Poor pitches hurting Australia's World Cup hopes: Postecoglou

Sat Jun 4, 2016 9:16pm EDT
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Substandard Australian soccer pitches are "cheating" local fans and could derail the country's World Cup ambitions, according to Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.

Postecoglou and his players lamented the playing surface at Sydney's Olympic Stadium on Saturday night after Australia defeated Greece 1-0 in a friendly courtesy of a late Mathew Leckie strike.

The pitch, which had hosted a rugby league match on Wednesday, was cleared for play by the match referee despite the deluge of rain that fell on Sydney throughout Saturday.

Greece-born Postecoglou said he felt "embarrassed" about the conditions.

"We've got an international team here that we're hosting and we're supposed to be the sporting nation of the world," he told reporters.

"The crowd were fantastic (but) I felt sorry for them ... it's just not good enough.

"I can tell you what the Greek players were saying when they were coming off the pitch, and they're too polite to say anything publicly.

"We have world-class venues, world-class atmospheres, our supporters are second to none -- we love our sport.

"But in our game and our game alone, the pitch is actually an essential part of the spectacle.   Continued...

Britain Football Soccer - England v Australia - International Friendly - Stadium of Light, Sunderland - 27/5/16
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou before the game
Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes