Friday, June 27, 2014

Opa! Jumping on the Greece 2014 Brazil World Cup Band Wagon

Toot Farken Toot All Aboard the Greek Bandwagon Re Malaka!

Can you believe it? It's a term often used in football. Commentators use it for things that are utterly believable. Like a professional footballer who trains everyday whose job it is to score goals and make passes but the moment when Greece beat Ivory Coast in the last minute is unfarken believable!

Greece is in the Round Of 16 at the World Cup with a possible Quarter Final berth awaiting them after a very favourable draw in the next match were they face World Cup minnows Costa Rica.

How can Greece lose against a team with Costa in their opponents name? 

The Greek Gods are laughing their arses off!

Greece has surpassed previous World Cup winners England, Italy and Spain and much more fancied teams like Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal by advancing to the round of 16 at the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

Now that the Greeks are through to the next round it's time to get out the Greek flags, and replica strips. Time to dust off the Football Shirt with Charisteas on the back and update to a new one with Samaras and get on the Greek World Cup Bandwagon.

Having the Greekest name in all of Greekdom Constantine Stamocostas my Greek blood tinged with excitement when the Greeks were playing the Ivory Coast. It was one of the best games at the World Cup, full of drama, passion and skill shown by both teams.

The Greeks made their supporters work for it though. After being gifted the ball by the Ivory Coast midfielder Tiote, the Samaras(is) twins contrived to get the goal the Greeks needed, and it looked like the Greeks and their defensive tactics were heading to the round of 16. But the Ivory Coast came back; Greek celebrations were quelled and the plate smashing had to take a rest.

After hitting the woodwork a couple of times. the end of the game was fast approaching, it looked like the win was too much to ask. Dormant in the first two games my Greek spirit came alive when Samaras got clipped in the box and the referee awarded a penalty (and yes it was a penalty English commentator no controversy there!).

With Samaras about to take the spot kick Greeks around the world had a chance to stop cursing the team and the coach Fernando Santos for just one moment. Hacks around the world had to delete the obligatory Greek tragedy line and change their copy because "Can you believe it?" the Greeks are through to the next round!

The olive oil botherers have arguably the easiest round of 16 tie against of all farken teams Costa Rica! Who the Fuck are Costa Rica Re? "We can take them for sure Vre!" said Andonis to his mate Spiro in the stand.

Remembering EURO2004

Pulling out my Greek identification papers, I must say I haven't just joined the Greek football bandwagon. Like most Greeks I joined it when they reached the Quarter Finals during EURO2004 and have been keeping an eye on their progress ever since.

I will never ever forget the scenes at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney when they played the Czech Republic in the semi finals. Remember the short lived Silver goal role? Greece scored one of those to get them through to final of Euro 2004. A few Treli (crazies) fans lit flares in the Enmore Theatre just after the goal went in, causing panic among the owners. Lucky the Enmore  didn't catch fire as it's one of the oldest theaters in Australia.

I was at the Cypriot club eating Loukoumades when Greece beat Portugal in the final and later that night I was at Brighton Le Sands watching the Greeks go crazy as they celebrated their EURO2004 Final Victory.

They Weren't Given a Hope in Hellas

I must say I didn't think Greece had a hope in Hellas of getting out of their Group especially after they got spanked by Columbia 3-0 in their first game.

I watched the second game with my Brother and Father at a cafe down the road from me which is owned by Greeks called Giorgios, it's situated on the corner of Kingsgrove Road and William Street.

Watching Greece battle against Japan to get a point reminded of the halcyon days when I used to watch Sydney Olympic at Leichhardt Oval and Belmore Sports Ground. It all came back to me, the loud, vitriolic swearing,  the irrational yelling, the misunderstanding of the coaches tactics, tearing strips off the players one moment and praising them the next, not forgetting the national pastime of the hand being flung violently into the air with the accompanying "Nah Re Malaka!".

Sorry Giorgios Cafe customers but the coach isn't a clueless "Malaka", he knows what he is doing. He's sticking o the Otto Rehhagel blueprint. Strong In Defence and Trojan Horse in attack.

Knowing Greece they will take it easy against Costa Rica but at least they are still at the party unlike Messrs Rooney, Ronaldo, and Imbrahimovic who have had to go home early or didn't even make it. Where is Georgios Samaras World Cup advertisement farken? I love Samaras he fucks up all the time but at least he has a go.

Funny Observation

I must comment on the the large heavily built Greek supporter who jumps up and down with his shirt off. Not ashamed of his man boobs he has shaven his Greek hairy body just for this Brazil trip. He is always shown on the TV when the camera pans to the Greek supporter section. A fellow Greek at the cafe cracked me up when he saw him on the screen he looked over to me and my brother George and  made the comment " You can't go to Brazil without shaving  it would be an embarrassment taking your shirt off and going all hairy and Greek"

Go floppy man boobs jumping up and down and go Hellas. We can beat Costa! (Rica) Toot Farken Toot!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Socceroos - Spanish Inquisition (Analysis)

I didn't Expect the Spanish Inquisition

Yes I farken started this piece with a farken Monty Python quote. Fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and a nice red uniform (make that two farken Monty Pyton quotes) is exactly how the La Farken Furiuos Roja took care of the Socceroos in Curtiba.

Matty Ryan opened his legs and let the Spanish  Matador Juan Mata score the third goal plunging his sword into a tiring bull that was the Socceroos campaign as the Aussies ended their World Cup in Brazil with a 3-0 loss without a point and without any real fight left in them.

