Osieck must continue his sudden streak of bravery

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    Australian Socceroos' new coach Holger Osieck. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

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    Now that the Socceroos have qualified for the biggest show on earth, we can all rest easy after months of tension and soul-searching.

    Tuesday night showed just how much feeling there is for the Socceroos, as 83,523 people ignored the rain and cold to cheer on our best-loved national team.

    The sudden resurgence of interest will no doubt please the FFA, who did everything they could over the past few weeks to resuscitate the Socceroos brand.

    A sell-out crowd featuring an all-new support crew – Terrace Australis – wall-to-wall media attention and millions more viewers on free-to-air television all contributed to a wonderful month for Australian football.

    Fans from around the country converged on ANZ Stadium to will the Socceroos on. Such is the depth of feeling for the green and gold that football nutters made the pilgrimage from all across the country.

    One guy even made his way from London via the Trans-Siberian railroad.

    Their show of faith was rewarded. The final three games against Japan, Jordan and Iraq showed while the Socceroos aren’t quite what they used to be, they are still fantastic to watch with their backs against the wall.

    The players seemed both relieved and triumphant after the match, having borne the brunt of much criticism during their hot and cold qualifying campaign. In particular, the enormous effort over the final few weeks from senior players Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill and Mark Bresciano is to be applauded.

    It was also a rare moment of glory for Holger Osiek. While his players still struggle to play the kind of football fans have come to expect from the national team, his performance on the night was decisive.

    Bringing off talismanic Timmy Cahill – the man who had a major Sydney expressway temporarily renamed after him just hours before – for Australia’s forgotten saviour Josh Kennedy was Guus Hiddink-esque.

    Osiek may not like the comparison, but it was one of the few times that we’ve witnessed the German publicly stamp his authority on the squad in a manner reminiscent of ‘Aussie Guus’. His high-stakes gamble paid off with interest, as Kennedy stepped up to nod the ball home just minutes from full time.

    As Mr Motorway Tim Cahill himself conceded after the match, “If it was Guus Hiddink you’d have given him credit, so I’d love to see Osiek given the credit now.”

    Hiddink’s reign was characterised by his willingness to put high-profile noses out of joint for the good of the team. He happily kept Socceroos stars like Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell guessing, and nobody was guaranteed their place in the starting XI.

    Let’s hope Osiek can channel some of that swagger going forward in the World Cup preparations. The simple fact is now we’ve made it to Brazil, regenerating the squad will be priority number one.

    We were supposed to start rebuilding properly back in 2006 after Hiddink departed, but the thirst for glory has seen the process stagnate. But while it’s long overdue, now is the perfect time for transition.

    Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse, Mark Milligan and Tommy Rogic have all shown enough to suggest they are up to the standard of their peers. We’ve just got to have a little faith and a little patience.

    In particular, Tommy Rogic needs to be ushered into the starting XI as soon as possible. With Australia producing fewer and fewer ‘game-changers’, Rogic is a precious talent that we must not waste.

    Many fans might not like hearing it, but our results in Brazil hardly matter. What matters is that we’re there. You might not win anything with kids right away, but there is no shame in using the tournament as part of a broader rebuilding phase.

    As strange as it may seem, it’s already time to start planning for the Asian Cup in 2015 and Russia 2018.

    Yesterday was a time for celebration, a time to rest sore heads and hoarse throats. Tomorrow will be a time for some cold-hearted honesty and self-awareness of the level we’re currently at.

    We’re off to Rio, but our sights should be set further down the track.

    Joe Gorman
    Joe Gorman

    Joe Gorman is a football journalist with a particular interest in sports history. After completing his thesis on football in Australia, Joe started with The Roar in October 2012. He tweets from @JoeGorman_89.

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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • Roar Pro

      June 20th 2013 @ 2:38am
      Football United said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:38am | ! Report

      I agree that the world cup must also be used to rebuild. The Asian Cup is looming and it would be one of this nations biggest sporting travesties if we were to waste what is one of the worlds most watched sporting tournaments.

