Defiant Postecoglou sticking to plan A for Socceroos


Coach Ange Postecoglou says his team will hit the ground running in their World Cup play-off tie against Syria in October, brushing aside frustration at failing to qualify automatically for Russian Federation.

Postecoglou defended his players' effort in the vital qualifier, saying they could not have done any more to try to get the result they needed.

"It's obviously a more hard road", said Postecoglou on Wednesday in Melbourne.

Fahad Al Muwallad's second-half victor took the Kingdom to their fifth World Cup and consigned Australia to the play-offs as they beat Japan 1-0 in Jeddah on Tuesday.

Devastating: Australia's hollow victory against Thailand saw them finish third in the qualifiers for the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia's 1-0 victory over Japan in Jeddah in the early hours of Wednesday morning ensured that the men from the Middle East would take second place on goal difference from the Australians and thus go directly to the World Cup alongside group winners Japan.

The top two teams in each of Asia's two qualifying groups advance automatically to the finals while the teams in third place go through a series of playoffs.

Ange Postecoglou's team will have to face the team from war-torn Syria in the first of two potential play-off ties if the Socceroos are to qualify for the fourth time in a row.

Away leg pencilled in for 5 October, home leg 10 October.

The victor of that will go on to battle North and Central America's fourth-placed qualifier in November for a spot at the global showpiece.

A tough road to take, and one that could have been avoided if Australia had made more of its chances against an overmatched Thailand on Tuesday.

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"At the moment, he's hanging by a thread in my opinion", Bosnich said of Postecoglou.

"To be fair it's a mess and the players think we are against them!"

Bosnich was particularly critical of Postecoglou's 3-2-4-1 setup.

'Don't be using the national team as an experimental laboratory.

'We're not England or Brazil or federations with a lot of money.

"The game in this country needs us to qualify all the time. I wish Syria and Australia the very best of luck in the play-off match".

"I don't make anything of (the criticism) and I won't waste my time responding to it", Postecoglou said. Enough bulls--! We now need saving.

Postecoglou refused to back away from his game plan and approach, despite a disappointing end to the first stage of qualification.

But there's no appetite at FFA to change coaches, and it won't be happening before Australia's World Cup fate is sealed. "I'm coach of the national team, it's a great honour and I'll see it through". This is nothing new.

"I've survived much worse than this and if anything it motivates me because I want to make sure Australian football gets on the right path".