That's two farken Spanish stereotypes in the two opening paragraphs as well as the who what where and how. I might golf clap myself but just like the Socceroos players I'm too cansado (tired).

In the end the Socceroos two chief weapons (still ripping off Monty Pyton I know) suspended Tim Cahil and half injured Mark Bresciano nullified any chance the Socceroos had of getting anything out of the Spain game. 

After the Aussies performed well above expectations against Chile and Holland fans worst fears materialised in the last group game. Against the country that loves pronouncing every "C" with a heavy "TH" and every second word with a lisp, it was too much to expect anything but a convincing defeat from the Spanish who were just too classy and skillful.

Even though they beat the Socceroos convincingly Spain were playing in second gear and they are out of the World Cup this early because they kept on playing Heavy Metal (possession based ticki tacka football) when the rest of the world had moved on to listening to Grunge (vertical passing, counter attacking football).

At least it wasn't a Pim Verbeek thrashing that happened four years ago in South Africa against Ze Germans, or  a Holger Osieck double six nil thrashing. There was no bravery or Anzac type spirit in this performance where the team played above themselves, unfortunately  it was what everyone expected. 

The Socceroos ended this concert with their worst song, it was a dodgy final third and it's probably my worst music and movie analogy.

You can't blame me though! I hate writing these pieces after the Socceroos lose. I don't know about you but when my team of choice loses I rarely read the match report or opinion pieces . So I don't know why you are even bothering to read this. Are you some sadist who enjoys basking in a loss are you vultures picking at the carcass of defeat?

Hey calm down don't be a Debbie Downer, we got four more years to wait till the next World Cup and the planning starts now! Plus don't forget the Asian Cup in January we expect to win  it easily now after how the Socceroos performed in Brazil. Left foot volleys from Tim Cahill here we come! Right? 


  • I just got one. We don't have to listen to Craig Foster coach the team from the stands anymore. I liked it when there was some drama in the game and the Socceroos were in the fight but this game the assistant coach commentary was too much.
Random Player Analysis

  • Mile Jedinak is so laid back in interviews and press conferences he sometimes gets mistaken for a chair. The Jak was guilty of horrible passing and moments of suspect defending and to top it off he got in the way of a Matt McKay volley against Spain. One of the few Socceroos chances on goal in the whole match. Do you agree with Eamonn Flanngan suggestion that he's the worst Croatian we've ever had?
  • Matty Ryan. Alexis Sanchez, Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Nutmegs, Flaps and heading the ball 30 meters out from the Goal-line. Poor Matty Ryan had a World Cup to forget and because he is young and potentially has the skills to pay the bills he hasn't been crucified by the media. Mitch Langerack wasn't afforded so much forgiveness I would have loved to have seen him in action against Spain but it wasn't to be.
Bullshit Stories
  • Tim Cahill is leaving New York Red Bulls  and sacrificing  his salary of three million plus to take a pay cut for two million and get booed while playing for Sydney FC. Just like Sepp Blatter is going to take away the World Cup from Qatar and give it to Australia, it's bullshit farken!
  • Mathew Leckie had a great tournament don't get me wrong but he is far from the finished product, and a few dollars short at being valued at 10 million big ones. Besides the chest shot I don't think he had a shot on target the whole World Cup. To paraphrase Paul Keaitng he is all Ice and no Berg.(that doesn't make sense but remember, you're not even supposed to be reading this)
Facts That Aren't Cool Dude
  • Brazil 2014 was Australia's worst World Cup performance in the History of the Universe!
  • Australia conceded the most goals in their World Cup History! 
  • The Socceroos didn't get a point in Brazil 2014 making this the worst World Cup in the History of Australian football universe!
  • NOT getting to the next round means we still can't call them "Our Socceroos". Unless you get out of the group stage it's still "The Socceroos". Sorry but thems the rules
  • Dodgy defence was the Socceroos downfall this time, not dodgy penalty decisions or dodgy send offs or dodgy handballs. They did it to themselves.
  • Now that Australia's World Cup Odyssey has come to an end I'm sad. The A-League doesn't start till October. what will I write about now? Make up transfer stories like everyone else? An unnamed source suggest that Mathew Leckie is not moving to Barcelona!
  • Dead rubbers at the World Cup suck worse than friendlies.
Cheers for reading my thoughts and grievances over the last couple of months.It doesn't get any better for a football writer than writing about the World Cup. I might write a weekly piece till the end of the World Cup just to keep the writing juices flowing.

Con Stamocostas

Monday, June 23, 2014

Socceroos - Pain For Spain (Preview) World Cup 2014

Hola Amigo's, Que pasa? 

Following the come down from Australia's greatest ever loss and arguably the Soccerooos greatest ever goal by Sir Tim Cahill Duke of the Left Foot Volley it's almost easy to forget that the Socceroos have one more game to go. Facing Spain was supposed to be the hardest game of the group and due to mitigating circumstances the Socceroos and their coaching and supporting entourage reckon they can beat the La Furia Roja! (that's the Red Fury for you monolinguals)

It's been a Tim Cahillathon following that unbelievable goal against the Clog Botherers. That World Cup moment has gone viral. And just like a New York Times Best Seller, an Oscar Winning Movie or a Hit TV Show, that goal has been translated into a multitude of languages.

Such has been the focus on that one moment, we've all forgotten ( this plebeian included. Hail Sir Tim Cahill Duke of the Left Foot Volley) that the Socceroos actually lost against Holland and have been knocked out of the World Cup. The last game against Spain could see the Red Fury come at the Socceroos as the Red Moderately Furious Fury or the Red Am I Not Bothered cause we won everything already and we haven't had a siesta in six years Fury. 

