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Socceroos coach ready to quit, reports say

Sydney (AFP) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is set to sensationally quit, regardless of whether the Socceroos qualify for next year’s World Cup, reports said on Thursday.

Football Federation Australia was due to comment later on the reports, which come after Australia beat Syria in extra time on Wednesday to reach an intercontinental play-off for Russia 2018.

Rival media organisations News Ltd and Fairfax Media both quoted unnamed sources as saying Postecoglou, 52, would walk away ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Australia, who lifted the Asian Cup with Postecoglou in 2015, will play Honduras over two legs next month for a place at their fourth straight World Cup, and fifth overall.

“He is definitely moving on after November,” a source told the Herald Sun.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Postecoglou had planned to step down after the World Cup but has decided to go earlier because he wanted to join a club overseas.

It was unclear whether he was also influenced by criticism over his decisions during the World Cup qualifying campaign, where Australia failed to secure an automatic berth.

Postecoglou has been at the helm since 2013, leading Australia to a group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and then victory in the Asian Cup, their first major trophy.

“He hasn’t got a job lined up, he would be flying blind,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a source as saying.

“It’s simply the fact he has been in this job for more than four years, he has been to a World Cup, he has helped raise the standard of the Australian game. He has brought the country its first major silverware with the Asian Cup win.

“He now wants to return to the day-to-day involvement at club level overseas. He feels he has raised the reputation of Australian players on the pitch and now he wants to do the same for Australian coaches.”

The former Brisbane Roar and Young Socceroos coach gave few signs that his departure may be imminent after Wednesday’s tense encounter in Sydney.

But ahead of the game, he had acknowledged that it could be his last with Australia if they were knocked out of the World Cup running by Syria.

“It’s an absolute privilege and honour to coach your country. I’ve coached my nation for 11 years, more than club football,” Postecoglou told reporters.

“Every game is special, I treat every game as if it’s my last. If it is tomorrow night, so be it. But that’s not the plan.”

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