Matthew Ryan has described the 2014 World Cup as the biggest challenge in his football career and says the Socceroos were left disappointed and frustrated by the lack of reward for their efforts in Brazil.
The Socceroos lost all three of their World Cup matches but pushed the Chileans hard in their opener and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point against the Dutch, after leading 2-1 in the second half in Porto Alegre.
Ange Postecoglou's men received praise for their positive, proactive playing style and the way they took the games to their highly-regarded opponents.
But Ryan and the Socceroo defence conceded three goals in each game, a result the goalkeeper said was not good enough.
“The World Cup was easily the most challenging hurdle I have faced in my career to date,” the 22-year-old said.
“That would be the biggest lesson to take from it. That if you are not consistently on top of every aspect of the game for the entire game, the opposition will find ways to capitalise.
“As a team we are disappointed and frustrated at the lack of reward for our effort.
“The boss has instilled a fearless winning mentality within the group and to come away with nothing is a bit of an anti-climax as it's a results-based game.”
Ryan, who plies his trade in Belgium with Club Brugge, was playing at his first World Cup after debuting for the Socceroos in 2012.
And he feels the Socceroos matched it with the best in the world in substantial periods in their matches in Brazil.
“It just shows the difficulty of this level that you need to fulfill those requirements for the entire 90 minuets to ensure results,” he added.
“So it's a case of building on what we have started since the boss has taken over.”
Ryan is now on a break before returning to Belgium for pre-season training. The former Central Coast Mariner was thankful for the backing the team received during the World Cup.
“The support we received from the Australian public was crazy,” Ryan said.
“Being in the headlines and front pages of major networks was just amazing.
“The amount of people on social media showing their support, the TV ratings and the atmospheres in the stadiums was unreal to witness.
“It makes us players feel so proud to represent the best country in the world and to hear stories from fans saying that other fans from other nations are complimenting the brand of football we play.
“It just shows the progress we are making.”comments