One more revenge mission for Socceroos
After the first-half of the Germany-Australia friendly in Moenchengladbach this morning, my fear was that the Socceroos were on their way to a similar defeat as the ignominious game in Durban at the 2010 World Cup.
What happened in the second-half was as much a surprise to me as it seemed to be to German coach Joachim Loew, for the Socceroos outplayed – yes, damn it outplayed – a team I personally consider the second-best side in world football.
And let’s not hear any nonsense about “second-string German sides” or “they didn’t care about the result.”
They cared, much more than if they’d won.
And the Germans did not underestimate Australia, for it was in Germany in 2006 that the Socceroos won many German admirers, many of whom adopted the side as their “second” team.
That respect has not diminished, even after a 4-0 drubbing 289 days ago.
A positive factor is that Australia are overcoming reliance on the players who are part of the “golden generation” but who may not be around for 2014. Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton were solid without being outstanding.
Tim Cahill wasn’t there. Lucas Neill is an exception.
Much maligned, he was a rock at the back along with Sasa Ognenovski and to steal a topical cricket parlance played a “captain’s knock” to keep the much-vaunted German attack at bay.
The trick for Holger Osieck is to get this side to win these games at the World Cup. Wouldn’t that be nice? Revenge missions to restore lost pride are all well and good. Beating the elite on the biggest stage would be better.
To this end, I went through and figured that the Socceroos had now beaten every nation to win the World Cup (with the exception of Spain who are obviously running scared and haven’t played the Aussies yet).
I forgot one. Italy.
The one nation that every Socceroo fan who was in Kaiserslautern on that June evening in 2006 wants to get back on the park (not to mention the two million or so who watched it on TV back home).
Author and broadcaster Tony Wilson wrote a great book called “Making News”, about a (fictitious) Socceroo who gets caught up in a tabloid sex scandal. In it, Wilson, an avid Socceroos fan, rewrites history and has the Australians beating Italy in that game.
It’s time to turn fiction into fact. Come on FFA, schedule a game against the Italians first chance you get.
And then we’ll go hunting for Spain.