Crushed in the dust, but Socceroos limp on

By Jesse Fink, Jesse Fink is a Roar Guru

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131 Have your say

    The Australian Socceroos during a training session at Ballymore. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

    His side might have ripped up the script and played out their own Escape from Alcatraz in Manama, but at least Pim Verbeek is man enough to own up to the fact that Australia was found wanting on Thursday morning in its World Cup qualifier against Bahrain.

    Tom Smithies, writing for News Limited, slammed Verbeek’s team as having “played without structure, intelligence or style” and described Mark Bresciano’s lucky winner against the run of play as “grand larceny”.

    Uncharacteristically brutal for Australian football reportage in the dailies but utterly correct.

    It was a shitty effort all round.

    I am no oracle, but I take some satisfaction from seeing the man I pinpointed as a major threat to the Socceroos, Jaycee John Okwunwanne, emerge from the 90 minutes as a runaway man-of-the-match.

    He missed two gilt-edged chances, one from a cross from Salman Isa early in the second half, another right at the death from his own ingenuity, but throughout the match he showed a level of fluidity and mastery of distribution that reminded me of Ahmed Mubarak Al Mahaijri of Oman (he destroyed Australia in Bangkok in 2007), and the raw technical ability of a Sulley Muntari (if not the shooting and pay-packet).

    Since posting my blog on Wednesday, I’ve had a number of people ask me why we can’t get a player like Jaycee John in the A-League.

    Beats me as much as you.

    I bet your average good-looking, charismatic young Nigerian footballer would stump for the sights and sounds of Sydney over Bahrain any day – even if the money was better in the Gulf.

    (A Jaycee John playing for Sydney FC is exactly what would pull in the punters; but I’m not going to rehash that argument here. I’ve done it to many times. But the math is pretty simple: skill + flair + pace = entertainment. Kosmina? Kemeny? Lowy? Are you listening?)

    What also struck me from this game is that Verbeek can no longer go on justifying his selection of David Carney, who is horribly out of sorts and repeatedly gave the Bahrainis more joy through turnovers and stray passing than a pin-up’s striptease at a Nevada brothel.

    Enough is enough: if you don’t play for your club you should have no business playing for the Socceroos, no matter who you are.

    Lest I say it, but it seems awfully hard on Nicky Carle, for instance, to be told he isn’t playing well enough for his Championship club so can’t get a Socceroos gig; yet Carney isn’t playing for his Championship club at all and is playing full games for the Socceroos.

    Carle has played 17 times for Palace’s first team this season, scoring three goals and leading the team in assists.

    Carney has made one start and done not much else.

    Yes, they play in different positions, and Carle has been uncharacteristically stuck in Palace’s reserves the past couple of games while trying to fight his back into first-team reckoning, but I believe the principle of fairness – and applying it – is just as important for the welfare of the team looking ahead to South Africa 2010.

    Australia look virtual dead certs to make it now, with nine points from a possible nine so far, and for that Verbeek is owed much credit, but when our team is depleted through injuries to key players, like it was in Manama, it looks defensively brittle, short of inventiveness and is devoid of penetration.

    We better pray Verbeek has got his full complement of players when we get to Africa, because otherwise we could be set for a very short stay.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (131)

    • November 21st 2008 @ 7:35am
      westy said | November 21st 2008 @ 7:35am | ! Report


      Agree on Carney ……… agree also it was good to see Pim come out with some straight talking …. maybe Johnny being up there has reversed the “Curse” …. great youtube IMO the best ever youtube on Nov2005 came out about two days after we qualified …….. go to google type …………….reverse the curse + socceroos …………

      Maybe aside from Nick some of the younger ones ……… Holland, Jedi, Troisi where to be looked at.

    • November 21st 2008 @ 7:49am
      sledgeross said | November 21st 2008 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      SOS Dukes, or even Brucie. I dont think Jesus is an effective target man for holding the ball up. If we persist with playing with so many attacking mids bombing forward, we need a presence to hold the ball up.

    • November 21st 2008 @ 7:56am
      Dickroo said | November 21st 2008 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Eddie Bosnar deserves a trial as the Center Back for the Feb Japan clash.
      He played in Dutch league before and is in J-League the whole year, at age of 28, regular starter for his club and familiar with Japanese players and attacking style. Could be a better choice than Coyne. At least Pim can take a look at him for the Asia Cup qualifier in next Jan.

    • November 21st 2008 @ 7:57am
      westy said | November 21st 2008 @ 7:57am | ! Report


      David coming back to the A-League or should come back anyway.

    • November 21st 2008 @ 8:15am
      Dickroo said | November 21st 2008 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      Socceroos 2011 Asian Cup Qualifiers:

      14/01/09: Australia vs Kuwait
      28/01/09: Indonesia vs Australia

      Pim can have a good look at young and fringe players in this two matches.

    • November 21st 2008 @ 8:22am
      The Bear said | November 21st 2008 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Agree. Asian Cup Qualifiers should provide the “back door” for the likes of Carle, Jedinak, Bosnar, Djite, Steffanutto, J. Burns et al. At the very least, the WC squad should be re-built in 2009. No excuses.

      The Bear

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