      Rogic must start, he is one of the few players in the squad that can really split defences with his passing. We need other types in defence like Rhys Williams, Ryan McGowan, Luke DeVere to get a run as Og and Neil are notoriously slow in defence and we can’t afford anymore late challenges when it comes to WC time.

      • June 20th 2013 @ 8:27am
        Franko said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        As far as I’m concerned McGowan made the decision he didn’t want to be a part of the NT when he signed for Shandong.
        Williams however, could answer some of our woes at the back.

        • Roar Pro

          June 20th 2013 @ 9:38am
          Football United said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          McGowan left a team in scotland that was imploding financially and not paying it’s players and the only two teams willing to pay Hearts for him were Shandong and the Huns. Chinese football might not be glamorous but it’s a hell of a lot better than the 4th Tier of Scotland.

      • June 20th 2013 @ 9:19am
        Aljay said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        You mean the Rhys Williams who was benched by his club team for poor form, the Ryan McGowan who has only played for a mid-level SPL team and in the Chinese Superleague and the Luke DeVere who has played about 2 games since major injury in September?

        • Roar Pro

          June 20th 2013 @ 9:49am
          Football United said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          So what happens when one of Neil or Og breaks down then Einstein? These players are our future and are actually capable of playing out the back. McGowan was in excellent form before while he was in Scotland (i can’t comment on china) and DeVere will be playing regularly again by towards the end of the east asian season.

          • June 20th 2013 @ 10:28am
            Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 20th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            Shane Lowry

            • June 20th 2013 @ 12:17pm
              nachos supreme said | June 20th 2013 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              Starting to feel like Lowry is the new Carle!

          • June 20th 2013 @ 2:31pm
            j binnie said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

            United – Agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments regarding the use of the next 12 months to improve our present starting 11 which Osiek has shown to be his “favourites” in the last few weeks.Result wise this team has played 3 matches,taken a possible 7 out of 9 points, scored 5 goals and conceded 1, (a very unfortunate penalty) so they can’t be said to have performed badly, especially after this morning’s result from one of those adversaries,Japan, losing very narrowly to Italy in a meaningful game for both sides.
            So how to seek improvement?. We have 2 centre backs who you rightly say are coming on in age but have been doing their duties admirably. You want an understudy. I agree. But who????. We have lots of names but if experimentation is the name of the game why not try something out of the square. Jedinak has been through the hoop in England Div 1 and has emerged successful to play Premier league. Could he play centre back?,he is tall enough,strong enough, experienced enough,,& with the play constantly in front of him could he handle one step back?.We are actually quite well covered in most other positions within this present squad,Franjic and Zullo could do a job in the wingback positions,Jedinak (despite my suggestion) can cover for Milligan,Rogic for Bresciano,Holman for Cahill (playing in his true position). An understudy for Kennedy would be hard to fill,we are not overburdened with that type of player but if fast direct wingers are needed Leckie and Zullo could fill in.
            All in all now that phase 1 is over I think we should build on what is in place and do so in a measured,orderly, manner.Wholesale changes are not the way to go but I agree improvement must never be ignored. jb

    • June 20th 2013 @ 7:17am
      Bondy said | June 20th 2013 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      Nice read Joe , Yes it was nice to see Osieck risk it all . I think that regardless we should be fielding our strongest team for every match in every circumstance.

      Somebody’s made the point that the last four years we’ve made the final of the Asian Champ and qualified for consecutive WC’s on the bounce, not bad at all, if we could make the final of the AFC in Australia ,it would be great for Australian Football..

    • June 20th 2013 @ 8:00am
      Roger said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      Osieck must get results in Rio.