Overflowing Schooner vs Empty Pint

It's interesting to note the way the English press and Australian press have reacted to being knocked out of the World Cup. Both teams have lost their first two games and both teams have no chance to progress to the next round. Australia are seeing the Schooner as overflowing because the team played well above expectations and scored three goals including Sir Tim Cahill's goal of the tournament. England see the Pint as empty because it's the first time since 1958 they haven't qualified beyond the group stages.

Following the fallout from England's loss to Uruguay I read with some Schadenfreude David James Guardian article  and he sees the dead rubber game Old Blighty have to play against Costa Rica far differently to the way the Socceroos are approaching their dead rubber against Spain. Here are the lines I enjoyed the most:

"England’s last game, against Costa Rica, has got to be the worst game you can play in a World Cup. Ordinarily, you lose a game, and you go home. But to stay on and play for nothing? On the biggest stage in the world? That’s unheard of in English football. And it’s bound to be painful.

There is no pride left to salvage, no opportunity for points that might redeem the side.And whatever tactics Roy Hodgson employs, it will be a no-win situation for him. If the team put in a great performance with a change of personnel, everyone will question why he didn’t play them in the first place. If the team loses, the whole enterprise will be further consigned to failure on an epic scale. It is an impossible task"

Contrast that reaction to the way the Australian media and the way some former Socceroos have reacted and you find most are singing the sides praises.

Even though the players and coaches are disappointed to be heading home earlier than they would have liked Tim Cahill's goal has given the media and supporters something priceless for Australian football and it's future:

An Immortal World Cup moment. Arise Sir Tim Cahill, Duke of the Left Foot Volley

Because expectations were low it seems that moment alone by Sir Tim Cahill Duke of the Left Foot Volley is enough to satisfy the appetite of the Australian football fraternity.


Looking ahead to the Pain in Spain game the other Socceroos players must surely have been suffering some Tim Cahill fatigue. I think it's time for the focus to shift on to Generation Next and what plans Socceroos boss Ange Postecocglou (bout time I spelt that right) has to combat the sleeping dog that is Spain.

Some Spanish journo's are saying that the reason Spain has performed so poorly in Brazil 2014 is that the team is tired and not really bothered because they've been there and done that.  Why should we bother Amigos?. We've already won the Euro's and the World Cup. Plus who wants to practice and play the triangle in the school band all the time?

For many years the Socceroos focus was on players with individual brilliance and fantasy.Australia was lucky to be blessed with great players like Ned Zelic, Paul Okon, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka. Now with GenNext perhaps the future is the style of play, the system and structure of the team and the focus on the sum of the parts rather than the individual. 

By the time the Socceroos play at the next World Cup (they have to qualify of course)  the Rob Baan and Hann Berger Dutch revolution will have taken hold. Small sided games, no results and the fluid 4-3-3 will have had almost ten years to take hold in the Aussie football landscape. Who know what the Socceroos will look like in another four years. 

Strong personalities like Paul Okon, Ned Zelic, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahil and Lucas Neill saw a lot of territorial pissings going in  Socceroos camps and World Cup campaigns over the years. It's now a perfect opportunity for GenNext to make there mark, which is why I hope Ange P goes fully sick with the youth for the Spain game.

Why not give Adam Taggart, Ben Halloran, Oliver Bozanic, Massimo Luongo and Bailey Wrght some game time? I also think Mitch Langerak should get a start. I don't think I could handle anymore Matty Ryan blunders.  

Who knows perhaps the GenNext Hispters can cause their own Immortal World Cup moment by beating World Champions Spain!

Vamos Socceroos farken Vamos!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Socceroos - Holland Psycho(Analysis) World Cup 2014 Brazil

The Socceroos Greatest Ever Loss

So the Socceroos couldn't beat the Dutch. Who cares if we lost 3-2 and are now out of contention to move into the next round. Last night's game had enough excitement and drama to last forever in Australian football history.  I may be sounding like an annoying Pollyana but just being in front for a full four minutes against the Orange Botherers is enough to satisfy my football thirst.  Although the Aussies lost I feel good. Almost as good as when the Socceroos beat Japan. It doesn't quite have the euphoria as when the Socceroos drew against Croatia to go into the round of 16 in Germany 2006.

But it's still a special feeling being witness to the Socceroos greatest ever goal, and greatest ever chance of causing one of the greatest ever upsets against one of the greatest Kreas (Van Persie shoulda been sent off for that foul on Jedinak) and possible World Cup contending teams.

What's the difference between the Socceroos and a tea bag? The tea bag spends longer in the cup.

What does a Dutch Footballer do after they win the World Cup? Turn off the PlayStation.

You know you are truly part of a World Cup when you are the punchline for one of it's jokes. And being the butt of a joke is part of the fun of being part of the World's biggest sporting event. As a long suffering football fan in Australia doesn't it feel good to belong to a historic World Cup moment like last night? (even though it did end in heartbreak farken!)

Seeing Tim Cahill's score an Ubermanch goal makes the loss not so bad. Syphilis ridden German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had this concept of a human that had other-worldliness qualities.That's what Tim Cahill's Uber goal is for me.

The bar has now been set for every Australian youngster that wants to play for the Socceroos to aim for the same height as Uber Timmy Cahill. The German word Uber means above or beyond. That goal was above or beyond every player or fans wildest dreams.  I wasn't even finished groaning at Arjen Robben's opening goal for Holland when I had to do an about face so I could start cheering, laughing, smiling, exhalting, rejoicing and even a bit of guffawing.

