Slovenia loss not so bad for Socceroos
Yesterday our Socceroos were downed 2-0 by Slovenia, a first time World Cup finals participant in 2010. On face value this seems a crippling loss at the hands of a rather unknown quantity.
The Slovenians were clearly the better of the two sides, with Australia being punished for their lack of ball retention. The Slovaks had 27 shots to just nine from Australia.
All these signs might appear ominous with a changing of the guard in process, a new coach and the Asian Cup not too far off. But I disagree.
What we saw last night was certainly a bad performance, but a bad performance from an inexperienced and underdone side whom was directed by just a caretaker coach in Han Berger.
Half the men named in the 20-man squad have made 10 or less appearances for the Socceroos. Many were young; under 23. And it was mostly an experimental game, with Berger opting to try out less seasoned performers such as Djite up front.
Not trying to make too many excuses because look at what the Germans did with a young squad at the World Cup, but for us I think it gave hope of better things to come. There were patches of decent play and we did create some chances, but with the majority of our first team out, this result was always expected. Well, maybe not expected, but understandable.
A positive is that we have a new generation of exciting players stepping up and one thing Oseick can do is develop youth talent. Four years until the next World Cup and if Osieck is everything he is cracked up to be (at least in the youth development department), then the likes of Djite, Vidosic and Oar could not only turn into the next Vidukas, Kewells or Cahills, but surpass them and take us further than ever in the World Cup.
A more timely test of managerial skill from our new German coach, however, will be the upcoming Asian Cup in Qatar. With some of our World Cup contingent approaching retirement age very soon, I would like to see Osieck not only include the youngsters in his squad, but play them and play them well. If he can whip a team into shape which is inclusive of starting our next generation of Roos, I will be happy – provided we finish respectably.
Many are tipping Osieck to be similar to Verbeek in relation to a defensive formation but the crop of players emerging may just force his hand to adopt a somewhat attacking style of play.
I for one could not care if we play with 6 defenders, provided we keep the ball, create chances and those 6 defenders get forward. The day Australia play effective, overlapping, possession football, camp in the opposition’s half and not only create many chances, but take a good portion of them will be the day we come of age.
Comparable to the Germans yet again; they played a 4-2-3-1 but dominated with it. The problem was not the formation we used, but rather the way we played inside it. Implement it right, with the right players, and we could tear nations apart, just like the Germans did to ourselves and England.
Let’s hope Osieck can produce and take our Socceroos up a level. Let’s win this Asian Cup and let’s give a new nations a shock in Brazil, 2014.