Despite much acclaim from home and abroad during this tournament, Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou wants desperately to improve on Australia’s win-loss ratio at World Cups as the green and gold prepare to play Spain in Curitiba.
In its fourth World Cup, Australia has only ever won twice – against Japan in 2006 and Serbia four years later in Nelspruit.
It’s a poor record in his eyes, and he sees tomorrow’s clash with Spain as an ideal time to improve that statistic at the Arena da Baixada in Australia's final game of Group B.
It would also mean Australia would finish the group above the Spaniards - an achievement in itself.
“We have plenty to play for. This is our fourth World Cup and we have only won two games.
“We need to win games at this level if we want to improve and become the nation that we want to become - we have to win these sorts of games.
“So it’s far from a dead-rubber for us. We’re very, very motivated," he said.
And though capturing many hearts with their fearless displays and surprising most with approach, Postecoglou isn’t keen on perpetuating that image of the Socceroos over the next World Cup cycle.
For him, it's about making Australia a global powerhouse in the future.
“When we come back in four years time we want to be a team that is feared, not one that surprises people,” he said.
Nevertheless, Postecoglou is abundantly clear about the task at hand in Curitiba.
Without Tim Cahill and almost certainly Mark Bresciano, as well as defensive midfielder Mark Milligan and defender Ivan Franjic (ruled out after game one with Chile), Socceroo stocks are stretched to the absolute limit.
And combined with the quality of opposition, this will make Postecoglou’s dream of a third World Cup win in Socceroo history even harder.
“Spain have had moments in their games were they looked like the could have run away with it," he noted.
“Their players are champions at club and international level. We expect to meet a very motivated Spanish team."
But he's banking on another high-intensity, tactically astute showing from the boys in gold against Spain's golden generation.
“We want to be proactive with the ball and I think it suits our players. We will take that attitude into tomorrow's game
“The goal for tomorrow is to put in our best performance of this World Cup,” he said.
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