Is Tim Cahill the greatest Socceroo ever? It's not a question anymore it's now a statement.

The Mozz

So which one of you was it? C'mon now be honest. When the Socceroos took the lead through Mile Jedinak's penalty to go up 2-1 in the second half who said out loud "we're gonna win this!" and I know some of you even went further and said "we're gonna win this one easily".

I know this because one of them was sitting next to me. Nice one my brother Phillip. After the Dutch scored the demoralsing third goal I blamed Phillip for the loss. "You stirred up the football gods. You don't say things like that before the game is over, you stirred up the Mozz" I cried!

For those of you that don't know what the Mozz is get Tony Wilson's book Australia United. It's a funny and engaging chronicle of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In Tony Wilson's own words this is what the Mozz means.

"What the Mozz does is inhabit the etherof the entire universe, wafting around, waiting for the faintest murmur of expressed opinion. The Mozz will then act, swooping down, striking hard, possessing any relevant animal vegetabe or mineral, and transforming the result to the opposite - usually one that is profoundly shit." End of explanation.

And so as Tim Cahill was in hurtling towards the Dutch goal at 2-1 just affter the Jak penalty and with the option of Matt Mckay on his right and another Socceroo on his left the Mozz took hold of Tim Cahill's pass and made it go to long nullifying any attacking opportunity the Socceroos had.

Not soon after Phillip yelled "we're gonna win this one easily"  The Mozz allowed Dutch Winger Memphis to stroll past right back Ryan McGowan allowing him to cut inside, Mathew Leckie tried in vain to get possession back but Memphis got a lucky bounce with the help of the Mozz of course and got the ball back  and passed it to Sneijder who returned the pass back to Memphis who then set up Robin Van Persie for the equalising goal. The Mozz didn't compose Matty Ryan and the ball flew over his head with no hands in the way. The Mozz also made Jason Davidson keep Van Persie onside for his second positioning error in this World Cup.

Later in the game when the Socceroos had another opportunity to score The Mozz  unfortunately made Tommy Oar become too in awe (thanks Wayne Snowdon) of the occasion and he took the wrong option. Finding himself in the Dutch box Oar was in a fantastic position to shoot but instead he fired in a cross that was too hard and the Mozz made Mathew Leckie chest a tame attempt at goal.

The Mozz then  made Tim Cahill get a hamstring injury so Australia lost it's best chance of scoring more goals.

The Mozz is also responsible for making Matty Ryan flap at shot by that man Memphis again that led to the third Dutch goal when Ryan shoulda coulda saved it

But let's get serious it wasn't the Mozz and it wasn't the football gods it was just the cruel mistress that is football that caused the Socceroos to lose. Time to to take a step from the blame game and acknowledge the effort of the Socceroos players and staff in serving up two wonderful World Cup games. The pressure that all involved would have been under and the memories and moments that will never be forgotten makes the critic in me want to have a rest for a while because what the fuck do I know about playing at a World Cup?

Shut Up Pim Verbeek

I really feel like it's time to rejoice at the performance and be optimistic about the future of Australian football. Australia's World Cup group has seen Spain already knocked out. The best team of the better part of the last decade have copped seven goals and scored just one. Australia has a better record than the current World Champs with three goals scored and six against. What if we had a proper defence? None of the Socceroos have the pedigree and recent history the Spanish do.Only Tim Chill and Mark Bresciano have played in World Cups before. 

Before the game and no-one thought that the Socceroos would score any goals! (Pim Verbeek). 

Many thought the A-League was an inferior competition (Pim Verbeek).

How many current and former players A-League were on the pitch Pim?  Eight if i can remember.

The Dutch just like the Chileans before them got the fright of their lives and a real challenge from the Socceroos. No-one besides the players and coaching staff and the most optimistic fan thought the Aussies had any chance of matching our Group B opponents let alone be in a position to draw in the first game and come so close to winning in the second game. 

Sure getting so close and in the end being so far from the desired result is harsh but like Winston Churchill said "Never Despair!, We got the Asian Cup coming up, what's Uber Timmy Cahill going to do next?"

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Socceroos vs Holland (Orange Botherers) Preview World Cup 2014 Brazil

"There are two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other peoples football cultures ( Scott Chipperfield) and the Dutch! (Being in the Socceroos World Cup Group)"

The above quote is me paraphrasing the hilarious Movie Austin Powers: Goldmember. It's the only Hollywood movie where the Dutch culture is ridiculed and made fun of. During the film all the lazy stereotypes of the Wogs with Clogs are used as comedy fodder through superfreaky Goldmember (Mike Myers) as he teams up with Dr Evil (Mike Myers) to kidnap Austin Powers Father (Micheal Cain).

Why I bring this up is because the Socceroos are playing Holland and it's probably unlikely the Australians can beat them on the pitch so why not try beating them with humor and mockery.

The Game Plan vs  the Wogs with Clogs

Okay lets get serious and less nervous  Socceroos. You guys have never lost to the Netherlands in an international game. Yes yes yes they may have only been friendlies but it still something. Yes, yes yes most of you current Aussies in the squad has never faced the Dutch but it's a positive and we need all the positives we can get. 

Another positive is that the Australians and the Orange Botherers share a commonality.  Both nations go by three different names. Netherlands, Holland and the Dutch. Australia, The Socceroos, and The Aussies. That irrelevant tidbit makes you less nervous right? Tommy Oar and Jason Davidson I'm talking to you send in those crosses boys!

