Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou was in a bullishly myth-busting mood ahead of his side’s Confederations Cup Group B opener against world champions Germany in Sochi.
Much has been made of Joachim Low’s decision to select a Germany squad lacking most of the country’s star names for this trip to Russia, with an emphasis on youth and fringe players a year out from their World Cup defence.
Postecoglou’s Australia bowed out in Brazil with three defeats from group matches against Chile, Netherlands and Spain – prompting a period of supposed transition that has already reaped handsome rewards.
Asian Cup glory booked the Socceroos’ place in Russia this year, while a spot here in 12 months’ time will stand or fall by an expansive and ambitious playing style.
Australia’s transformation under Postecoglou has flown under the radar in the build up to the Germany game, with the focus on Low’s next generation, and the 51-year-old was keen to set the record straight during his pre-match briefing at Fisht Stadium.
“Let’s dispel one myth,” he said. “When the teams walk out tomorrow I reckon we’ll be younger. If people want to do some research, see who the younger team will be.
“We don’t buy into any of that stuff [about Germany being weak]. It’s a great game for us, we’re playing against the world champions.
“It’s a great test for us and that’s how we’ll use it but I’ll not buy into the idea we’re playing against a weakened team. It’s a bit of a myth.
“Do the maths – I could be wrong.”
The man most able to knock Postecolglou’s predictions offline is veteran forward Tim Cahill.
Now with Melbourne City in his homeland, the 37-year-old former Everton star has a pair of landmarks in his sights as he sits on 96 caps and 48 goals for his country.
“Being able to have the chance to get to that marker will be a massive honour in my career but, over time, I’d much prefer to take success in this competition because it’s a massive competition,” said Cahill, who vouched for Australia being revitalised under Postecoglou.
“The key thing for us is believing in the way we play and the philosophy of the last two or three years,” he added.
“They have young players but there is pressure on them to do well. We know they’ve got to produce. If we play the style we know we can most definitely beat them.”