Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Socceroos Belgium and Saudi Arabia Analysis

After watching the Socceroos fumble and bumble their way with a lucky loss against Belgium and a very lucky win against Saudi Arabia, the World Cup afterglow has well and truly faded.

Recently there has been boasting predictions by some of the Socceratti that the Asian Cup victory on home soil is there for the taking.

The Socceroos chucked their 2014 Copo do Mondo performances into the waste bin of history and reminded fans, pundits and bandwagoners that there is lots of work to be done.

The Socceroos have planty of excuses why they played so badly. Sure it's hard to rise up to and match the performances that the Socceroos gave against Chile and Holland when your are playing in half empty stadiums in Belgium and London.

Compared to the pageantry and excitement of the world's biggest organised piss-up. the buzz of full stadiums and the gaze of the world's eyes, the atmosphere and the importance of the friendly games against the Chocolatiers and the Oil Botherers are a Debbie Downer in comparison to Brazil.

Sure Grumpy Postecoglou used a bunch of new players and  used the game to widen the net and add more depth to the national team’s small pool of players.

But talk about comedown Tuesday! I haven't felt so low on a Tuesday morning since the late 90's and early noughties of my misspent youth.

Sure the game was played on a Monday morning Australian time but everyone associated with the term "comedown Tuesday" knows that the low doesn't hit till the following day.

The Socceroos were pedestrian, lazy and as Alan Partridge says just too "cas" in defence.

The midfield is an ongoing saga and the attack is the same old story: a lot of conversation and very little action.

Fire up Tommy!

Before the first game against Belgium I had the opportunity to interview World Cup 2014 Socceroos members, Tommy Oar and Bailey Wright. Click on the their last names for the interviews.

Oar will want to forget these two games and Wright will never ever forget the Saudi Arabia game.

Oar continues to disappoint for the Socceroos while the Preston North End veteran (he's only 22 and has played over 100 games for the Lilywhites) made his full Socceroos debut and scored

After being a suited and booted cheerleader for the Socceroos last six or seven games including the World Cup, Wright would have been thinking 'finally'!

Oar is a mystery to me, and the Utrecht winger is probably puzzling many Socceroos observers and himself over why he can bring it for his club but not for his country.

The 22 years old's performances at the World Cup were mixed, Oar said so himself when I interviewed him:

"I've got mixed feelings,” he says. “Obviously playing at the highest level, coming up against the best defenders in the world is always going to be tough. I’m disappointed I couldn't have a more positive impact; however I am grateful for the experience. It has highlighted for me the things which I need to work on and what I need to improve."

It’s easy for this coach on a keyboard to say, but what Oar needs to improve upon when playing for the Socceroos is his composure.

When Oar plays for his club side in Holland he seems more relaxed. He's been on fire for Utrecht, starting the Eredivise season with three assists in two games.If you look at the highlights Oar's been giving some sublime passes to his teammates.

Where is Utrecht Tommy Oar when he plays for the Socceroos? Perhaps Oar is trying too hard and trying to do too much when he puts on the green and gold. I'd like see Grumpy Ange give him a free role. Give him the freedom to move inside from the left and into the middle like he does for his club side.

Poor Ol' Mitch

Goalkeeper Mitch Langerak must have done something wrong in his past Socceroos life because his current Socceroos teammates are causing the Borussia Dortmund's Goalkeeper all sorts of grief every time he puts on the Socceroos keeper's uniform.

Langerak's Socceroos career seems jinxed. His debut for the green and gold was against France when the Frogs thrashed the Aussies by six goals to nil. It was the last game dour game Holger Osieck ever coached for Australia.

In the lead up to the World Cup, Langerak's poor performance against Ecuador were he got sent off gave Socceros number one GK position to Mat Ryan, wrapped up in a green and gold bow tie.

Langerak must be thinking to himself: “At least I don't have to put up with this shit at Dortmund.”

Hipster bearded kreas Mile Jedinak has Tommy Oar's disease, were he excels for his club and plays crazy in the coconut (go "The Avalanches" reference!) for the Socceroos.

To continue with the Avalanches references: Since the Socceroos left us at the World Cup, Ange Postecoglou's five year project, is still a work in progress.

The Fringsters

Joshua Brilliante, Trent Sainsbury, Mitch Langerack, Massimo Luongo, Bailey Wright, Ben Halloran, Chris Herd, Tomi Juric and Brad Smith all need proper playing time or to move to proper clubs.

The Socceroos can't be having League One players and bench players trying to keep up with your Belgium's and trying to dominate your Saudi Arabia's.

It will take time to get regular games and proper clubs, for some players in the Fringsters list, perhaps the Asian Cup is a year too soon.

The Regulars

Tommy Oar, Jason Davidson, Mile Jedinak, Mathew Leckie, Mat Ryan can’t keep on playing below their ability or better for their clubs.

Step it up, you're playing for Australia farken!

The Meek

Robbie Kruse, Rhys Williams, Mathew Spiranovic and Terry Antonis see more of the inside of a doctor’s office than the outside of a football pitch.

You all don't want to be called the next Hayden Foxe especially by Andy Harper do you?

Generation What's Next? may look like a mad woman’s breakfast at the moment, but with some refinement of the squad particularly the fringsters, regulars and some luck with the meek, I’m still intrigued to see how the story ends.

I just hope it doesn't have the same ending as another disastrous and embarrassing home football tournament.

The Sydney 2000 Olympics anyone?

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