A day out from the W-League season Ange Postecoglou has dropped a truth bomb, arguing that the Matildas heroics won't change the Australian sporting landscape. The Tottenham manager said the Matildas’ record-breaking run to a World Cup semi-final was incredible but won't have a lasting legacy on the sport in Australia.
Postecoglou's comments came from a place of experience as he led the Socceroos to an incredible title-winning run at the 2015 Asian Cup which sparked very little change. Speaking ahead of Australia's clash with England in a friendly at Wembley on Saturday morning, Postecoglou said Australians at their core just aren't interested enough in football.
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“It didn’t make an impact back there and that was kind of my frustration,” he said, speaking about Australia's Asian Cup success. “When you look at what the Matildas did at the World Cup, unbelievable, but you still won’t see an influx of resources to the game. You won’t. I guarantee it."
“They’ll build stadiums and other codes will use them. I just don’t think the nation as a whole has that inside them to understand you can make an impact on the world of football, but it requires a kind of nationalistic approach that I just don’t think Australians at their core are really interested in.”
The Matildas finished fourth at their home Women’s World Cup earlier this year. Their run gained such national attention that their semi-final loss to England became the most-watched program on Australian television.
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During the tournament, the Tottenham manager described the Matildas Women's World Cup run as a “rare moment”, and labelled the coverage across the country as brilliant. But less than two months on the Matildas and women's football has moved out of the headlines, with very few even aware that the A-League Women's competition starts on Saturday.
While Postecoglou is garnering massive attention in the football landscape as he has led Tottenham to the top of the table in the English Premier League, he believes the game will not grow back home due to the combination of the strength of other sporting codes in Australia and the global nature of football.“I just don’t see it,” he told reporters. “I don’t think it registers. You guys are only talking about it because of me.”
“There’s Aussie Rules, that’s the indigenous sport of Australia," he said. "It’s kind of unique to them and they take great pride in protecting their code. The rugby codes dominate. It’s very hard for football to make an impact in that space and I guess then the flipside of that is just how global the sport of football is."
“If I can compare that to a country like Japan, who also have the tyranny of distance and baseball’s pretty strong, they plant a lot of resources into football and you can see that’s making an impact," he said. "I don’t see Australia down that road.”
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