Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rose coloured glasses come off

The Socceroos 1-0 loss to Kuwait makes everyone look bad. Pim was right about the A-league, but did he have to be that right?

Ignoring stats about games played, goals scored, goals conceded, which save for the results the Socceroos have enjoyed against Qatar; watching the recent performances by the European Socceroos and the A-League Socceroos, Pim Verbeek has shown that sometimes Football is a very difficult game to play.

It seems the players are finding it difficult to pass the ball, run with the ball, and shoot the ball and all the other stuff like positioning and thinking and playing.

The mistakes of the past are being repeated, but this time the FFA is paying a higher price for the privilege.

Using local based players to qualify for international tournaments have cost Australia in the past. The loss to New Zealand during qualifying for the confederations cup in 1999 and 2003 was a symptom of the cashless governing body at the time; who could not afford to bring their best players from Europe, some players even paying their own way.

With great respect (meaning, I’m not going to say you where crap, but I’m thinking it) to the players that played last Thursday night, it was the the lack of respect shown by the governing body to allow a team of such inexperienced players to play such an important international football game that I lay the blame squarely at.

The lack of respect was also shown in the limited preparation time that the Socceroos trained under.

Kuwait had been training for six weeks playing games against New Zealand sides. The Socceroos had 3 training session together. After the game the players where quoted as saying that they did not know much about the opposition.
A quick phone called to Ricki Herbert the NZ coach would have helped.

The English Premier League was on a break and there are plenty of Socceroos on the bench in Europe that could have come back.

If this game was a world cup qualifier I’m betting that at least 15 European players would have been back.

I fear part of the problem is the perception that our big boys only want to play the big games; World Cup qualifiers, Champions League, FA cups etc.

Playing games against Asian countries for a little know comp known as the Asian Cup is not going to make the players who have played in the world cup and the highest level in Europe feel motivated.

Australia is still a guest in the Asian region with word in Asia that Australia is still considered an unwelcome guest from some quarters in Asian football
The Aussies knocked Kuwait out of the Asian cup qualifying last time. Kuwait sent their strongest team and prepared themselves appropriately.

Australia in Asia is considered to be number one enemy, like England is to Europe.
There is a perception around Asia that the team is loud, cocky and arrogant; lower ranked Asian are teams desperate to get one over the Aussies, joining Asia has meant our much loved underdog tag has gone.

Pim was giving hints that the A-league players where hopeless ever since he turned up. I have a feeling Pim could see the ship was about to sink, and his comments where a smart rue from him, so he could get some of his overseas troops back.
Hopefully his bosses will have learnt the lessons.

Those preaching about Australians technical deficiencies would have fed on this loss like manna from heaven.

Craig Foster oddly reminds of the Dean Moriarty character in Jack Kerouac’s “On the road”.
Yes, yes, yes we need to be better at playing football. Yes, yes, yes we need to be smarter. Yes, yes, yes we need to learn tactics and technical stuff.

Craig is right as usual about this stuff. However I fear the more you tell players they are tactically and technically naive and hopeless long enough they will believe it.

The positive stuff that came out of that game was the great sight of the Canberra public and the folks from the surrounding areas’ supporting the night.

A Canberra team for the A-league I say............

The FFA can’t keep promoting the Socceroos and stringing the public along by putting out second even third string Socceroos teams.
In my humble opinion, the lack of respect, knowledge, preparation and lack of passion for the cause was Australia’s downfall. These are the things Pim Verbeek has been praised for in the past.

Australia will always be inept tactically and technically sometimes, but our biggest strength was nullified because occasionally as a Football nation we think we are better than we are.

A cup of hubris anyone?

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