“Especially in the second half we really didn’t cope with them being fairly direct,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
“And we just weren’t strong enough in our defensive areas. We were continually scrambling for things and never really got a hold of the game.
“The first half, in the last 20 minutes [of the half] we got good control of it but we needed that second goal and in the end they [Iraq] got one.”
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“In patches. But at the end of the day, regardless of the system we came up with there were just some contests out there where we were second best, which was causing us all sorts of problems.
“Just about every header in the defensive half we just failed to clear and that caused us some problems.
“And them playing direct helped them. There were a lot of second balls, a lot of scrambling.
“But having said that we had a lot of opportunities to get a hold of the game ourselves and sometimes we lacked a little bit of composure and bravery to keep playing our football.”
“Our performance probably didn’t warrant three points today,” added a clearly disappointed Postecoglou.
“We really didn’t cope well particularly in the second half and in the end they [Iraq] probably got the point they deserved.”