Ange plans for grander green and gold future

Ange Postecoglou continues to try and turn conventional wisdom surrounding the Socceroos on its head, predicting Australia will become genuine World Cup contenders in the future.

The men in green and gold have always been unfancied on international football's biggest stage, but head to this year's tournament in Brazil more the outsiders than ever before as they seek to play catch up on a long overdue regeneration project.

Some observers have tipped the players and coaches to tap into and draw strength from the traditional spirit of the 'Aussie battler' ahead of daunting matches against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain.

But Postecoglou has far grander ambitions than merely giving the big boys a run for their money.

"I don't want to continually be the underdog," he said ahead the Socceroos' farewell friendly against South Africa at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Monday.

"I look forward to the day when we're one of the favourites for the tournament. Maybe it won't happen under my tenure but that'll be the intent moving forward."

Media outlets around the world have Australia as certainties to be on one of the first flights home from South America, with nothing to show for their three matches against heavyweight opposition.

But none of those disparaging reports will be pinned up as clichéd dressing room inspiration.

"I won't use it as motivation because to be honest it doesn't concern me," Postecoglou said when asked about some of the Socceroos' negative press.

"I'm pretty dismissive of it. We know what we're capable of and what we need to do to keep progressing as a football nation. We're not going to be constantly playing the underdog tag and people writing us off."

With over two-and-a-half weeks still to go before the World Cup kicks off, Postecoglou insisted the team he fields and the decisions he makes in the run-out against Bafana Bafana will offer little insight into the likely starting XI against Chile next month.

"I'm not a scientist, so I'm not into experimenting," he said.

"I know a lot of people have thrown that term around. Everything we do, we'll do for a purpose. We'll make the six substitutions, but a lot of that will be just around how players are coping with the game.

"In terms of the travelling party, in my mind, I'm pretty much at the point where I know which of the guys will travel.

"Tomorrow night some guys will get a game because they need a game, if they impress, of course it brings them into calculations. Three weeks in the world of football, it can be a lifetime. A lot of things can change."

Tim Cahill is set to captain the side in the absence of newly appointed skipper Mile Jedinak, who is nearing a return to full fitness from the groin injury he suffered on the final day of Crystal Palace's Premier League season.

Send Off the Socceroos

Socceroos vs South Africa, presented by NAB

Monday 26 May 2014
 ANZ Stadium, Sydney 
Kick-off: 7.30pm
Tickets from $30, including public transport. Buy now!

ABC Grandstand will have live coverage of the match from 1900-2135 AEST on ABC Grandstand Digital across Australia, online and via the phone app.

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