Australia ended their disappointing East Asian Cup campaign with a loss to China to finish bottom of the table, but coach Holger Osieck will go home satisfied he's got a much better picture of his experimental squad.
Despite a late fight back Australia couldn't snatch victory on Sunday with the 4-3 defeat their second loss of the tournament after going down 3-2 to Japan and opening with a 0-0 against hosts South Korea.
Poor defending allowed China to grab a fourth minute lead through Yu Dabao before Western Sydney midfielder Aaron Mooy levelled with a 30 metre thunderbolt in the 29th minute.
China grabbed the lead again 10 minutes into the second half at Seoul Olympic Stadium through Sun Ke.
A late double from Yang Xu and Wu Lei ensured victory while second half substitute Adam Taggart and Mitchell Duke got consolation goals for Australia in the dying minutes.
It was a sluggish looking Socceroos who took to the field, not applying any pressure and letting a composed Chinese outfit get out of their half much too easily.
While the Socceroos managed to work their way into the game, the Chinese still dominated with the scoreline no reflection of the match.
" I could see in the first two games that China had a really well organised team," Osieck said.
"The first 20 minutes they surprised us because they played very flexible football in the midfield. But we managed to get our team together and from then on we played a really open game."
Australia ended the tournament outplayed by all three opponents but Osieck said the tough outings were crucial for the development of his inexperienced squad, made up predominantly of out-of-season A-League players.
Newcastle's Josh Brillante and Mark Birighitti made their debuts on Sunday as Osieck made several changes to his lineup with Tomi Juric, Mitch Nichols, Robert Cornthwaite, Craig Goodwin, Erik Paartalu and Mooy all starting.
Connor Pain earned his first cap as a second-half substitute for skipper Matt McKay, who with 41 caps under his belt has more than Sunday's entire starting team put together.
"We came to this tournament with a developmental team and if you see the line up today one player had more caps than the rest of the team together," Osieck conceded.
"That was definitely the purpose to be here, to play against good Asian teams who are in full swing and in their season."
Mooy recovered from his nervous start to be one of the standouts on Sunday with the dead-ball specialist netting a screamer and constantly looking threatening from range.
Mitchell Duke, who along with McKay and defender Ryan McGowan were the only players to start all three games, was also impressive.
Veteran Archie Thompson who hadn't figured much in the last two matches came on late to great effect, setting Duke up for his second goal of the tournament.
Brillante, who plays in midfield at the Jets, struggled to adapt to the right-back role.
"Aaron I think he played a very good game," Osieck said.
"Mitch Duke played wide, which is not ideal for him, but I think he had a good game.
"You see when a player like Archie comes on, it changes right away. But I know what Archie can do for the team.
"I needed to see Taggart, I needed to see Juric, I needed to see Pain, Duke again, and I now have a fair picture of who is standing where."