FFA CEO David Gallop has hailed the Socceroos’ performance at the World Cup so far and has challenged the national team to shine at the 2015 Asian Cup and qualify for Russia 2018.
Speaking ahead of Thursday morning’s clash (Australian time) with a rampant Dutch at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Gallop was bullish about Australia’s chances in Brazil.
But he is also taking a longer term view of the national team's progression under Ange Postecoglou.
“There is a bigger picture here as well. While it is great to have honourable defeats, ultimately, that is not where we want to be,” he said.
“The Socceroos are on a journey. We are looking to be winners.
"We’re looking to really do well at the Asian Cup then make it to a fifth World Cup in Russia.
“Look at someone like Matthew Leckie, who’ll be at the height of his powers at the next World Cup after he lifted to a new level against Chile.”
Gallop remained upbeat about the remainder of this tournament, despite the extremely tough draw on paper with the Dutch then the Spanish to come in Group B.
“The boys are optimistic. They took a lot out of that second half and the way we finished with a wet sail.
“[These are] other opportunities for us to show where we’re at against world class opposition.
“We want to win games. Ange and the boys came away from [the Chile loss] wishing a couple of things had turned out differently and we would have won that game.”
And the FFA CEO backed star man Tim Cahill’s claims that a Chilean player told him on the park at the Arena Pantanal that he was a cheat.
“Tim’s one of the most experienced footballers at the tournament and he is not going to make those kind of accusations lightly,” he said.
Saturday’s clash with Chile came on the 40th anniversary of the Socceroos’ first World Cup match in West Germany 1974.
Now after a fourth qualification for the world’s biggest single sporting event, Gallop paid tribute to that achievement.
“It’s an opportunity to reflect that on this very day the Socceroos made it to our first World Cup,” he said.
“They were amateur players and they really did a great job just to be there.”
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