Ange Postecoglou praises new-look Australia: They brought energy
Even by Ange Postecoglou's funky selection standards, this was a shake-up for the ages.
The Socceroos coach made six changes for Australia's do-or-die Confederations Cup clash with Chile -- a match they needed to win by two goals to progress to the semifinals.
Team stalwarts were thrown around.
Mark Milligan was moved to centre back, Tim Cahill was put in attacking midfield for his 100th match and Robbie Kruse was asked to do his share of defending in the advanced right-wing role.
A new pairing -- Massimo Luongo and Jackson Irvine -- were deployed as holding midfielders.
In doing so, first team regulars Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Mathew Leckie were denied the chance to take on Chile; one of the biggest occasions of their international career.
Was this really the match to throw in such an experimental lineup?
Cahill led from the front in the 1-1 draw. Milligan shut down Alexis Sanchez. Irvine was a revelation.
Luongo bounced back from his shocker against Germany and Kruse fired Australia forward time and again.
Not for the first time in his tenure, Postecoglou was questioned and was vindicated.
"We had guys waiting that didn't play in the first two games that we knew would bring energy to the group and maintain our style of football," Postecoglou said.
"We were going to need it today because they're a world class team. Credit to the guys who came in. They certainly brought energy."
Postecoglou paid tribute to players that came in and played beyond their capacity given layoffs.
"We're asking these guys to the most ridiculous things but we're trying to set our standards high," he said.
"Trent Sainsbury has played 20 minutes of football all year.
"Guys like Millsy, James Troisi, his last club game was early May.
"The kind of game we wanted to play needs a lot of energy and high levels of fitness.
"We didn't have that coming into this tournament because of the nature of where our players at at the moment.
"That's something we need to rectify. The fact that they just kept going speaks volumes."
Milligan's best moment was a last gasp tackle on Sanchez which prevented a near-certain goal.
"He is world class. He escaped my clutches a few times," Milligan said, smiling.
The 31-year-old said he hoped the performance convinced a few doubters.
"Hopefully everyone now can see what we're trying to achieve and the direction we're trying to head in. It's been a worthwhile trip," he said.