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Nov 19, 2013

Ange wins on his first Socceroos date

Most first dates feature hesitant passes.

Some nervy moments. A couple of rushes of blood. But also genuine excitement.

So it was with Ange Postecoglou's first date as Australian coach.

Postecoglou put the feelers out in a 1-0 triumph against Costa Rica in Tuesday night's friendly in Sydney.

The new boss never expected to find all the answers from one match. And, in fact, he probably left with even more questions.

While Postecoglou tried to move forward, as most do on a first date, he was forced to look back.

His favoured solution for the troublesome left-back spot, Jason Davidson, was blushing frequently.

Two Davidson blunders almost cost two goals. A question mark remains against his name.

So too does the skipper, Lucas Neill.

Now Australia's longest-serving captain, Neill had some shaky moments.

But the callowness of Neill's fellow defenders could extend his career to next year's World Cup in Brazil, for organisational as much as ball skills.

If it does, he'll likely play plenty alongside A-Leaguer Ivan Franjic, whose dash and daring from right-back was eye-catching.

The role of Neill's central defensive partner was shared: Rhys Williams started brightly, then faded, before being subbed for Ryan McGowan.

While the defence remains wobbly, Postecoglou would have been heartened elsewhere.

Midfielders Mile Jedinak and Mark Bresciano were classy, Mark Milligan composed, substitute Tom Rogic electric - though Dario Vidosic went missing on the left-flank.

Thankfully, Robbie Kruse made amends along the right with a dynamic display.

Kruse could yet become Australia's most important player, but talisman Tim Cahill retains that status.

Cahill came from the bench and scored. Which ultimately meant that Postecoglou scored too, on his first date.

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