By dodging a bullet, Graham Arnold must be the luckiest football coach alive. While the Olyroos players have gone back to their clubs, at least those that have clubs, the most vilified man in Australian football has been hanging around Beijing checking out the Olympics.
Arnold was not besides Pim Verbeek this morning during the Socceroos draw with South Africa, giving some fans hope that he has been told to stay away in a more permanent capacity.
The print media have given it to him, with Craig Foster of the Sydney Morning Herald and Aiden Ormond of fourfourtwo writing pieces.
The broadcast media however has been rather quiet, with the World Game on SBS taking a break due to the Olympics. On the other football show on Foxtel - the newly revamped Fox Sports FC - there was only a small comment made by Paul Trimboli, and even that was hushed by Graham Arnold’s number one cheerleader, Robbie Slater.
Hopefully the technical report of Rob Baan will shed some light on the whole performance of the Olyroo campaign.
Incidentally, just moments after Australia’s 2-2 draw with South Africa the other day, the South African coach had a sly go at the Australians with his post match comments. He remarked that South Africa are similar to Brazil in the way they play.
"My players treat the ball with love and care. That’s why we play football. I would never want to play the way Australia play. My players don’t have those characteristics.”
Are those characteristics the amount of long balls we play out of the back or our players running around like headless chooks?
It’s a trait Australian football has had for years.