We must continue to back the Socceroos

apaway Roar Rookie

By apaway, apaway is a Roar Rookie

 , , , , , ,

109 Have your say

    In the past eight hours I’ve read that the Socceroos 4-0 defeat was the worst sporting performance by an Australian team (on the World Game), an unmitigated disaster (on The Roar), and a whole host of other things, ranging from a national disgrace to the death of the sport in this country.

    Robbie Slater called it “un-Australian.” Can anyone tell me what the expression “un-Australian” is supposed to represent?

    Save it for a while, it’ll side-track us. I listened with mounting horror to the outpouring of anger but a measure of sanity was provided from the most unlikely of sources – Craig Foster.

    I’ll admit, he spoke with something of a forked tongue, but after slamming Pim Verbeek’s selection and tactics for the game, he went on to say, “Yesterday, it was easy to be a Socceroos fan and wear the gold shirt. Today, it’s not so easy. But today is the day when it matters the most and when we really NEED to show our support.”

    True words, but they highlight something else, something that has been the silver lining that Mike Tuckerman couldn’t find in his overwhelmingly negative article – people care. I mean, I got calls today from friends and colleagues who don’t have a strong football affiliation, yet they wanted to know where we go from here, how did it go so wrong, and most tellingly, how awesome were those Germans, and how great was it to watch them? (Just, you know, not against us!).

    TV news, current affairs, morning shows, print media, websites and social media have blanket coverage of the tournament and consumers are lapping it up. It took a rugby league racism scandal to penetrate the domination of football’s sporting headlines, something league could have happily done without.

    It highlights something else for me and that is how completely immersed the country is in this World Cup. I was in Germany in 2006 and while the experience was unforgettable, what I didn’t see was how people back in Australia took to the tournament and the fortunes of our national team.

    This time, it is there for all to see, and it is as uplifting as the Germany result was disheartening. While other sports can point to stronger domestic leagues and larger fan bases, is their any in this country that could attract 25,000 fans to a site at four o’clock on a bitterly cold morning, to watch a game on a giant TV? In their dreams. For that matter, has any national team played in front of 30,000 fans so far from home, as the Socceroos have now done in two World Cups?

    I realise that much of this is to do with the stage – the World Cup is enormous, easily the biggest global sporting event held. But that also should ram home just how big a deal it is for the Socceroos to even be performing on that stage.

    Without doubt, a lot went wrong in Durban last night. Verbeek has accepted responsibility, and as a proud man I’m sure the result and the manner of its unfolding have wounded his pride. He has been roundly criticised for the selection of Richard Garcia as a striker, and for seeming to tinker with the 4-2-3-1 formation which has served the team well in the qualifiers. Also inarguable is that some high-profile players turned in awful games against a team we could ill-afford to be at anything but our best against. And were punished. In a way, it’s somewhat heartening that so many fans felt punished too.

    Given Verbeek’s post-match comments, I’m prepared to judge his and the team’s performance over the whole tournament. That might only be two more games but thousands of fans here and in South Africa are desperately hoping it is more.

    If it isn’t, then yes, as a football nation we will have been seen as under-achieving. But for long-time Socceroo fans, who suffered two generations of heartbreak, that notion itself was unthinkable not that long ago. The 4-0 loss was a terrible result, but an unmitigated disaster?

    How about Uruguay 2001, and a 3-0 loss in Montevideo which saw then-chairman Ian Knop admit there was “No Plan B?” What about Iran 1997, and the 2-2 draw that turned the MCG from a rock stadium to a funeral parlour in 10 terrible minutes? Or back even further, and a 2-0 loss to New Zealand in Sydney in 1981 which torpedoed the Socceroos campaign and Rudi Gutendorf’s coaching reign? Those are disasters, because each of them prevented Australia from even getting to the big dance.

