Socceroos coach hoping team can go to next level now
UPDATE: SOCCEROOS coach Ange Postecoglou is hoping his young team can move to the next level after winning the Asian Cup final in Sydney.
Postecoglou was almost lost for words after a thrilling 2-1 extra-time victory over South Korea at a packed ANZ Stadium.
Massimo Luongo, later named the tournament's MVP, opened the scoring just before the end of the first half following a tremendous turn and shot.
The country was just about to celebrate Australia's first trophy in world football when Son Heung-min scored the equaliser two minutes into three minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game.
The Koreans had dominated for long spells but the Socceroos showed great fighting spirit to hit back again, this time through substitute James Troisi, who calmly stroked the ball home at the end of the first half of extra time after superb work from fellow sub Tomi Juric.
There were more heart-stopping moments but the Socceroos held on for a memorable victory and Postecoglou said he thought there was more to come from his young charges.
"I know the whole country will be off their couches and won't be able to sleep tonight," he said.
"Hopefully from now on our Aussies can take on the world."
The only negative on a marquee night for Australian football was what appeared to be another serious injury to Robbie Kruse, who was in a moon boot and on crutches after the game.
Struggling to sum up his feelings, Postecoglou said he was delighted with the team's performance.
"It was just a matter of taking our chance and we did it. I'm super proud of them," he said.
"It was tough, it was a final and you gotta grind it out. No one knows better than me that it never goes to script.
"There's always twists, but the courage of the players showed tonight. It was enormous."
Socceroos win Asian Cup in thriller clutch finish
THE Socceroos claimed a remarkable Asian Cup triumph in Sydney last night, edging out South Korea in a thrilling final.
The two sides were locked on 1-1 at full-time but Australia - which lost the previous Asian Cup grand final to Japan in extra-time - would not be denied this time around.
In the 106th minute, James Troisi struck the winner, sparking wild scenes among the 76,000 fans at Stadium Australia.
It was the national team's first Asian Cup conquest.
South Korea had the better of much of the play, but Australian revelation Massimo Luongo scored in the shadows of half-time to give the host a 1-0 lead.
Against the run of play the Swindon midfielder received a neat pass from Trent Sainsbury, turned and drove the ball into the back of the net.
Robbie Kruse went off injured midway through the second stanza while South Korea again piled on the pressure.
It was edge-of-your-seat stuff and the Reds eventually broke through in the 91st minute when Heung-Min Son burst into the box and clinically beat goalkeeper Matt Ryan in a one-on-one situation.
Thrust into the heat of extra-time, the Socceroos snatched the lead when Tomi Juric squeezed through a line of South Korean defenders and fired into the goal box, where the keeper could only block it.
Troisi was close by and promptly found the back of the net.
Australia lost just one game during the tournament, a 1-0 loss to South Korea in the group stage.
South Korea had won all of its previous five matches without conceding a goal.