Ange's era underway
Ange Postecoglou is a deep thinker. Sitting alone, contemplating tactics, making emotionless decisions for the benefit of his team; that is the newly-appointed Australia boss' way.
However, as he embarks on a new era at the helm of the Socceroos, Postecoglou revealed he spent little time pondering the issue of team captaincy for his first match in charge against Costa Rica.
Lucas Neill will be the captain after being announced as the squad's official leader at a press conference in Sydney on Monday afternoon. The central defender will subsequently overtake Peter Wilson's record of leading the national team 60 times when he takes the field on Tuesday evening.
That incumbent skipper Neill will again wear the armband was a surprise to few -- aside from those insisting the 34-year-old is not deserving of a spot in the squad at all.
Instead, the only surprised face on show as Neill took his place alongside his coach to discuss the team's upcoming friendly was that of Postecoglou himself. Bemused by recent focus on Neill and the captaincy, the former Melbourne Victory boss offered a glimpse into the culture he will insist upon within each camp.
"I understand there is a fascination in the captaincy, but it hasn't taken up a lot of my time," said Postecoglou. "My whole focus is about getting the whole group up and running.
"Lucas is an absolute great of our nation in our sport because of that I guess there's a deep-seated fascination.
"Everything we've done is about the collective; about the whole group and making sure we're on the same page. The only way we're going to do well is if we focus on the priorities and for me the priorities are not the individuals, it's the whole team."
If it wasn't telling enough that a man known for analysing every major decision in his career to date was playing down Neill's selection, then the reaction from the defender can leave the Australian public in no doubt.
"As the manager said, this is not about any individual, it's not even about the team, it's about the country," Neill said.
"I'll be honoured to lead the team out tomorrow night, but we have to get Ange Postecoglou's era off in a positive way. Ange has definitely reminded us that there is a great sense of pride in the shirt we're wearing and that we're always on trial."
Indeed, no player is safe under Postecoglou's reign, and if Neill or another senior member of the squad does not buy into his group-based philosophy, he will be replaced swiftly by someone willing to add to, rather than detract from, the collective. In short, everyone will have a chance to prove they can fit into Postecoglou's squad, and it is up to the player to seize that opportunity.
So, what else do we know ahead of Postecoglou's first game in charge?
The defensive structure should be comprised of a back four. Postecoglou revealed as much when he announced his first squad a fortnight ago, with Neill evidently set to anchor a central pairing. Neill's pace, or lack thereof, will require some speed to be added at the back, and Rhys Williams or Alex Wilkinson could get the nod to partner the skipper.
It can be expected that the midfield shape will vary slightly from the formations used during Postecoglou's time at Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory to accommodate the talent he has on offer in the middle third of the pitch. But in attack, utilising agile players such as Robbie Kruse, Tommy Oar, Dario Vidosic and Mathew Leckie in wide areas will allow the coach to implement a few of the successful tactics he employed while in the A-League.
With each player effectively playing for a ticket to Brazil, expect intensity to be high for the friendly, with names of those who don't perform -- or conform -- to have a line run through them.
All White on the night
In this week of high-stakes international football, New Zealand will also have its World Cup hopes on the line when the All Whites take on Mexico in Wellington on Wednesday.
After a horror 5-1 first-leg defeat at the Azteca last week, Ricki Herbert's men will need a minor miracle to book their place a next year's showpiece event. But, odd as it may sound, that may not be the main aim of the team. First a foremost, the All Whites need to restore the faith of their supporters and pride in the jersey.
Even a small victory would go a long way to driving New Zealand football forward, though it would not be enough to see them qualify for their second successive World Cup.
The loss of defender and captain Winston Reid prior to the first leg was a huge blow to the Kiwis' chances, but they must respond with a steely attitude in the second leg -- if only to show the world what they are capable of once again.
Hey, Arnold! Thanks for the memories
In domestic matters, this week saw something of a watershed moment as Central Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold was poached by J.League outfit Vegalta Sendai.
Of course, many Australian coaches before Arnold have plied their trade in Asia over the years, but few have been wooed for such a length of time after a period of on-field success. Arnold guided the Mariners to the A-League championship last season, and came within a penalty of doing similar in 2011.
Arnold's move, therefore, would seem to usher in a new era in the development of Australian coaches. The A-League is now the proving ground for home-grown talent Down Under, with clubs across the continent, and indeed the world, taking notice.
Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic -- whose side must now be favourites to take out this season's title -- will surely be next on the hit-list of big-spending clubs in Asia and Europe. It will be up to him to choose the right time and place for his career to flourish.
A contentious point for Australian players for many years is now an issue their talented coaches must also navigate.