FUTURE LOOKING BRIGHT
THE Socceroos’ disciplined World Cup qualifying rout of Bangladesh was a glimpse into life after Tim Cahill and it looks rosier than ever.
Ranked 112 spots below Australia the woeful Tigers were hardly an ideal yardstick, but coach Ange Postecoglou may not have flirted with such selection risks a year ago.
Aside from Mark Milligan, who turned 30 last month, the first XI comprised of players that, age-wise, will all still be in the mix when the 2022 World Cup comes around.
While the game resembled a training session with Bangladesh struggling to string three passes together, the sharpness, interplay and smarts of the Socceroos midfield and attack was impressive.
This was the first step in making the team less reliant on Cahill and particularly his aerial ability. The Socceroos’ attack roamed Perth’s nib Stadium like stray cats, meaning it was often hard to pinpoint the 4-1-2-3 formation.
With Milligan sitting, Tom Rogic caused havoc ahead alongside Aaron Mooy and Massimo Luongo impressed in an unusual wide right role as Mathew Leckie led the line with Nathan Burns on the other side.
“Tim was ready to go, but we put out a team that I thought will be really mobile and test the opposition and give an opportunity to some guys that need experience,’’ Postecoglou said. “I wanted plenty of movement and interchange between our midfielders and our front guys and it’s something we want to eventually evolve to so it was decent progress in that area.’’
Tajikistan in Dushanbe next week will be a far sterner test for the Socceroos.