Woeful Socceroos are digging themselves a grave

SocceroosvomanSocceroos fixtures are a cause of much joy in Australia’s football calendar. Despite our differences, most Australians tend to unite as one big footballing family to cheer on our representatives. It is an occasion like none other, fans in a celebratory mood, hoping for the right result, a win!

But on Tuesday night, fans left a packed out ANZ Stadium in the worse possible mood, shattered. And I don’t blame them. Our performance against a lowly ranked Oman is simply indescribable. With just one win after five matches, only an optimist would say the Socceroos still have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup finals.

Social media went into meltdown, many calling for Holger Osieck to step down with #HolgerOut. Others wanted to see the legendary Guus Hiddink make a return to the Australian set up with #bringbackguus. Many were left speechless at the team selection, the seemingly lack of tactics used. I don’t think I’ve seen the football community so united before… tweeting with one goal in mind, to force FFA to reconsider Holger’s position.

I was able to get hold of a football personality, although she wasn’t born an Aussie, nevertheless she is just as passionate about Australian football as everyone else. And I believe her sentiments are echoed throughout this nation.

When asked about whether or not Holger Osieck is the right man to lead the Socceroos to next years showpiece event, she simply replied “Coach (Holger) is not up to the job. Never has been.”

She also believes that Australia should in fact turn their attentions to long-term success, that the FFA should start preparing and focus on doing well in the 2018 World Cup through changing their policies on youth development and grassroots football.

Whether or not you agree on that point is a different issue.

But all those above points mentioned are the consequences of poor planning on FFA’s part. Holger Osieck was never the ideal candidate to lead Australia in the long-term. I believe that decision was one made without much consultation. And his flaws were exposed on Tuesday night. There was a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Osieck coming into that World Cup Qualifier, and he evidently doesn’t have the capabilities of handling such situations.

Everyone talks about Pim Verbeek and that dreadful night when we got absolutely run over by Germany, a killer blow which ultimately cost us a place in the round of sixteen. Forget about that night, it’s long gone!

The team seemed to play without any tactics. And the first half was just awful.

Firstly the team selection was just ridiculous considering the circumstances. It was a must win match and we went into the game without our attacking spearheads and creative masterminds. The creative hub of the team was not to be seen. While Australia dominated much of the possession, we seemed incapable of breaking down Oman, who were more that happy to sit back and absorb the pressure that was placed on them. The passing was sloppy and I honestly believe if we had a man such as Bresciano orchestrating the play from the centre of the park, we would’ve gone into half time with a well deserved lead.

The only chances that we had in the first came from set pieces, and they were wasted. With poor aerial balls into the threat of our Tim Cahill, there was nothing we could do to crack open a well organised Oman defence, who were content in playing counter attacking football.

Our defence was comical to say the least. Without a true leader in Lucas Neill at the back, the defenders looked slow and constantly out of place. Their usually solid back line was shambolic, allowing Oman to attack those gaping holes. All in all their counter attack was too much to bare for our woeful defence and a Mile Jedinak own goal summed up how terrible we actually were that night.

After yet another disappointing display, all eyes were focused on our coach. His already damaged reputation was tarnished during that press conference. He played blame games, criticising our young players when Robbie Kruse and Tommy Oar were stand out performers in what was a mediocre looking team.

All eyes will now turn towards those World Cup Qualifiers in June. Scrutiny will follow Osieck and his troops. The manner with which they approach those matches will be under radar. In the meantime, I believe that it is vital for Osieck and co. to reflect on what a woeful performance that really was. They need to come up with an effective plan ASAP.

Follow me on Twitter: @CrowzarY

  • Rod. P.

    Another well written article, Cronan.
    Back in those halcyon days leading up to the 2006 World Cup, the Socceroos were a team to be reckoned with and they got to Germany for the finals.
    2010: The socceroos only just managed to qualify and get to Sth. Africa.
    2014: They may well be watching the World Cup on T.V. at home like the rest of us.
    Against Oman this week, the Socceroos simply looked lost/confused as if they weren’t experienced veterans of high level footballing competition. Surprising because most of them play for fairly high-ranking clubs overseas.

    Perhaps the underlying problem is that their mindsets are too finely tuned into their European club teams and they don’t mesh together well when taken out of that familiar environment to join together with a bunch of “strangers” to form a , one match, “Socceroos” team.

    If that’s the case then they have to better discipline themselves because there’ll never be a full-time Socceroos team for them to get used to all playing together. Hopefully, the younger members will quickly mature —- like the 2006 Socceroos did.
    But … we’re running out of time.


    • Andrew Smith

      I think it’s the coach not being able to bring them together and show discipline. The coach made poor selection choices too. Need a coach who can get a team together and performing in a short period of time.

    • Cronan Yu

      I do believe the coach is to blame, he has never instilled discipline into the team and i think that’s hurting us. And you brought up a very valid point. All our players are scattered around the globe- we have players in Europe, Middle East, Americas, Asia etc. When you compare it to the best national sides in the world, they have players either playing with each other week in week out or playing in the same league. Take Spain for example, most of their players ply their trade within Spain and they play a very similar style of football. Now I’m not saying that all Aussies should ply their trade in Australia, but if they were to further their careers abroad, it would be beneficial to Australian football if majority of the players were to play in the same league. I think the FFA were fooled into thinking Osieck is the man for the job. Despite his credentials, he clearly isnt! And thankyou Mr Palmer!