Aussie coach walks
ANGE Postecoglou framed his departure as Socceroos head coach with a stereotypically Aussie scenario. He'd decided to quit last week immediately after Australia qualified for a fourth consecutive World Cup, only to be talked out of it an hour later.
Five beers later, he was wavering amid the celebrations. A week after that, he made the announcement that he wouldn't be taking the Australian team to next year's World Cup in Russia, despite guiding them through a grueling, 22-game qualifying campaign that concluded with back-to-back, winner-takes-all playoff series.
"It's been the toughest decision. It's not the ending I envisaged," said Postecoglou, who replaced German coach Holger Osieck in 2013 and guided Australia at the 2014 World Cup. "I'll always have a sense of unfinished business, but that would probably have been the case whenever I left.
"It's just an instinct I think it's the right time for me, for the team and for the organisation."
Australia narrowly missed out on direct entry for Russia, finishing out of the automatic spots only on goal difference in Asian qualifying.
Speculation about Postecoglou's future increased after a newspaper report in the wake of Australia's Asian play-off win over Syria suggested he would not take the team to Russia regardless of what happened in the intercontinental play-off against Honduras.
Postecoglou refused to comment on the reports at the time, and appeared to be increasingly aggravated by the continued focus on his position while the team was preparing for crucial matches in Honduras and in Sydney.