    Even if it all ends in tears early next Sunday morning against Ghana, ask yourself this: would you swap places with Ecuador, Poland, Czech Republic, Iran, Croatia, Ukraine, Tunisia or Sweden. They were all at Germany ’06 but they’re not swaying to the sounds of the vivuzula in South Africa. And if you are really desperate for omens, try this one: Ukraine lost their first game in the 2006 tournament 4-0 to Spain, and went on to make the quarter finals.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (109)

    • June 15th 2010 @ 1:10am
      Dave said | June 15th 2010 @ 1:10am | ! Report

      You know, this would be a lot more fun for us casual fans — the overwhelming majority of Australians — if we could just watch it in peace without the hysterical tantrums of the “it’s not soccer it’s football” brigade, particularly the delusional ranting about soccer surpassing the other Australian football codes. It isn’t going to happen. They’ve been saying it will since the 1970s, when soccer first emerged as Australia’s favourite children’s sport due to the lower risk of injury. But it should be obvious to all but the Craig Fosters of this world, particularly after yesterday, that soccer doesn’t attract our best athletic talent. The high-profile battle for players is between League, Union and the AFL. Soccer’s status in Australia is much like Olympic swimming — the favourite sport of people who don’t usually follow sport, supported with passionate if uninformed intensity once every four years. True soccer fans can and always have satisfied themselves with the infinitely better European leagues and teams.

      • June 15th 2010 @ 1:24am
        Alders said | June 15th 2010 @ 1:24am | ! Report

        Too true. Hip Holland Hup.

      • June 15th 2010 @ 6:35am
        punter said | June 15th 2010 @ 6:35am | ! Report

        How could you say that AFL or even RL attract the best sportsmen, you can’t compare them with anyone due to the lack of int’l exposure in both sport. With due repect, if swimming was like AFL , played in 3 states in the world, Travis Nederpeldt would have won 8 gold medals at the last Olympics.

        • June 15th 2010 @ 2:10pm
          Farqwar said | June 15th 2010 @ 2:10pm | ! Report


          If the whole world played AFL, then Australia would get smashed in AFL

          Football fans follow football all year round, its just the media and people like yourself who hop on every 4 years because they get bored of following such irrelevant sports such as AFL and League, but they can’t help making themselves the focus and trying to steal any joy from the real fans.

          You AFL and League fans should just focus on holding each other back and let Football and Union get on with representing Australia with honour.

          • June 15th 2010 @ 4:21pm
            BigAl said | June 15th 2010 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

            . . . what do u mean … honour ?

            • June 15th 2010 @ 4:29pm
              Beaver fever said | June 15th 2010 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

              Wouldn’t exactly call 0-4 honourable.

              • June 15th 2010 @ 4:37pm
                BigAl said | June 15th 2010 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                Well, I reckon they probably did their best, despite all the childish tantrums of some soccer nuts, this sort of result was always on the cards

              • June 15th 2010 @ 4:51pm
                Beaver fever said | June 15th 2010 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

                Well they may have done their best, but i have never seen a group of players, in any team, across any code throw their hands up in the air in dismay and sook as much as those guys.

                There is either problems in the player group, or they are at odds with the coaching, of course it is also possible that their display is typical of a soccer team, i hope not though, as that would be just very stereotypical.

              • June 15th 2010 @ 4:58pm
                Farqwar said | June 15th 2010 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

                “Wouldn’t exactly call 0-4 honourable.”

                No you wouldn’t would you , but thats because you don’t like the game.
                Anyone who knows what football in this country has been up against for the last 60 years will be proud of the boys and hopefull that they can turn things around against Ghana.

                If they play positive and with pride they should go alright.

              • June 15th 2010 @ 5:10pm
                Beaver fever said | June 15th 2010 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

                Hey dont blame me, i am not the “technical advisor”, quite frankly 0-4 is not honourable, cant see how you think it is either, the boys gave up, not very Australian like really.

                You would imagine that they would come back hard !!.

              • June 15th 2010 @ 5:23pm
                Farqwar said | June 15th 2010 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                How did they give up? Do you mean when they went down to 10 men against Germany?

