Poor pitches threaten Socceroos' success - Ange

Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou has blasted the state of the pitch at ANZ stadium during Australia’s 1-0 friendly win over Greece, saying another surface like that could cost Australia World Cup qualification.

The Greek national team and the Australians had to contend with a rain affected surface that was still dealing with the impact of a State of Origin game midweek.

Postecoglou has ramped up the attack on playing surfaces in recent weeks, saying the national team deserves to be playing on better pitches.

And the normally mild-mannered coach didn’t hold back when talking post-match about Saturday night’s pitch conditions.

“I’m really embarrassed,” Postecoglou said. “We have an international country and we’re hosting them. We’re supposed to be the sporting nation of the world; we keep throwing around these monikers.

“We have to play Japan in Australia in October. That’s going to be a hell of a tough game. The whole World Cup qualification could hinge on it.

“Do we not want the conditions to suit us? To present a pitch that suits our style of play? To get that advantage? I’m sure when we play in Japan they will. We shouldn’t have to prove that we’re some sort of pedigree before we get what I think our nation deserves.

“I don’t want to detract from the team and the players’ performance, because in difficult conditions I just thought it was a really disciplined and really committed performance.”

Even in wet and slippery conditions the Socceroos attempted to play out from the back and with the ball at their feet, however there were numerous times when their attacking play was thwarted by the pitch. 

“It’s part of our mantra to move the ball quickly and to play with a quick tempo,” Postecoglopu said.

“When you have to watch the ball as it arrives on your foot because you’re worried about bobbling all over the place – I’m sure it affected them as well.

“The 40,000 people here want to see Tommy Rogic running at full flight and taking people on, so why don’t we provide him the conditions to do that?

 “I know I am going to sound like a whinger but so be it. But in our game, and our game alone, the pitch is an essential part of the spectacle and if that’s not good then we’re cheating people.”

Greece features players in their squad who play club football for Borussia Dortmund, Benfica, and Sampdoria. After the Australians more than matched two highly ranked European teams in consecutive friendlies Postecoglou agreed that many of the current Socceroos wouldn’t look out of place in those clubs.

“That’s what I keep banging on about,” he said. “At the moment because they’re Australians, people especially, externally, put them in a box about what sort of players they are and what they can do.

“(Greece) have got some very good players in some pretty big clubs, and ours aren’t and they should be. I’m hoping the players themselves will push on and they get belief out of this.

“They should be thinking of going to big clubs and making an impact. I believe they are good enough. Their performances, more importantly now, are beginning to show that.”