      As a fan, I will not accept the mediocrity of simply making a World Cup. I expect, nay – demand, that we get out of the group stage in the most competitive tournament in the world. My expectations are based on the very reasonable and logical belief that given we have qualified for 3 world cups in a row, we – as a nation – now have a sense of entitlement for both qualification (which is pretty much a given now) and results at the World Cup.

      Anything less than the quarter finals is simply not good enough.

      • June 20th 2013 @ 8:23am
        Towser said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        “Mediocrity of simply making a Word Cup”
        “a sense of entitlement”
        Roger I presume those comments are tongue in cheek.
        Two thirds of FIFA members have never made the World Cup & many more nations with far deeper football pedigree’s than Australia in Europe & South America only make occassional appearances.
        I would rephrase your comments to reflect reality as “the euphoria of making a World Cup” & “the privelige of being there”.
        As for making the quarter finals.
        When Australia has more players who can cross the ball accurately like Bresciano, pass the ball accurately unlike Wilkshire therefore reducing the turnover rate,are not one dimensional like Tommy Oar & have better technique than most of our Asian opponents then I’ll agree with your sentiments.
        Until then be happy with being there at all.

        • June 20th 2013 @ 9:34am
          Punter said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Towser, only 15 countries including Australia has made it 3 world cups in a row. Noticed how Japan celebrated when they drew with us to qualify for the WC. Notice in the next few months the excitement of countries as they qualify for the ‘BIG SHOW’. Countries with a far bigger football pedigree.
          Only countries like Germany, Brazil are World cup qualifiers a given, we are no-where near that level, Australian sports fans have to understand, this is the world sport.
          We need to celebrate qualification this is where this country is & should be proud of it.

        • June 20th 2013 @ 9:50am
          Roger said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

          😉

          My whole post was tongue in cheek Towser. My real views are consistent with yours.

          I was just trying to make a point about some fans “expectations” vs. the reality and achievement of making the WC again.

      • June 20th 2013 @ 8:42am
        fadida said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:42am | ! Report

        Expecting to make the quarters might leave you disappointed. We’re a big Asian fish in a smallish pond, and progress from our group wasn’t a surprise. The WC is an entirely different challenge

        • Roar Rookie

          June 20th 2013 @ 8:50am
          Passionate_Aussie said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:50am | ! Report

          If Australia’s past two world cups are anything to go by, then we have a decent chance to progress beyond the first stage.
          Australia despite lacking the quality of other football nations have this fighting spirit that gives us that little bit extra.

          • June 20th 2013 @ 10:27am
            Punter said | June 20th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            Exactly, lets look at our world cup record;

            Beat Japan 3-1, one of the best teams in Asia
            Beat Serbia 2-1 good team in Europe
            Should’ve beaten, but drew with Croatia, high quality team in Europe
            Unlucky draw against Ghana, one of the best African teams
            Outclassed by Brazil, one of the best teams in the world, but had chances.
            Smashed by Germany, one of the best teams in the world

        • June 20th 2013 @ 9:07am
          Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          “….and progress from our group wasn’t a surprise”

          An here I am thinking, you were the most surprised of us all under Holger, RF… (lol)

          • June 20th 2013 @ 10:59am
            fadida said | June 20th 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            I’ve always assumed you’re 10 years old Qantas, “Timmy” this “Joshy” that, your inability to actually read and interpret comments

            The expectation was that we’d qualify, not because we are Spain, not because we have a golden generation, not because Thwaite is our best left back (TM Qantas). The group was average; good Japan side, the rest were average. Man for man inferior to us (even with reduced stocks). Therefore logically we should expect to qualify. No “surprise”. Too hard for you to understand?

            That we made such hard work it was an issue for many who have a little more insight than “we made it there, the coach is a genius”, but glossing over why we were 7 minutes for the coach being sacked. Despite urban myth, the players that got us out of the mess were essentially the ones the coach chose that got us into it. He also chose the tactics which led to us losing to Jordan and drawing with Oman, including 2 holding midfielders and no creativity.

