Sunday, August 29, 2010

Holger What Now!

The Australian national football team is in crisis. And not a pretend crisis like the news throws at you like a teenage kid who has hot faeces wrapped in a newspaper aimed at the side of your head.

No. This crisis is real. It’s the first real one since the 1997 Iran game. With cries for a Revolution by some journalists and ex-players trying to “junta”  Harry Kewell out of the team  and Mark Bresciano stating that he threatened to leave the World Cup after being dumped from the first game against Germany. New boss Holger Osieck has walked into the Socceroos at their most vulnerable and in needing of a big group hug

The biggest challenge for Holger What Now! Is that he has to re-generate a group of players who have been part of the Socceroos most successful team ever. They qualified for two consecutive World Cups and made it out of the group stage. Four years ago the Socceroos were Australia’s favourite national team. There last minute goal scoring exploits against Japan and Croatia and the subsequent last minute heartbreak against the Italians led to a whole bunch of Aussies falling in love with the World Game even if it was and will be a bandwagon quadrennial experience.

The South Africa World Cup experience will be and has been viewed as a failure and with the recriminations starting to be public the finger pointing and the blame game as everyone has seen and heard with the Kewell /Slate -gate debacle is threatening to ruin the Socceroos goodwill and make them out to be a bunch of overpaid, diva, cry babies.

Verbeek the junior World Cup coach copped the brunt of it. Rightly accused of negative tactics, of being too close to his player’s and making daft player decisions has led to Pim suffering the worst accusation of all: the famous label un-Australian. Weird especially that his ancestors helped with the discovery of Australia.

The decision to regenerate the so called golden generation  with players who have yet to dominate their own leagues and have failed to even make first team squads in Europe with regularity is going to be pretty, pretty tough to do.

Smells like no teen spirit
New German coach Holger Osieck will be no stranger to the German concept that is called “jugendgeist” (teen spirit, or spirit of youth). Even though the decision by Holger Osieck to name a similar squad that competed in South Africa shows that the German coach is singing Evolution not Revolution. Quite simply the Socceroos  wether Messrs Slater or Cockerill like it or not the Socceroos will still need the likes of Vince Grella, Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell, Lucas Neil, Jason Culina, and Mark Schwarzer around the Socceroos squad for the next four years to make sure the Socceroos qualify for the their third World Cup. And then after the World Cup comes around those same players that helped get us to Brazil 2010 should be expected to be punted and bunted out of the team, for any young player that is coming through. That should be the coach’s talk to all those in their 30’s.

It’s not even worth listing potential replacements for these players because they are not there yet. 

A lot can happen in four years, players can make the step up but it will not be a quick fix. Already anytime a young  player shows promise they are hyped up as the next Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill or Mark Viduka. Before these players and other members of the golden generation made their name in Europe only a couple of players held any reverence or served as an inspiration to those who were to follow in their footsteps save for say  Johnny Warren, Craig Johnson, Joe Marston and  a few more. Now there are plenty of Heroes to follow and be inspired by but that pressure could be too much. Being termed the next “whatever” must surely rankle with your individuality and identify.

Getting to know Holger
So what do we know about Holger Osieck? I asked the German blogger from The Offside website: Jan Duldrup and he had some quite unflattering statements about the 1990 World Cup winning assistant  German coach. Particularly striking was the comment that in Germany he is not considered good enough to get a job even in the third division of German football.

“I really mostly remember him for being Franz Beckenbauer's assistant during the 1990 World Cup. I was a little kid and had a sticker album with World Cup stickers from chocolate bars and there was a Holger Osieck sticker”, Jan replied when I asked who the hell is Holger?
Speaking about his credential in coaching Jan said:

“Though I later read that he was only there because they needed someone with a coaching license, since Beckenbauer didn't have one. So I'm not sure how much of that World Cup triumph he really masterminded - if at all”.

“His Bundesliga coaching career was completely unremarkable. He isn't a name that is ever discussed when a club in the top three divisions is looking for a new coach either. I couldn't tell you what his football philosophy is and what brand of football his teams play”.
Jan finished off the critique saying that:

“ He's travelled the globe and spent time with FIFA. He could have grown into a very good coach without anyone in his homeland noticing. At the end, I presume the Australian FA did some research before hiring him and know what they are doing. Unless they just signed the next best German coach, feeling it was the thing to do after the World Cup in South Africa”

So it’s never a dull time being a Socceroos fan and as is the true Aussie way of giving someone a fair go let’s see what this German who no-one has ever heard of can do before we start throwing in the knives, there seems to be too much of that going on already.

QANTAS SOCCEROOS SQUAD – Tuesday 24 August 2010

Club, Country
A-International matches (goals)
Melbourne Heart, Australia
22 (1)
Nathan BURNS
AEK Athens FC , Greece
2 (0)
Everton, England
42 (21)
FC Twente , Netherlands
28 (3)
Gold Coast United, Australia
52 (1)
Blackburn Rovers, England
75 (17)
Adam FEDERICI (gk)
Reading FC , England
2 (0)
Richard GARCIA
Hull City FC , England
10 (0)
AZ Alkmaar , Netherlands
35 (4)
Genclerbirligi SK , Turkey
13 (0)
Nagoya Grampus , Japan
22 (7)
Galatasaray SK , Turkey
46 (13)
Middlesbrough FC , England
16 (0)
Galatasaray SK , Turkey
60 (0)
Tromsø IL , Norway
29 (0)
Fulham FC, England
79 (0)
Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan
4 (0)
U.S. Sassuolo Calcio, Italy
26 (0)
FC Nurnberg, Germany
8 (1)
FK Dinamo Moscow, Russia
46 (2)

Upcoming Match Details 

Switzerland v Qantas Socceroos
3 September 2010
Kick-off 8:15pm CEST (4:15am AEST, 3:45am ACST, 2:15am AWST)
AFG Arena, St Gallen, Switzerland

For more information, please visit

Poland v Qantas Socceroos
7 September 2010
Kick-off 8:30pm CEST (4:30am AEST, 4:00am ACST, 2:30am AWST)
Wisla Krakow Stadium, Krakow, Poland

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