                In the second half and up until the send off, they played alot better and even seemed to be getting on top, although unfortunately, they never looked likely to score.

                I accept they were beaten by a better team but I don’t think they gave up.

              • June 15th 2010 @ 5:27pm
                Beaver fever said | June 15th 2010 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

                I admit i know little about soccer , but I know a bit about team sports and body language, and they appeared to give up to me.

              • June 15th 2010 @ 8:30pm
                Alders said | June 15th 2010 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

                They seemed more interested in appealing to the referee on every single occasion rather than playing the game.

          • June 16th 2010 @ 12:27pm
            mahony said | June 16th 2010 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            Nail – Head!

      • Roar Pro

        June 15th 2010 @ 8:00am
        Cpaaa said | June 15th 2010 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        Welcome to World Football Australia. The harsh reality of …..” its not so easy, when everbody is playing the one game”
        self praise is distant, criticism plenty, and standing united in the times when it matters most is essential.

        Craig Foster, long time ago suggested we should have another manager for the world cup, get Hiddink, he has also suggested.

        The Football journos saw long ago that Pim does not have what it takes to be in charge of a world cup team. I doubt very much hell be offered this opportunity again.

        The remainder of this tournament is not going to be about Pims coaching abilities, the nation no longer has confidence in that, but what remains is if the players have the guts to get out of this group after a drubbing, and without cahill. Stand up Australia, We can do it!!! The Nation is behind you.

      • June 15th 2010 @ 9:43am
        Jeb said | June 15th 2010 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        Is that what this article was about Dave? And you talk about delusion!

        Quick question – did anyone (not imaginery) actually say to you on Monday morning not to call it soccer?

        • Roar Guru

          June 15th 2010 @ 1:23pm
          Australian Football said | June 15th 2010 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

          if I was a work colleague of Dave’s—I would have. 😉 It’s certainly a growing acceptance of what really is football. “Football Federation Australia” is the new dawn in Australia.. “Qantas supports Australian Football” end of story.

          • June 15th 2010 @ 1:56pm
            David said | June 15th 2010 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

            I agree with Punter who says the AFL players are good sportsmen when no one else can test them? there is no way in hell and AFL player could be a good football player it requiers skill and brains. But i reckon the stronger football players like Emmo and Swarts could be top AFL players if they wanted to. Think about it!

          • June 15th 2010 @ 2:13pm
            Jeb said | June 15th 2010 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            ha ha, fair enough AF. But regardless of what people call the game, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that what really irks Dave is that the whole country is talking about it.

      • Roar Pro

        June 15th 2010 @ 3:58pm
        Grimmace said | June 15th 2010 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

        I agree Dave. i’d probably show more interest if it wasn’t for the tantrums of the supporters and (although off the subject) the players horrible treatment of the ref.

      • June 16th 2010 @ 12:14am
        Dave said | June 16th 2010 @ 12:14am | ! Report

        You are in for a lifetime of frustration and disappointment if your enjoyment of your sport is so shallow that it depends on Australia playing and beating other countries. Especially in the case of soccer.

      • June 16th 2010 @ 12:26pm
        mahony said | June 16th 2010 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        Wow – you got all your usual garbace into an even more efficien parragraph. You hit every football-phobia ‘talking point’ and did so with 68% less words. Well done Dave! By the way – any perspective on the substance of the article – Plonker?

    • June 15th 2010 @ 1:35am
      tony yeboah said | June 15th 2010 @ 1:35am | ! Report

      Thank you for writing an article of some sanity. I for one have been a part-time supporter of Pim Verbeeks since his appointment of Socceroo’s manager, but last night even my patience was tested. But, you know what, i was watching Craig Foster tonight, and say what you want, i disagree with him more than most, but he really cares about the future of Australian football. And he was right, it is now time to support the boys! Tear the coach and players to shreds after the tournament. I was thinking the exact same thing about Ukraine. That game against Spain they were even more of a rabble than we were last night. But hey, us Aussies say if we only got over Italy we would have ONLY played Ukraine in the quarter finals and we could have made the semi finals in 2006.

