16 July 2014 08:55
It would be a “disaster” if Australia were to fail at the Asian Cup, assistant coach Aurelio Vidmar has claimed.
Many observers feel a place in the semi-finals or final is the pass mark for Ange Postecoglou’s squad, and Vidmar knows the hosts must deliver.
The 16-team event kicks off in Melbourne when Australia play Kuwait in Group A – which also includes Oman and South Korea – on January 9.
And Vidmar feels it is time the Socceroos converted their promising development under Postecoglou into success.
“Ange has done a fantastic job in turning the perception of what the national team is about right around. But this is just the beginning – we can’t stop here,” he told SEN radio.
“Failure at the Asian Cup would be a disaster.”
Despite their poor showing in Brazil, defending champions Japan – drawn in Group D with Jordan, Iraq and Palestine – will go into the tournament as favourites, with Australia and the Koreans considered the next strongest teams.
“It’s not easy to win the Asian Cup … there are some very, very good teams there,” Vidmar added.
“If you have a look at the team at the World Cup – South Korea are a very young group and will now have a new coach. Japan will also have a new coach and then there’s a team like Iran, they’ve got a lot of good players and are exciting to watch.
“When you take those teams off the world stage and bring them into an Asian tournament there are a completely different kettle of fish.
“It’s not going to be easy.”