            I’m still awaiting evidence you can tactically discuss the game outside of “Holger spotted a gem in Milligan” when in fact he clearly had a preference for the inferior Jedinak (but he plays in the EPL – come on, say it). He also preferred Brosque over Oar. Injuries to those two were factors in the campaign turning around.

            I’d love to hear your thoughts in why we struggled to break down our opponents in the last 3rd. What do you think of the lack of rotation between the front 3 leaving “Timmy” so isolated. Is Thompson more suited to wide left, and Oar to the number 10 role?

            Or is your tag really Qantas Blindly Supports Australian Football?

            Remember Johnny Warren always said we should be aiming to win the WC one day. If you aren’t willingly to critique performances we will never improve

            • June 20th 2013 @ 1:13pm
              Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

              “Qantas Blindly Supports Australian Football” Yes I can live with that tag––sort of puts me in the late Johnny Warren realms of notability… Notice I said “Johnny”. Although I can’t recall using the name Joshy… Timmy yes indeed, as affectionately known to many of us as Timmy––even his greatest admirer Craig Foster in his most recent article (sorry Fozzie’s article).

              “Holger spotted a gem in Milligan” I take it you disagree (lol) over inferior Jedinak? Oh of course you would say that, even tho you had not considered Millsy before Japan… For the record Jedinak is a fine player everyone has an off day (own goal), you might remember Schwarzer (sorry Schwartzie) let the goal in against Oman covering his near post at the tightest of angles and the ball went through his legs––it happens… Oar is only now showing his promise clearly he was wanting in the early years and has only now started filling his promise. If you have been following all my comments you would’ve known I have been calling on Oar to start. I’m now pressing for Thwaitey over McKay.

              Anyways, I gave you the reasons why we had great difficulty in breaking down the Iraqi defence it seems I gave you an answer that was either too difficult for you to comprehend or you must have had one of those vacuum moments… I have repeatedly stated that this squad is not the golden generation you want, or think it is, or should be, you continually are saying we are streets ahead of the West Asian nations… NOT SO!!! Those days are gone. Japan even lost a qualifier as well and struggled to get good results playing away from home.

              You want systems––well we changed from a 442 to what I think is basically a 433 (variation) some would put it as 4231, however, I reckon for simplicity it’s a 433..

              Now read the praises of Fozzie’s article for Holger and his men… In a nutshell

              http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/craig-foster/blog/1156669/Socceroos-have-well-and-truly-come-of-age

            • June 20th 2013 @ 2:12pm
              Roger said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

              Fadida – his tag is actually “Qantas hates Melboure Victory” 😉

              • June 20th 2013 @ 2:16pm
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Roger—-let me go on the record now saying I hate the ROAR even more than the Victory… 😀

              • June 20th 2013 @ 2:32pm
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                Wow, schools out, mommy has just drove up to the canteen—time to skull my glass of milk, and munch my bickie—see ya guys, I’m off home now to do my homework… 🙂

              • June 20th 2013 @ 2:45pm
                Roar Fan said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                Qantas, why do you ‘hate’ the Roar. What have we ever done to you? I love the Roar and I am proud of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • June 20th 2013 @ 5:16pm
                Ian said | June 20th 2013 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

                I’m with Roar Fan….”two thumbs up” “fistpump”

              • June 20th 2013 @ 5:54pm
                Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 20th 2013 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

                Good grief, Roar Fan, were not here during the Gold Coast saga?

