Still some big 'ifs' over Postecoglou's Socceroos
FOOTBALL: The Socceroos have clearly come a long way since the days of Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck but the last couple of games have proven that there is still a long way to go.
Ange Postecoglou's dream is that Australia will one day challenge for a World Cup crown and while some might say that is pie in the sky, I am with the Socceroos coach.
He has to aim for his team to be as good as it can be and with the talent at his disposal now, if he gets things right, then the Socceroos might give the world's football powers a run for their money.
But "if” is the important word, such as if Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo can get to play at a higher level and improve their game.
At the moment all three are getting rave reviews - Mooy with Championship leader Huddersfield, Luongo at Queens Park Rangers in English football's second tier and Rogic with Scottish giant Celtic.
But let's face facts, none of those clubs are the force they once were and the standard of football is not up where it should be for the Socceroos stars.
The other big "if” is whether those three can play in the same team.
To accommodate the trio against Japan in the 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Melbourne, Postecoglou changed the system from 4-3-3 to a diamond-shaped 4-4-2 formation.
That clearly threw the players and they struggled to come to terms with it in a disjointed first half.
I can understand Postecoglou wanting to play Mooy, Luongo and Rogic in the same team, but it should not be to the detriment of the team.
The players have got used to playing in a certain way and, as they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
For what it's worth I would probably go for Mooy and Rogic with Luongo coming on as an impact player.
The final big "if” for the future success of the Socceroos is this - if (and when) Tim Cahill retires, who scores the goals for the Socceroos?
Tomi Juric seems to be the go-to man for Postecoglou but he is far from being the finished article.
Mathew Leckie struggles for goals at the highest level, and while Robbie Kruse might be creative and make a few chances for others, he is hardly prolific on the scoring front.
Until these big "ifs” are sorted out then the Socceroos will remain on the periphery of world football.