At the moment it seems like the the only game plan on the clipboard that Ante Milicic is holding and furiously writing notes is "Surely the Dutch can't play as well as they did against the Spanish" and "Surely the Socceroos can't start as badly as they did against Chile."

One thing top teams have in their tactical arsenal is their ability to have a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. Because the Socceroos have a young and inexperienced team the hope is that they execute Plan A to the best of their ability. For some moments against Chile they were able to that. They held the ball for longer and through Mathew Leckie they were able to exploit the space down the flanks. More of this please!

The stereotypes of the Dutch in football has always been one of total football which basically means totally give the ball to Johan Cruyff. But Johan Cruyff and his mates are another country, a faded T-Shirt, a FIFA DVD on sale now. 

The modern way of playing football  for the Dutch is a mixture of thuggery and arrogance combined  with moments of sublime skill. The Netherlands are not proponents of Total Football but a mixture of possession based, counter attacking at speed wrapped in a Dutch waffle of agricultural football.

This is where the Aussies come in. Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan (or whover replaces him after being injured) have to show some of their "Kreas" tendencies and not let the likes of De Guzman and De Jong Deboss them or Dekick them around.

Bullies don't like being stood up to and this is where the Aussies can match the Wogs with Clogs. 

Ange Postecoglu talks about being fearless and taking risks but as I banged on about in my last blog Adam Taggart needs to come on the field at some point. Tim Cahill busted a gut for 90 mins. His 34 year old body is going to need a partner. Head Farken misses his Brother Shoot Farken!   Power in numbers and all that Jazz man. This morning in a media scrum Ange said he wasn't happy with his subs (he made them) so perhaps some changes are afoot. Perhaps he read my blog and took note. Of course he did(n't).

The Dutch Whisperer

Australia has it's own Goldmember  in their ranks in Hann Berger. The Berger is at the World Cup in a special advisory role  (double agent?) to the Socceroos. 

The Hann Bergler had a controversial tenure as Australia's Technical director. Some say the direction the Australian game took by following the Dutch 4 3 3 system didn't provide the necessary results or rewards that were promised. Particularly in the way our young players were coached and the dismantling of the Australian Institute of Sport system that produced so many quality Socceroos in the past.  Going Dutch seemed a failure and it showed in some of the poor results Australia's youth teams accumulated at  various Youth World Cups. 

 "Hey everyone I'm from Holland isn't that weird?"

There was also some controversy about the way Berger mandated small sided games and the no winners or losers approach with games ending  result-less. Around the country many local football clubs and associations were reluctant to take on the "trophies for everyone" approach of playing games. Not everyone agreed with The  Hot Dog! "Everyone one was a Wiener!" mentality. 

I can see Hann Berger in his role as The Dutch whisperer leaning into some of the Socceroos players ears and quietly saying "Watch out for Van Persie, Sneijder and Robben they are very very good"

Expectations Lowered

Beofore the Chile game I thought the Socceroos could get away with at least a point against L Roja and when Timmy scored I started to believe in a win. So for this game against the Dutch i'm lowering my expectations. Unless you are blind with with Brazilian party juice it's hard to expect a positive result out of this game. A positive performance from the Socceroos that includes a betters start would be great. A goal would be fantastic and avoiding a thrashing would be a relief.

 It's not that I don't believe it's just that I will feel  better and more elated when the Socceroos cause a surprise and knock those Orange Botherers off their Clogs! Even if it's only through some strong "Hi I'm a Socceroo" fouls (Yes I said it!) 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Socceroos - Cholos (Chile) Analysis World Cup 2014 Brasil

What If?, Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda

No these are not the names of four Arabic restaurants they are the burning questions that will surround the Socceroos after their 3-1 World Cup opening game loss to Chile in Cuiaba Brasil.

What If?, Shoulda, Woulda and Coulda are usually a luxury in life, moving forward is the mantra and to forget the past is what we're told to live a happy and healthy life. But for football countries like Australia it's almost the lifeblood of the game. 

The Iran game and the Italy game and now the Chile game can now join the illustrious company of Australian World Cup heartbreaks. It is definitely worth arguing that the Chile game has as many questions as the other two. 

This is due in parts to what happened before the Chile game and what happened during the loss to La Roja. Before the game there was a number of player retirements forced or other wise. The debate raged particularly from one of these "retirees" shot botherer Mark Schwarzer. The hero for the Socceroos on many occasions questioned whether sideline botherer Ange Postecoglu had picked the strongest squad. This point of view riled up many fans and even Postecoglu himself.

Also lets not forget the number of Socceroos that suffered injuries before the World Cup meant the team was short of key players and there was fear and trepidation that the youngsters would be overawed by the occasion.

The What Ifs?

  • What if Ryhs Williams. Robbie Kruse and Tom Rogic hadn't got injured before the World Cup? The Socceroos would have had much more experience and quality with this triumvirate if they were in Brasil. 
  • What if Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer hadn't retired. You wonder what kind of difference they would have made. 
  • What if the youngsters had more game time together rather than just two or three friendlies to get the team harmony and cohesion in place?
  • What if Tim Cahill wasn't offside for that would be equalising goal? 
  • What if Bresh's volley was an inch up and to the right, up and to the right?

The Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda's 

  • Mile Jedinak shoulda played better! In all the analysis after the game Robbie Slater is the only one that kept it real. The Jak was responsible for both opening goals. 
  • Tommy Oar coulda played better but it wasn't all his fault but I'll come back to that later.
  • Maty Ryan shoulda stayed on his line! Schwarzer woulda done better and the Socceroos coulda stayed at 0-0 for a bit longer.
  • Mathew "I played a brilliant farken game" Leckie shoulda used the shoot farken mentality when he surged down the right hand side and shot with his left foot instead of cutting in on his right. It coulda been one of the all time clashic World Cup goals!
  • Ange Postecoglu coulda and shoulda made better subs it woulda made a difference with 20 mins to go! Read below why.

Ange got it Wrong

Ange Postecoglu got his pre- World Cup wish. He wanted the Socceroos to be a team that the Australian sporting public would be excited by again. The game was a tense watch. The Aussies took the fight to Chile. Most fans before the game and after the first 20 mins thought an arse whipping was coming. But the team fought back, were brave and showed that true Aussie fighting spirit. Ange got his wish; The Socceroos are an exciting team to watch again. 

But alas for me that's not good enough. Ange Postecoglu got the last 20 mins wrong. The talk from Ange post match has been that the during the first 20 mins the team was overawed particularly the youngsters. He said that their inexperience showed and that the team was nervous and that''s why they copped two goals in the first 20 mins. 

But I disagree. It wasn't nerves it wasn't inexperience it was Alexis Sanchez quality and flair and poor defending by Mile Jedinak. Dirty Sanchez ripped the Socceroos apart  and I blame Mile Jedinak! For the first Chilito goal he was out jumped for the header that fell to Alexis Sanchez and for the second goal he was turned inside out like a ballroom dancer  by the Cholo Sanchez again. 

Perhaps blaming it all on Mile is unfair but he deserves some castigation. Sometimes that kind of quality is almost impossible to defend against.   A back heel before the first goal set up the cross down the right but Mile Jedinak was out jumped by a much smaller Chilito who headed the ball back to Sanchez who then performed keyhole surgery with that strike beating Spiranovich and Ryan at the near post. The second goal it was Sanchez skill again that caused the space to open and it was Jedinak who was beaten. Not the youngsters fault. 

But back to how Ange got it wrong. Lets harp back to 2006. Against both Japan and Croatia when the Socceroos needed goals there were literally four strikers on the pitch. The Socceroos are a crossing team. They don't do ticka tacka or triangles they look to go out wide and cross to targets in the box. One target in the box with the game on the line is not taking a risk. In my opinion Ange was too conservative. Why didn't Ange leave on Tommy Oar and bring on Taggart instead? Tim Cahill can't do everything by himself and in the end he couldn't. 

One target in the box for a crossing team is not enough!

Sure Josh Kennedy was injured but the lack of Strikers in the squad  pre theWord Cup was alarming and it was the Socceroos undoing as they tried valiantly to find that equalising goal. 

It would have been an interseting last 10 mins if someone like Tom Juric and  Adam Taggart joined Tim Cahill on the pitch as the Socceroos pushed for that equaliser.  Tommy Oar had an average game because he had no-one to cross to. 

Citing the the Ivory Coast as an example they too are a crossing team and once they brought on Didier Drogba they scored two goals in their comeback win against Japan. 

Hopefully Ange learns from this when the Socceroos play the Orange Botherers Holland. 

Tim Cahill Does it Again

I am tempted to call this blog "Head Farken Super Timmy Cahill". Some A Football Story readers would know that I went to High School with Tim Cahill. He was three years behind me and he always had a football with him as he walked the KNHS hallways. 

At the time of writing this blog Tim Cahill has scored more World Cup goals than Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo combined. I'm sure you football stat lovers already know Campsie's most famous Son's name is up there with Baggio, Klinsmann, Robben, Van Persie and Mattheus as one of the few footballers in the World who have scored at three consecutive World Cups. It's a wonderful talking point and this piece of knowledge must be taught in Australian schools with other notable Aussie achievements that have affected the World. Like ACDC, The Selfie and Top Shelfing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Socceroos - Chile Preview World Cup 2014 Brazil

Opening Match (Smashed?) 

According to the 2011 Census there are 24,900 Chileans who live in Australia. Most of these Chilitos reside in Bossley Park and Fairfield in Western Sydney NSW. A lot of them would be Western Sydney Wanderers supporters and only a small percentage I suspect would be supporting the Socceroos. Ahh the duality of being an ephnic football supporter. I'm sure these Chilitos (i just love that nickname) are all licking their Arolla De Chanco flavoured lips at the prospect of getting three points against the Socceroos.

I have a Chilean friend with a very Chilean name called Bruno. He told me a story once about how his father used to be a bodyguard for a Chilean politician around the 1960's or 1970's. One day this Chilean politician had an assassination attempt made on his life. Bruno's father the bodyguard ran away with no intention at all of protecting the politician. "Fuck this guy i'm not giving him my life" was the way Bruno told the story of hisfFather's mindset as he ducked and ran for cover as the bullets flew past.

What does this story have to do with the Socceroos opening World Cup match (smashed?) against La Roja? Nothing really just an entertaining side bar to help stretch out this preview because to be honest I'm not a Chilean football expert and neither is Bruno he hates Soccer!

Chile Fact File

What I do know about Chile thanks to the Official Australian FIFA World Cup Media Guide is that Chile's highest World Cup placing was in 1962 were they finished third. I say that because for this edition of the Cup some experts have Chile as one of the favourites. Ouch! How many favourites for the World Cup can you have in one group? 

