Are these Socceroos real deal?

WHEN the Socceroos take on Germany in Kaiserslautern on Thursday morning it will be almost four years to the day since Holger Osieck's team shocked the Germans to win 2-1.

That was one of the high points for the German-born coach in a tenure which ended just over two years ago following back-to-back 6-0 defeats to Brazil and France.

Ange Postecoglou began his reign a month later, leading the nation on a rollercoaster ride of emotions through the World Cup and beyond to ultimate success in the Asian Cup in January on home soil.

Asian Cup glory is obviously the pinnacle of Postecoglou's national coaching career so far, but just how far have the Socceroos come since Osieck's departure?

It is perhaps fitting that the Socceroos return to the scene of arguably its greatest triumph - the 3-1 win over Japan at the 2006 World Cup - and worst moment in international football - the defeat to Italy in the quarter-finals of the same tournament - as Postecoglou begins the next part of his journey as national coach.

Postecoglou's record since taking the reins is: played 18 - won seven, drawn two and lost nine, with a win percentage of 38.89.

If you compare that to his predecessor, it doesn't really stack up, with Osieck having won 23 of his 44 games in charge; drawing 10 and losing 11 with a win percentage of 52.27.

There are, however, some mitigating circumstances regarding those statistics, with Postecoglou using the first few games of his reign following the 2014 World Cup to try out combinations as he searched for what he believed was the right squad which would bring him that Asian Cup success.

After the World Cup - which saw the Socceroos lose to Chile, the Netherlands and Spain in a tough group - the former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory mentor used more than 40 players in his search for the right team.

In that time he unearthed a diamond from the rough in the shape of Massimo Luongo, who became the MVP at the Asian Cup. Postecoglou was also prepared to look in the A-League as he continues to build for the future and the next big competition - the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

If you compare the squad which Postecoglou has chosen for this week's friendly against the world champions, and the one picked by Osieck for his last game against France, you will see there are nine players who appear in both line-ups.

Not too much of a change there. But the startling thing to see is that in Osieck's squad there are just two players - Matt McKay and Mark Milligan - who were plying their trade in the A-League.

In the squad to face the Germans, Postecoglou has chosen eight players - Milligan and McKay included - who are in the domestic competition.

That figure would have been nine had Matt Spiranovic not pulled out because of a hamstring complaint.

Tim Cahill did not play in that 2-1 win over the Germans on March 30, 2011, but he is likely to lead the line on Thursday morning as Postecoglou looks to continue the winning run following Asian Cup glory.

A win over Germany is certainly not going to define Postecoglou's career.

It will, however, show us whether that Asian Cup success was just a flash in the pan.



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