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Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou

Latest Team: Australia

2014 FIFA World Cup

  • 3GP
  •  
  • 0Won
  •  
  • 0Draw
  •  
  • 3Lost
  •  

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Previous Clubs/Countries: South Melbourne, Australia U-20, Panachaiki, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory

Honours: NSL Premiership, 1998; NSL Championship, 1998, 1999; Oceania Club Championship, 1999; A-League Premiership, 2011; A-League Championship, 2011, 2012

It is never ideal to change coaches just nine months before the World Cup but the majority of Australian fans think that the October jettisoning of Holger Osieck after a second successive 6-0 thrashing in favour of Ange Postecoglou was a positive development. An unconvincing World Cup qualification campaign, poor subsequent results and a perceived reluctance to regenerate an aging team all equalled an unloved coach.

In came a new man, an Australian with a penchant for the beautiful side of the world game, a man with a plan and a long-term vision that wasn't about Brazil 2014 alone.

Despite the relatively tender coaching age of 48, the Athens-born tactician started out in the previous century with National Soccer League side South Melbourne, ending the Millennium with a second successive league title as well as the Oceania Club Championship.

Such a start earned a promotion to become the coach of Australia's under-20 team in 2000, a position he was to hold until 2007. While he acquired a reputation for having an eye for young talent, that was overshadowed by the manner of his departure.

The failure to guide the Young Socceroos to the 2007 U20 World Cup led the coach to appear on an Australian television programme called The World Game. Postecoglou was savaged by leading analyst and former Socceroo and Crystal Palace star Craig Foster.

It made for compelling, if brutal, viewing. It was assumed that Postecoglou would not be seen or heard of for a while but soon after a short spell in Greece he was back Down Under to take over Brisbane Roar, a team that had done little since the advent of the A-League.

His appointment midway through the 2009-10 season was seen as somewhat underwhelming and he used the rest of the campaign to start trimming, pruning and planting. Out went some of the bigger names in the team such as Craig Moore, Liam Reddy and Charlie Miller while some younger ones were shipped out too.

It was a first sign that the new man wanted to do things his way. And it was the same with the football he wanted to play. It all came together for the 2010-11 campaign, perhaps the most dominant in the A-League's short history. Brisbane didn't just run riot, they passed and moved to devastating effect. Jean Carlos Solorzano and Kosta Barbarouses got the goals, many of which were set up by German star Thomas Broich.

Brisbane were looking good and playing a crisp, fast passing game. Best of all, they was getting results. The team started well and never looked back, losing just one game all season as they topped the table. There was still the championship series to negotiate and it all looked to have slipped away in the Grand Final as Central Coast Mariners scored twice in the first period of extra time. Two goals in the last four minutes sent 50,000 fans wild and meant a penalty shootout that Brisbane won.

Repeating the success in the following year made the coach the hottest property in Australian football and in April 2012, he got the call from the country's biggest club -- Melbourne Victory. He took the team into third and into a Grand Final that ended in defeat at the hands of Sydney FC.

Since his Brisbane success, it has been a question of when Postecoglou would get the call from the national team. If he proves anywhere near as good on the international stage as he has been at home, Aussie fans are in for some good times.

Strengths: Strong-minded, tactically well-versed and flexible with a clear vision of the way he wants to play. Popular with players and fans, and skilled with the media.

Weaknesses: Not much international experience and his much-vaunted Brisbane team failed to win a game in the Asian Champions League.

Career High: The crazy last four minutes in the 2011 Grand Final when Brisbane came back from two goals down to force an ultimately victorious penalty shootout.

Career Low: Failure to qualify for the 2007 U20 World Cup and that interview on national television.

Tactics: Likes his teams to play from the back and press from the front. Has used 4-2-2-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 at club level but may have to be a little more pragmatic with the Socceroos and 4-2-3-1 could become the norm.

Quote: ''The response of the football community, and Australian people generally, has been overwhelming. I'm still getting my head around it. But this job is also a challenge, a huge one, because generally I do my best work when I'm under siege." Postecoglou on his appointment in 2013.

Trivia: He took Brisbane Roar on a record 36-game unbeaten run that started in September 2010 and ended in December 2011.

Words: John Duerden