Socceroos' self-belief big plus for Ange Postecoglou

WORLD CUP 2014

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.

He's not being rude. But Ange Postecoglou doesn't care what you think.

He's doesn't care if you reckon the 3-0 loss to Spain took some gloss off a previously half-polished campaign.

And accolades from rival World Cup coaches - he doesn't really care about them either.

All that matters to Postecoglou is what he and his players think; the Socceroos's self-image.

"We came into this tournament with the right intent and we were positive and backed ourselves and had belief," Postecoglou said on Tuesday.

"We have pushed some of the best countries in the world.

"We're not a top 15 nation right now. And that is what we have got to try and be in the next four years, we have got to push on and try and bridge that gap.

"Whether people think this is a setback or whatever, I'm not really fussed to be honest."

So how to assess a winless tournament containing defeats to Chile, the Netherlands and Spain?

A lot went right. A lot remains wrong.

Postecoglou's vision of Australia as an attacking nation was realised.

Tim Cahill enhanced his status as the best-ever Socceroo, scoring twice in two games - his magnificent volleyed goal will forever be recounted.

Mathew Leckie emerged as a marauding machine to vie with Cahill as Australia's player of the tournament.

Postecoglou offered priceless experience to his generation next.

Young defenders Jason Davidson and Matthew Spiranovic made some errors but showed promise; goalkeeper Mat Ryan was solid yet conceded three goals every game, mostly a victim of lack of protection from his teammates.

The trio, and the likes of Tommy Oar, Ben Halloran and James Troisi, will be better for the runs.

But the same pre-tournament worries remain.

In attack, it was Cahill or bust. What to do when the 34-year-old calls it quits?

The midfield, despite steadying influences of captain Mile Jedinak and two accomplished performances from Matt McKay, lacked fizz.

The defence - all international novices - was broken too easily, too often.

Injuries disrupted Postecoglou's plans. Ivan Franjic and Mark Milligan played only the tournament opener because of hamstring strains while Mark Bresciano was restricted by back and hip ailments to classy cameos.

But overall, nobody genuinely expected Australia to win a game. Some said they wouldn't even score a goal.

Since being appointed coach just eight months ago, Postecoglou sold this message: if people are excited about watching the Socceroos after the World Cup, it's a job well done.

He made a successful sale. And he also sold a nation the most treasured asset in sport: hope. - AAP

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