By ADAM VIVIAN | PFA Chief Executive

As James Troisi streaked away after smashing the ball into the net the feeling of joy would only be matched by that at the final whistle.

After the game the players pride in their achievement would rightly be enormous. “No better feeling than lifting this in front of Australia,” Socceroos legend Tim Cahill said of lifting the Asian Cup. Ivan Franjic would be no less proud: “Unbelievable feeling last night. Thanks to everyone for the support. Truly amazing.”

The triumph was no less than what a truly remarkable group of players deserved. In the final their determination to win Asia’s top prize was something to behold. As extra time rolled on the players must have been exhausted but somehow they found the will to keep going.

For the whole 120 minutes they would press with unbelievable intensity, tackle, scrap and give South Korea no peace, but perhaps most impressive was their bravery on the ball. They refused to be overawed and would continue to take possession of the ball all over the pitch and would not resort to low risk football.  They would not be frightened by the fear of making a mistake, which with so much on the line takes enormous courage.

These attributes were not only on display in the final, rather they had been there from the first minute of their opening group game. Tournaments are littered with disappointing results in the opening game for the hosts, and when Kuwait scored to make it one nil many may have thought that expectation might get the better of Socceroos too. This was far from the case and despite the pressure they would continue to play with an unwavering belief.

This is hardly surprising, when you look through the playing group. They have all triumphed over adversity, time and time again to get to this point in their careers. Some, like Tim Cahill, said goodbye to friends and family at a very young age in pursuit of a dream that offered only the smallest chance of being realised. Others grafted away in State Leagues waiting for their chance in the A-League and then Europe, and now, despite the odds against it, are now the Champions of Asia.

The key to their success was that hard work enabled them to seize their opportunity when it came along. Now it is time for all of the games stakeholders to seize the opportunity presented by the players.

Australia is now the home of the Asian Champions for both club and country. The Matildas are now preparing for a World Cup, where they have the potential to make a significant mark on the tournament. The A-League continues to break records week-in-week-out, whilst the standard of football has never been higher.

Whilst this is hugely encouraging we must do more to ensure this is not a one off, we must be ambitious and we must keep progressing. ‘”I am not putting any limits on it,” Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou said after the Final regarding his team’s potential. All of Australian football must do the same by embracing this opportunity to ensure the long-term success of the game.

“The day football is big in Australia is when we are talking about winning the World Cup not just to qualify,” Johnny Warren once said, remarkably we are now moving towards that day, with the players continuing to drive Australian football forward.