Bad moon rising for Postecoglou as Australia stumble again
Speaking ahead of Australia's second outing at the Confederations Cup 2017 against Cameroon, head coach Ange Postecoglou claimed he was "over the moon" that there was a polarised debate back home over his tactics with the national team.
Taking his words at face value, he must have been ecstatic at half-time in St Petersburg.
Unbowed from a chastening first half against Joachim Low's experimental Germany side in their opening Group B match - some particularly benevolent goalkeeping from Bernd Leno gave the 3-2 scoreline a look that flattered Australia - Postecoglou stuck with his expansive 3-2-4-1 system.
Once again there were moments of incisive attacking promise, left wing-back Alex Gersbach and attacking midfielder Robbie Kruse doing more than enough in the Cameroon half to justify their selections, and once more Australia were almost comically vulnerable defensively.
The Africa Cup of Nations holders did not need to be any more imaginative than playing long balls in behind the Socceroos high line or probing with intent down the right flank.
A hybrid of these approaches brought about the opening goal on the stroke of half-time. To Australia fans and Postecoglou's critics it was risible in its simplicity.
Michael Ngadeu steered a straight ball over a haphazard backline and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa lifted a deft finish beyond scampering Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.
Australia's most effective spell of pressure, using the ample tools Postecoglou allows them in possession came immediately after the break, when Tomi Juric should have followed up his goal against Germany on the end of Mathew Leckie's cutback.
But the chances also flowed for Cameroon, with skipper Vincent Aboubakar's torrid outing in front of goal a major factor in the Indomitable Lions not leaving with three points.
The bulk of the reported Newcastle United target's best chances arrived after Mark Milligan levelled from the penalty spot, the Australia captain coolly beating Fabrice Ondoa from 12 yards as VAR could not spare Ernest Mabouka for his untidy lunge on Gersbach.
Here lies the nub of Postecoglou's problem at the moment. His commitment to attacking football is admirable and enjoyable to watch when it clicks. It is also effective - Australia are in Russia as Asian Cup winners.
However, they needed a penalty from their defensive midfield holder to earn a point and were unable to build effectively on that route back into the match.
During the closing stages, Cameroon attacked often, scenting blood and Australia were staggering, punch-drunk towards the final whistle with only Aboubakar's ordeal sparing them.
The Socceroos simply do not appear threatening enough in the final third for their barely vailed vulnerabilities to be at all acceptable. Postecoglou should stick to his guns but it is imperative he finds balance as the debate rumbles on around him.