I know Chile qualified third in their South American World Cup Qualifying group. I know that their record against the Socceroos is four games played, with three wins to Chile and one draw. That draw was at the 1974 World Cup against a team of no name part timers. Could it be an Omen for this game? Probably not but a draw would be a positive result so i'll take it as an Omen.

Looking at their squad list I know that Chile has World Clarsh players in their team. Defender Mauricio Isla (47 caps) plays for Juventus, Winger Alexis Sanches (67 caps, 22 goals) could possibly tear the Socceroos back line a new one. Valencia forward Eduardo Vargas (30 caps, 14 goals) is no slouch either. His dial is always on the highlights real when Chile plays. Arturo Vidal (54 caps, 8 goals) has been in the news in recent days because the Juventus playmaker is injured and could miss the game. But as Mile Jedinak has been saying he is only one player.

Will the Socceroos cause an upset?

Most Socceroos fans in Brazil didn't put a 10k debt on their credit card to see the Green and Gold get smashed. Even though Josh Kennedy (Jesus) didn't make it to Brazil  fans back home and in Brazil are praying for some type of miracle.. Is there a Messiah for the Socceroos who can walk on water and can turn graft and grit into goals? Can Tim Cahill do it again? Can Bresh find some space for a killer pass, through ball or sumptuous cross? Can Tommy Oar turn potential into Socceroos provider?

Historically a win or a draw in the first game compared to a loss increases the chances of a team qualifying for the next stage. The Socceroos are eschewing their opponents favouritism by talking up their low expectations and underdog status as well as their team spirit. However low expectations and underdog status didn't help the Socceroos cause against Germany four years ago.

What the Socceroos do have in their favour is the element of surprise. Chile will probably be focusing on their own game. While the Socceroos coaching staff would be putting in the hours analyzing the Chilitos players and their playing patterns like a Tiger Mom instructing their child to study harder!

C'mon just start the game already!

There is nothing more to really say. I'm all previewed out and probably so are you. After narrowly missing out on the group stage four years ago in South Africa and having to go through Holger Oscieck's harrowing tenure. We are now just hours away from Ange Postecoglu's youth and attack policy. The Socceroos players, fans and coaching staff stand on the precipice ( Andy Harper ©) of World Cup elimination or World Cup distinction.

Will the Socceroos Fall or Rise? 

All that's left is C'mon the Socceroos and Super Timmy Cahill Australia needs you to Head Farken!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Socceroos - Croatia 2014 World Cup Warm Up Analysis

Well doesn't that feel better? After the Socceroos dull and lackadaisical performance against South Africa the Australians proved once again that when faced with a much superior opponent and higher ranked team this time Croatia they were able to put in a competitive performance. 

That Kangarouthes were able to match it with the Croat's who had Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic  in midfield (one plays for a little team called Real Madrid the other for Inter Milan)  and that they only suffered a narrow loss is heart warming looking ahead to the Socceroos opening game against Chile.

A lucky deflection saw Croatian goal botherer Jelavic in mountains of space and wacked it like a kid playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.


  • The Socceroos didn't get thrashed, smashed on the scoreboard or in general play. The Aussies were competitive and were able to control parts of the game without being caught out in defence too often (except for the goal)
  • The back four was solid in defence with GoalKeeper Matt Ryan only employed on a few occasions.
  • Matt Spiranovic didn''t get injured yeah! Alex Wilkinson had his best game in a Socceroos shirt. Spiranovic is quality. Easily the Aussies best player in defence. He is able to settle the team with his ability on the ball and his excellent judgement when playing out of defence. Alex Wilkinson is definitely the if in doubt kick it out type player but I don't mind that, one ball playing Libero in defence is enough.
  • Jason "outstanding season" Davidson also had his best game in a Socceroos shirt. The left back looked the most self assured since he started playing for the green and gold and when he bombed down the left hand side he showed a sense of fearlessness that permeated through the whole team. 
  • Now to the midfield. Mile Jedinak played almost 3/4 of the game and showed that when he is on the pitch makes he the Socceroos stronger. Along with Mathew Spiranovic The all important spine of the team is much more healthier. 
  • Tommy Oar had a stint at Centre Attacking Midfield and will probably spend more time there until Mark Bresciano  fitness improves. Having Oar in the centre nullifies the Socceroos most potent weapon: Crossing to Tim Cahill, but at least the Australians weren't as one dimensional as they were against South Africa.
  • I reckon Mark Breciano's cameo was the biggest positive of all for the Socceroos. Part Time Socceroos antagonist Fairfax journalist Mike Cockerill has put down the gauntlet to Bresh. Saying it's time the former Parma and Palermo midfield maestro to step up his performances after two disappointing previous World Cups. 
  • Fearlessness it seems is the buzzword describing the Socceroos performance against Croatia. Most Pundits and Commentators are saying that the Socceroos are building for the future. But the FUTURE IS NOW! If the Socceroos can take the positives from their last performance and somehow jam a positive result (I mean fluke a win) against Chile in the opening game it's game on a baby!  


No negatives besides not being able to create many clear cut chances and score goals which is a worry. Chile play three at the back so if the Socceroos can keep it tight I don't see why they can't cause the La Roja some problems. After all everyone is in equal position before the first game aren't they?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Leopold Method Strikes Again

Read this excellent piece on the tactics being used by Ange Postecoglu and how the Socceroos are implementing them. It's on the Leopold Method. website and is written by the excellent Kate Cohen who along with Tony Tannous is one of the best analysts of tactics in Australian football today.

Below are some snippets from her article that stuck in my mind. You should mos def read the whole thing.

