Ange Postecoglou has quit as Australia coach a week after the Socceroos secured a spot at next year's World Cup with an intercontinental playoff win over Honduras.
SYDNEY (AP) – Ange Postecoglou has quit as Australia coach a week after the Socceroos secured a spot at next year's World Cup with an intercontinental playoff win over Honduras.
Speculation about Postecoglou's future has increased since a newspaper report in the wake of Australia's Asian playoff win over Syria last month suggested he would not take the team to Russia regardless of what happened against Honduras.
Postecoglou refused to comment on the reports. On Wednesday, he called a morning news conference with Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop to announce his decision to stand down.
Postecoglou took over as Australia's head coach before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and guided the team to the Asian Cup title in 2015.
''This has been a very tough decision for me,'' he said. ''It has been a privilege for me to coach my country's national team, to lead them at the 2014 World Cup, to win the Asian Cup in 2015 and now to have qualified for the World Cup next year. I said we would do it and we have done it.
''All this, however, has taken a toll on me both personally and professionally. I have invested all I can knowing how important a period it was for Australian football. It is with a heavy heart that I must now end the journey.''
Australia joins Serbia and Saudi Arabia as countries going to the World Cup without the coach who got them into the finals.
National team coaches are due to attend a meeting in Moscow next week before the World Cup draw, but it's unlikely Australia will appoint a permanent replacement before then.
''We will not rush this process. The Socceroos will not play again until March next year at the earliest so we have time to conduct a thorough process,'' Gallop said. ''With a guaranteed place in the World Cup, I am sure we will attract a strong field of candidates.''