SYDNEY (31 March 2015) – Australia were held to a dour 0-0 by Macedonia on Monday but coach Ange Postecoglou insists it bodes well for their joint 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
The home side’s stubborn defence and a bumpy pitch blunted the Socceroos’ attack and there was to be no repeat of the scintillating display against Germany which garnered the Socceroos a creditable 2-2 draw last week.
With the World Cup qualifying campaign and the defence of their AFC Asian Cup title starting in June, Postecoglou believes the Macedonian stalemate was hugely beneficial for his charges.
“These are the first steps for us and nights like this are great for us,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
“It shows the boys that sometimes in international games it’s not just the opponent that can challenge us it’s the conditions and playing in a foreign environment as well.
“Tonight was really good in terms of our learning curve. It’s been a whirlwind two games for us. We’ve had some pretty good players missing from this group and the guys here acquitted themselves.
“From my perspective we’ve got a real strong pool of players to choose from for the June (World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers) and the back half of the year gets really busy.”
“It was a bit of a challenge tonight. The conditions or the pitch didn’t help the way we wanted to move the ball around.
“We started brightly enough then got a bit frustrated and tried to force things. We had some chances which we needed to score to open them up, on the flipside I don’t think (our keepers) had a save to make.
“We had a lot of possession but we couldn’t really create much and the boys started looking for alternatives that probably weren’t there.
“It’s all part of the learning curve. Another game of international experience for a lot of these guys which they need.”
Australia will find out their opponents for the second phase of the joint 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers at a draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 14.