For the full Kate Cohen's article go to the link here

Socceroos and the forward Pass

"One of the key elements to the attacking brand of football Australia is now attempting to play is clearly demonstrated in the frequency and way in which the Socceroos look to play forward passes"

Louis Van Gaal, who will be in the opposite dugout to Postecoglou when Australia faces the Netherlands is another who believes a vertical, or forward, pass is often the less risky option.
“The vertical pass is not a risk because you always have people behind the ball,” Van Gaal said. “So, the vertical is the pass without risk, [but] the width pass is always risky.”

Andy Harper is Wrong

James Holland, all fingers pointing towards him,” Andy Harper said. “It was ill-disciplined possession from James Holland, he was too aggressive with his pass. It was a low percentage pass that was picked off, it opened up the field and South Africa swept up field and finished the business.”
A similar message, criticising Australia’s willingness to play forward occurred in the game against Croatia – “those straight balls in the midfield are just being asked to be intercepted, the ball needs to go out to the fullbacks,” Harper said.
But, if this is something that Postecoglou demands from his players, how can a player be criticised for following instructions?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The 2014 Socceroos Brazil Squad and A Football Story

Over the years here @ A Football Story I have brought you some interviews with young Australian players some known and some unknown. Three of the players I interviewed made Ange Postecoglu’s final 23 World Cup squad for Brazil.. They are attackers Mathew Leckie and Tommy Oar and defensive youngster Bailey Wright.

Mathew Leckie

I interviewed current Socceroo Mathew Leckie in 2011 and it was featured in Soccer International a magazine I grew up with and one that sadly no longer can be found on the newsagents stand due to the rise and march of technology.

The interview with the Frankfurt winger was published on this blog in March 2011 when he was still playing with Adelaide United. 
Mathew Leckie is now a key attacker for the Socceroos. Ignored under Holger Oscieck he has flourished under Ange Postecoglu and all Socceroos fans hope and some even expect him to be a danger to the opposition when he plays at the World Cup in Brazil. 

Expect Mathew Leckie to be in Ange Postecoglu’s starting line up for the first game against Chile. His speed determination and ability to get on the end of balls in dangerous position will be a key factor for the Socceroos in attack. Like the rest of the Socceroos fraternity we all hope Mathew can cause a surprise or two in Brazil.

Here is a link if you are interested here

Tommy Oar

I interviewed Tommy Oar in the middle of 2011 and it first appeared on the Green and Gold Army website after he scored a screamer of a goal for the Young Socceroos at the Youth World Cup. By then the Utrecht attacker was already a fully fledged Socceroo and completed his first season in Holland. 

In his first season at FC Utrecht the former Brisbane Roar winger played against Liverpool and played a fair few games for his Dutch side making him a rare Aussie Abroad success story. His star has been rising with each season and he is now a crucial member of AP’s side, a big difference from the sporadic appearances he made for Holger Oscieck often coming off the bench.  A modest footballer he can be used on the wing or as was shown against Croatia in the pre- World Cup warm up friendly in the central attacking midfield position a role he often takes up in Holland.

Of all the players in the Socceroos starting line up Oar will have huge expectations on him. Here is a response to the question I asked Tommy how he managed to deal with each step in his career so far:

"I was fortunate to be given the opportunities to get me into the position I am now. I think no matter which level you are playing, the basic principles stay the same. You just have to worry about your own game and the reasons why you got there in the first place”


The next step for the Gold Coast youngster will be the biggest stage in football: The World Cup. Can Tommy step up to another level yet again and make a name for himself? I think he can, and so do a lot of Socceroos fans.

Here is a link to the interview here

Bailey Wright

To many people in Australia when Bailey Wright’s name was announced by Ange Postecoglu for the 2014 World Cup squad many ardent and studious supporters had never heard of the Preston North End defender before. 

No one expected him to make the final 23 man squad for Brazil either. But there he is mostly as a back up for the defence. The versatile defender will be there just in case injuries or suspension hit the Socceroos back four and he can play as a center back or fullback.

I started to notice the Melbourne born 6 1/2 youngster due to Damian Davies Aussies Abroad monthly reports where he was getting rave reviews for his performances for Preston North End. The interview I did with Bailey first appeared on the Australian 442 website around April 2012. 

One very interesting point about the Dandenong Thunder  junior was that after not having much luck in Australia getting a contract he almost quit the game.

“I was fortunate enough to have been offered a two year scholarship with Preston. The reason the trials came about was because I didn’t see much of a future for myself in football in Australia and had talked to my family about quitting football and taking up a trade or to go and work with my Dad which at the time I was already doing. 

My Dad said to me would you like to give England one last chance before you threw it away?, so I did and now the rest is history, so I owe a lot to my Dad for giving me the chance to come over.”
After almost quitting the game altogother the Socceroos defensive back up is living every footballer’s dream attending and possibly playing at a World Cup.

I really enjoyed interviewing Mr Wright as it was a quite different process from most of the interviews I have done over the years. Normally the process of interviewing players is through a media officer or the player’s agent. But with the 21 year old I contacted him on Facebook and spoke to him personally. 

The Melbourne youngster is one of the youngest players in the Socceroos squad and I found him to be an open and honest person. He is a hard working determined footballer and even if he doesn't get to play in Brazil the experience of just being there and training with the squad will provide him invaluable experience that will pay off for Bailey and the Socceroos in the future. Will Bailey play a part for the Socceroos in Brazil? Let’s see what happens in Brazil said the Monk.

Here is a link here