Analysis: How Australia fared against Chile
Our reporters in Brazil, Michael Lynch and Sebastian Hassett, take a look back at the match between the Socceroos and Chile.PT6M22S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3a45a 620 349 June 14, 2014
Cuiaba, Brazil-It's one thing showing your opponent respect. That is a professional courtesy and ensures you are unlikely to underestimate them.
It's another thing entirely to let yourself be overawed by the team you are playing against.
But that, Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was left to lament, was exactly what his inexperienced team did in its opening World Cup game against highly regarded Chile.
Ange Postecoglou gestures from the sidelines during Australia's loss Photo: Getty
And the Socceroos paid a dreadful price for the way they played in the first 15 minutes of their game, when they let the South Americans dominate and race to a 2-0 lead.
After the match Postecoglou admitted that too many of his players let the occasion and the identity of some of the men they were up against get to them, even though they fought back bravely and, in their coach's view, certainly deserved to force a draw or perhaps even a win, instead of suffering a 3-1 defeat.
It's not something they are likely to do again, even though their next opponents are the Dutch, who humiliated world champions Spain 5-1 in the earlier group B game played on Friday in Salvador, thousands of kilometres from inland Cuiaba on Brazil's east coast.
Postecoglou himself looked pensive and rather deflated when he faced the media after the game, but didn't fail to answer the key question: were his team overawed?
''You could say that. But they have got some world class players...maybe we did give them too much respect, we had a lot of players in their first World Cup game and it took them a while to settle down. I think for the first 15 minutes we were a little bit overawed by the whole thing, we sat back too much.''
It would have been very easy for Australia to become rattled and retreat into their shell after that Chilean blitzkrieg in the first quarter of an hour, inviting further calamity.
But they regained their composure and belief and slowly clawed their way back into the game before dominating the second half as the Chileans, who looked like world beaters early, rocked and rolled on the ropes like a boxer clinging on for survival while the Socceroos pounded them in search of a leveller after Tim Cahill's opening goal.
''We are disappointed,'' said Postecoglou. ''We thought it was a game we definitely could have got something out of. Conceding the two goals made things very difficult for us. I thought the last 10-15 minutes of the first half and the majority of the second half we were on top. I felt that if we had got a second goal we could have got a third because we were dominating at the time, but we could not break them down.
''They are a world class team, who I am sure will cause teams problems. We should have held the ball a bit longer, we just hurried things, maybe it was just some nerves.
''If we had got through that phase only conceding one goal there was never a doubt in my mind that we would finish the stronger team. It made it tough for us. We certainly should have scored an equaliser, and if we had got one more we could have got a third.
''At this level you pay the price. The players are very disappointed...the game was there for them in the second half, it deflates you.''
Next up is a game in Porto Alegre against The Netherlands, who stunned the world by putting titleholders Spain to the sword earlier in the day.
Postecoglou remains undeterred and will back his players the way he did against the Chileans. ''Our objectives [for The Netherlands game] are the same as today. We want to measure ourselves against the very best. It's going to be a great test for us but that's why we are here. The reason we are disappointed today is that we thought we did enough to get something out of it. We had belief coming into this game and we will be the same against the Dutch.
''It's a hard group. It's going to be fairly balanced. There's a chance for us to hopefully upset them.''
The coach was reluctant to single out players but had words of praise for the hard-running Mathew Leckie and, of course, for the evergreen Cahill.
''Leckie was excellent. I thought he caused problems the whole game, he's very quick and he's developing as a player...he can get out of some tight corners.
''Tim was outstanding. In the air he is still world class. There's not a player in this tournament who would like to be one-on-one with him. We should have had a penalty - the only way they could stop him was by holding on to his shirt.''