        • June 20th 2013 @ 9:51am
          Roger said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          I know fadida, see post above 😉

          • June 20th 2013 @ 11:01am
            fadida said | June 20th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

            I thought it might have been 🙂

    • June 20th 2013 @ 8:02am
      Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      Excellent article Joe. Now is the right time to fast track the talents of our young players. Consistency from the the youngsters is paramount—Oar, Kruse, Rogic and Holland have to step up their efforts to get the traction we need to be a consistent team on the field.. Too often after good performances by the youngsters they wallow back into mediocrity.. They are good players, but not consistently good. We have a year to change that—so I’m hoping it will happen now, and fast, so we can hit the ground running when we get to Brazil. Holger’s leadership has been on the right track all along. Will we make the quarter finals, hoping we will.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 20th 2013 @ 8:44am
        Passionate_Aussie said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        I hope you’re right QsAF. If we can make quarters that’d be absolutely amazing and massive for football in Australia. Who knows… The self-belief could carry us even further?? I hope if Holger stays on that he has something wonderful planned. Looking forward to East Asia Cup. Great Opportunity to blood against good opposition.

        • June 20th 2013 @ 8:56am
          Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          Yes good planing is what is required by Holger. However, what is more important that the youngsters step up the pace in their respective European clubs (and HAL) to make this world cup in Brazil a memorable one. Good club team performance is vital for a good WC campaign.. Holger can’t afford to have our players sitting on the bench at their clubs as subs.

    • June 20th 2013 @ 9:03am
      holly said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      “Bringing off talismanic Timmy Cahill …. for Australia’s forgotten saviour Josh Kennedy was Guus Hiddink-esque.”

      Was it ?
      Guus would more likely have left Cahill on and dragged a defender

      • June 20th 2013 @ 9:19am
        Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        Holly—fair point, however, Guus was a goal down and had nothing to lose by taking off a defender for Timmy. A slightly different scenario. Holger decided he needed fresh legs and more height whilst protecting a clean sheet.

        • June 20th 2013 @ 12:41pm
          holly said | June 20th 2013 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

          although in terms of the situation in the Group a loss was the same as a draw in that either would have left us exposed to an Oman win, so at that point late in the game it had to be all out for the win

          • June 20th 2013 @ 2:12pm
            Qantas supports Australian Football said | June 20th 2013 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

            Yes of course that’s true…

      • June 20th 2013 @ 11:53am
        fadida said | June 20th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        I agree Holly. Hiddink would have gone 3 at the back and pushed us higher up the pitch, giving more support to our isolated striker.

        But I also suspect that it may not have come down to a last minute scramble for qualification 😉

      • Roar Guru

        June 20th 2013 @ 12:00pm
        Fussball ist unser leben said | June 20th 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        Lots of myths about Hiddink’s tenure .. or, maybe, we gloss over the parts we don’t like.

        Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the ride with Hiddink, but he wasn’t perfect. Probably cost us a place in the QFs or SFs of WC2006 by not making more subs against 10 man ITA on a stinking hot day in Kaiserslautern.

        In September 2005, AUS played a WC Qualifier with the following Starting XI … the majority were playing in Europe:

        Zeljko Kalac, Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Mark Viduka Tim Cahill Scott Chipperfield Vince Grella, Archie Thompson, Jon McKain, Jason Culina, Mark Bresciano

        We won 2-1 after it was tied at 1-1 at 50′.

        The coach was Guus Hiddink.

        The opponent was Solomon Islands.

        Imagine the abuse & attacks Holger – and the current AUS NT squad – would have received if they had beaten Solomon Islands 2-1.

        • June 20th 2013 @ 5:57pm
          fadida said | June 20th 2013 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

          Agree totally on the Italy game Fuss. Solomon islands was Hiddink’s first game though wasn’t it? No coach can transmit a style of play in 1 game

          • June 20th 2013 @ 6:13pm
            Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 20th 2013 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

            I was in Honiara for that game 🙂 The Solomon Islanders played a cracker.

    • June 20th 2013 @ 9:05am
      holly said | June 20th 2013 @ 9:05am | ! Report

      The draw will be crucial – a favourable draw and I think we are capable of repeating our 2 previous efforts – ie a win a draw and a loss for 4 pts – which as we all know may or may not be enough to get out of the group.

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