      It is time for us to wake from our slumber. We over performed at Germany 2006, maybe we may underperform at South Africa 2010, but these guys are out there playing for us. Five of the Germany players last night played for Bayern Munich in the Champions League final three weeks ago. And Australia? Was it an Un-Australian performance? I agree, what does that mean. Does anyone seriously think that the OG-monster would have stopped us copping 4 goals last night?

      Let’s judge the boys after the tournament. I had my doubts about us last night, it was worse than i thought, but seriously, Germany is one of the greatest all time teams in world football. When has Australia ever produce a player like Meszut Ozil (only 21 years old too!) , who tore us apart last night. And you are right apaway, i was much more dissapointed after Iran and Uruguay because we never had a chance to rectify it. We do now. Two games, all to play for. Let’s have a little less of the part-time bloggers, who read somewhere about tactics giving us an analysis of last night’s game, but really have no idea, and let’s get behind the boys when they need it. Tear them to shreds after the tournament, right now they need us all to support them 110%. 2002 World Cup, Germany the perennial slow starters beat Saudia Arabia (a team we would currently have troble with) 8-0. Now that is an unmitigated disaster Mike Tuckerman.

      Have faith now, support them, and have the ‘I told you so’ (Jesse Fink style) for after the tournament.

      • June 15th 2010 @ 1:54pm
        DaMan3000 said | June 15th 2010 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

        I have to agree with you Tony… How good was Ozil! I had never seen him play before but I will definitely be interested to see how he goes if Arsenal pick him up to fill Fabregas’ hole. I hope Slovakia doesn’t have anybody like that in the squad tonight!

        • June 15th 2010 @ 2:05pm
          tony yeboah said | June 15th 2010 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          I’m sorry to have tell you, but they do. Marek Hamsik, 22 years old, a superstar at Napoli, perhaps a superstar of the future. But Herbert will be smarter than Verbeek and not give him the time on the ball that Verbeek gave Ozil. I think that New Zealand will do well tonight. Well organized, good coach, they like to attack and have nothing to lose. Sounds like us in 2006!

          • June 15th 2010 @ 4:56pm
            Chris K said | June 15th 2010 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

            You should probably watch out for the Slovakia coach’s son DaMan, he apparently is very good also

    • June 15th 2010 @ 3:15am
      JVGO said | June 15th 2010 @ 3:15am | ! Report

      Overreaction. I would have suggested 3-0 Germany before the game, and I’m sure that is what the Germans were thinking. And no more embarrasing than the Wallabies getting beaten by England at the last 2 world cups, the Kangaroos getting beat by the Kiwis or losing the ashes twice to the poms. This whole thing we almost beat/drew/didn’t lose to Italy so we must be great in 2006 is just preposterous. Who did we really beat, Croatia and Japan, and we were lucky against Japan. Let’s get on with it and front up against Ghana and Serbia and see how we go. All this shows that the WC is a whole other level to these other contests. We show up and do our best we are realistically somewhere between 10-30 rather than 1-4.

      • June 15th 2010 @ 8:22am
        Pete said | June 15th 2010 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        We didn’t beat croatia, we drew 2 all. We led for all of 7 minutes in 4 games at the last world cup. I think that puts it in perspective. We have come along way since the 70s, but we obviously still have a long way to go. I just think we’re panicking a little too much, yes we lost to Germany, the only real problem is that we lost cahill. If Pim uses his tried system with players in their proper position (ie…on the f*cking field!) then we will do better against Serbia and Ghana.

        Good luck boys!

      • Roar Guru

        June 15th 2010 @ 8:44am
        AndyRoo said | June 15th 2010 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        JVGO. Yes it was a pretty depressing result but we are still in the tournament and Foster is right, it’s not the time for post mortems.

