Ange Postecoglou has no regrets over picking just six defenders in his World Cup squad after the loss of fullback Ivan Franjc.
Franjic is out of the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury suffered in the 3-1 loss to Chile and central defender Ryan McGowan is most likely to take his place against the Dutch. McGowan is providing cover at both centre back and right back, but usually plays in the heart of defence for his Chinese club.
Socceroo veteran Luke Wilkshire was controversially omitted from the 23-man squad and Mark Milligan has played as a right fullback very earlier in his career, but is normally a central midfielder.
“No regrets at all,” Postecoglou said. “We picked a squad we felt was the best squad for this tournament. We fully expected we’d get hit somewhere, we certainly didn’t think we’d get through the tournament with just 11 players. We’re well aware that they’re be some challenges along the way, as there always is.
“We’ve got a couple of days to think about how we refresh the group and who we put in there. There might be one change, they’re might be a couple. The first game was pretty taxing on everyone in those sort of conditions there, so we’ll see how everyone recovers and we’ll make decisions accordingly.”
The 48-year old said the loss of Ivan Franjic to injury is disappointing for both him and for the Socceroos.
“He was probably one of the ones that started off a little bit slowly but came into the game, set up Timmy to score,” Postecoglou said. “But that’s the nature of the game.”
McGowan is likely to take Franjic’s place against the Oranje if the Socceroos go with a 4-2-3-1 formation again. Alternatively, Postecoglou could go with a back three and use the likes of Matthew Leckie and Tommy Oar as attacking wingbacks.
Postecoglou agreed with the claims of Tim Cahill that the referee made several mistakes in the Chile match.
“I thought it was a clear-cut penalty to him [at one stage],” he said.
“They were very wary of him. We’ve got every right to be as upset as every other nation if we don’t get the decision. Particularly at a critical stage like that. I thought most of the 50-50 decisions went against us.”
Postecoglou described the Dutch, the Socceroos’ next opponent, as the one of the favourites to win the World Cup.
“The Netherlands are a good side and one of the favourites of the tournament,” he said. “But every game’s different. Every game has its own moments where things can change. In the Spain game,
Spain could have been 2-0 up before they even scored. When we play them we’ll have our moments and it’s about capitalising on our moments. It’ll be a fantastic measure but that’s our group. That’s the beauty of it. We’ll find out where we’re at it.”