Time for Asia to make mark: Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou says it's time teams from Asia stepped up on the world stage. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Ange Postecoglou says it's time teams from Asia stepped up on the world stage. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Asian teams should aim to be the feared contingent at the next World Cup, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says, acknowledging this year's showpiece has been far from successful for the region.

With the Asian Cup just around the corner, organisers were hoping strong World Cup showings from the Asian teams would help build interest.

But all four sides in Brazil - Australia, Iran, South Korea and Japan - have struggled.

Opening with back-to-back losses, the Socceroos were the first to be ruled out, while South Korea's World Cup campaign is all but over after suffering a 4-2 loss against Algeria, and Japan and Iran's hopes hang by a thread with must-win final group matches remaining.

The Socceroos' final match in Brazil against world champions Spain on Tuesday marks 200 days until the Asian Cup kicks off in Australia in January.

The Socceroos have shown some very encouraging signs in Brazil to warrant hope of a strong performance on home soil next year, especially considering injured trio playmaker Tom Rogic, winger Robbie Kruse and centre-back Rhys Williams should all be fit.

But Postecoglou feels it's time Asia made a mark on the world stage.

"For us, as a confederation, that is the next challenge - to try and come to the World Cup and really make an impact," he said on Sunday.

"I think Iran were definitely unlucky, if you look at Korea they're a little bit like us and going through a regeneration and looking to build. I think Japan are still a quality team, they just haven't been able to get the reward at this stage for the quality of team they have.

Costa Rica have been the tournament surprise packets, upsetting the highly-fancied Uruguay and Italy to sit top of their group.

They have secured a spot in the second round to give the Central American confederation some joy, along with the USA's opening win against Ghana.

African sides Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Algeria also look like advancing.

Postecoglou said Asia should be inspired by the progress of both regions.

"Seeing the African nations and even the two Central American nations, particularly Costa Rica, and the US still have a chance, if you see a confederation like that starting to make inroads, that is the challenge for us in Asia," he continued.

"That is a responsibility of ours as well as Australia. We want to come back in four year's time and try and be one of the feared teams rather than one of the teams that may cause a surprise and that goes for all Asian nations - that is our challenge over the next four years." - AAP


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