        I can’t really quiblle with the squad selection, just a player here and their but wouldn’t make a difference……. the comments they read out on the World Cup show like “I bet he had Carle now” just make me want to throw something at the TV. Carle wouldn’t have made a diference (that’s why he only made it as far as the Championship) against GERMANY!

      • June 15th 2010 @ 9:49am
        dasilva said | June 15th 2010 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        we only lost by a 3-0 margin once in the last 10 years (Uruguay 2001).

        During that period of time we have played very competitively against top 10 opposition and never were disgraced. Against Germany in 2005 we held them to a 4-3 defeat.

        We always thought that losing was an option but Australia rarely get thrash in internationals.

        I don’t think it’s an overeaction to say that losing by a 3+ margin is unacceptable.

        In any case, I’ll be wearing the Socceroos shirt today.

        • June 15th 2010 @ 10:06am
          Al said | June 15th 2010 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          And in that 3 goal loss, 2 of the Uruguay goals came fairly late in the game, we were not disgraced in that game. I can’t recall an Australian national team being so comprehensively outplayed and embarassed in all my time of following the national team.

          • June 15th 2010 @ 2:00pm
            dasilva said | June 15th 2010 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

            Absolutely, I remember in the second half we were controlling the game with Kewell playing a blinder until Uruguay scored against the run of play.

            Although there was a 7-0 loss to Croatia with a 2nd string australia team and a 6-0 loss to Brazil in the Confed final back in 1997-98

            Although I do admit that was before my time of following football

            Perhaps the biggest contender of embarrasing performance in the last decade or so was the 2-1 victory over Tahiti and the 2-2 draw with Soloman Islands. But really performing poorly in obscure game shades in comparison in flopping in the grandest stage.

            This wasn’t the worst defeat in our history in terms of matches of importance (Iran 97 was). however it certainly was the worst in terms of actual performance of the team.

            • June 15th 2010 @ 2:18pm
              Al said | June 15th 2010 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

              Ah yes the 7-0 Croatia friendly, was pretty much a second string team however as you said after we were bundled out of the World Cup by Iran playing against the strongest team Croatia have ever produced.

              The confed cup loss came on the back of actually holding the Brazilians 0-0 a week or two earlier in the tournament from memory which was an excellent result, plus we actually reached a final of a major tournament.

              We played some really good football against Iran, in both legs and dominated them in Melbourne, we should have scored 4 or 5 in the first 15 minutes, Aurelio Vidmar’s inability to convert his chances and Venables questionable substitutions after conceding the second goal really cost us what should have been a comfortable win. Defintely more heart-breaking than this loss however as you pointed out, the fact that billions of people watched our team being dismantled with such ease is the most upsetting part.

    • June 15th 2010 @ 7:01am
      punter said | June 15th 2010 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Very true apaway, this is the sport I follow & this is my country, I will always follow the Socceroos, I enjoyed the highs of 06, for Australian football standard & will suffer the lows. This is what following sport is all about whether it’s you club or country.

    • June 15th 2010 @ 9:41am
      Joe FC said | June 15th 2010 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      Thank you apaway a brilliant article that brings sanity and perspective to this topic, something that is otherwise sadly lacking. Keep up the great work.

    • June 15th 2010 @ 12:06pm
      sean said | June 15th 2010 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      I must say, all comments (except from Dave) has been good so far. We really should have seen this coming. We have been luckly so far. It is fitting for a really good team like Germany to finally lay it bare for us. It will finally force FFA’s hand to rebuild the team after this worldcup and put in the extra effort to bring in new players and build them up. It will force FFA to find the right coach after this. So there is a lot of positive. Punter is absolutely right, there is always highs and lows in any sports. If it is all highs, we would have won the world cup by now. If you think you feel bad, imagine what the players are feeling at the moment.
      It is do or die next game. This is what we have been asking for. We now have it.

    , , , , , ,