DEPENDING on who you talk to, Australia's performances at the World Cup were either disappointing or worthy of high praise.
Clearly it all came back to the expectation.
And for most fans, and even casual observers who treat the World Cup like the Melbourne Cup, something that attracts your attention each time it rolls around, the expectation was that the Socceroos had drawn a very tough group and would probably be home before the postcards.
That was not what coach Ange Postecoglou or captain Mile Jedinak thought would happen, however, both using the word "disappointing" to sum up the 3-0 loss to world No.1 Spain which left Australia without a point to show for its three games in Brazil.
"It's disappointing to finish in the way we did," Jedinak said.
"You can take some positives out, but overall it's not what we wanted. Particularly with the positive performances in the first two games. To get nothing is disappointing."
So what did we learn from the campaign in Brazil?
THE decision to dump coach Holgier Osieck after he got the Socceroos into the World Cup was correct.
Postecoglou's call to put the broom through the squad drew criticism from some "experts", and a lack of experience in defence didn't help the cause, but it would have taken a miracle to get past the Group stage so giving Generation Next a kick start on the biggest stage made sense.
On top of that, Postecoglou's positive, attacking game plan was a breath of fresh air compared to the dour style favoured by Osieck, and would no doubt have brought new fans to the game.
THE Socceroos' efforts in Brazil, applauded by numerous other coaches, will go a long way toward generating interest in next year's Asian Cup which will be played in Australia.
And betting agencies have reacted to the team's mostly-competitive efforts in the World Cup by making Australia second-favourite ($4.25) behind Japan ($3.50) to win the tournament for the first time.
NO Cahill, no goals. The biggest problem to be solved is where will our goals come from once star striker Tim Cahill retires.
The 34-year-old netted two in Brazil, and one of them, his 34th in green-and-gold colours, was rated by many as the goal of the tournament and one of the greatest World Cup strikes of all time.
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart, last season's leading goal-scorer in the A-League, replaced the suspeneded Cahill for the match against Spain, but failed to score.
Cahill will stay on for the Asian Cup, but where will our goals come from as we try to qualify for Russia 2018? The good news is Taggart is reportedly set to sign with Championship club Fulham which could speed up his development.
Players like Matthew Spiranovic, Matthew Leckie and Ivan Franjic are also sure to attract interest from overseas clubs.
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