Are the Socceroos being weakened by Asian qualification?

Alan Nicolea Roar Guru

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    Socceroos coach Holger Osieck issues instructions in the World Cup Qualifer match against Iraq. (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

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    There is one simple reason why the Socceroos lost 6-0 to Brazil in this morning’s international friendly.

    The result had nothing to do with the coach, players or tactics in my opinion. Defeats like this will always be a formality so long as the Socceroos continue to qualify for the World Cup through Asia.

    In the Rugby Championship, Argentina is currently competing against Rugby superpowers the Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies.

    Despite not winning a game thus far, I know that the Pumas are slowly but surely developing the mentality and skill necessary to perhaps one day register a victory against such tough opposition.

    When Argentina plays in the Rugby Championship, it is the equivalent of a novice mountain climber trying to climb Mt Everest each and every year.

    While the obstacles in front of the Pumas are intimidating to say the least, Argentina will continue to fight to meet the high standards required to perhaps register victory against the best teams on the planet.

    And when victory is finally secured against either South Africa, New Zealand or Australia, the confidence and belief that Argentina will get from such a result will be limitless.

    Which brings me to my point about the Socceroos.

    When Australia qualified for the 2006 World Cup, they truly earned their place at football’s showpiece event given that they conquered two-time World Cup winners Uruguay over two extremely difficult legs.

    Australia’s victory over Uruguay showed that the Socceroos had the mentality and skill necessary to make a name for themselves in Germany.

    And so they did, beating Japan 3-1 before drawing with Croatia and (you guessed it) going toe-to-toe against Brazil before losing 2-0.

    Then came the infamous 1-0 defeat against eventual winners Italy. It took a Francesco Totti penalty right on full time to end the hopes of a very stubborn and well-coached Socceroos outfit.

    The reason why Australia was such a thorn against any side back then is because of the tremendously difficult route they had to take to quality for a World Cup.

    Playing against tough South American opposition to qualify for a World Cup allowed the Socceroos to measure themselves against quality players and quality coaches.

    If the Socceroos could pass this difficult agoge, then they knew that they had what it took to challenge any team come World Cup time, as was the case back in 2006.

    Since switching to Asia however, the Socceroos are now expected to qualify for football’s showpiece event pretty easily and yet now the team barely secured their passage to Brazil in a group containing Iraq, Japan, Jordan and Oman.

    In short, the Socceroos have developed a soft underbelly in comparison to the side that really had to work for qualification back in 2005.

    While qualifying through South America will leave many Socceroos fans with hearts in their mouths, I believe qualifying through this route will once again push Australia to its limits, and if they get through, they will develop the belief and skill necessary to challenge any team on the planet.

    If the Socceroos continue to qualify through Asia however, results like the 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Brazil may continue to eventuate at the highest level.

    Alan Nicolea
    Alan Nicolea

    Alan is one of The Roar's longest serving live bloggers, covering football, tennis and rugby league.

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    The Crowd Says (90)

    • September 8th 2013 @ 9:22am
      The Fans said | September 8th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Australia is crap now and it got lucky when it mattered to barely qualify. If Australia was slightly worse they would be playing off for the opportunity to play the 5th CONMEBOL team.

      • September 8th 2013 @ 6:10pm
        Radelaide said | September 8th 2013 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

        I believe Australia is still a strong team in the Asian region, to put it in perspective we were beaten by a team that beat the mighty Spanish team 3-0 not so long ago.

    • September 8th 2013 @ 9:29am
      eric1 said | September 8th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      “he result had nothing to do with the coach, players or tactics in my opinion. ”
      I stopped reading after this.

      • September 8th 2013 @ 10:09am
        Adam said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report


        • September 8th 2013 @ 6:49pm
          vinnie said | September 8th 2013 @ 6:49pm | ! Report


          your joking? the players are nothing compared to teams all the way back to 1998 socceroos

      • September 8th 2013 @ 10:15am
        Straight Drive said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        I did Eric and it didn’t get any better! Osiek is still there cos we qualified to WC. Had we not, he wud hv been gone a long time ago.
        Unfortunately, we will have to endure this during WC. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we win a game. Draw – yes but win looks very unlikely.

      • September 8th 2013 @ 10:28am
        fadida said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        coach is clearly not nearly good enough. Conservative, reactive, can’t pick a team, out of touch with modern football, how many more times do we need to say it?

        Nice guy though….

    • September 8th 2013 @ 10:10am
      Adam said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Australia was never strengthened by beating Oceania teams by near cricket scores. It was a golden generation of players, compare the number of Australian footballers regularly playing for top level teams now to the team then

      • September 8th 2013 @ 10:39am
        marcel said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        How long are we going to perpetuate the Golden Generation myth….exactly the same group of players were hopeless before Hiddink came along . And have never come close to matching the WC06 standards since the day he left.

        • September 8th 2013 @ 10:47am
          Adam said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          So Moore, Neill, Kewell, Cahill, Viduka, Chipperfield and co were all hopeless at this stage of their careers?

          • September 8th 2013 @ 11:05am
            marcel said | September 8th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Don’t you remember how they performed as a team under Farina.

            • September 8th 2013 @ 11:13am
              Adam said | September 8th 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              I can’t argue that, any team under Farina is going to struggle

          • September 8th 2013 @ 12:15pm
            Roberto said | September 8th 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            Only Italy stands a chance against Brazil according to recent performances – they have been the only team to score against them recently. They were beaten 4-2 by Brazil but you havnet seen the best of them yet. They lost 4-0 to Spain last year but have obviously improved tremendously since then . Their strike power scoring so many goals. Serves Australia for using the back pass to the goal keeper so unnecessarily and for using English tactics for so long – look to continental football for improvement. They were outclassed buy Manchester United lately.

    • September 8th 2013 @ 10:17am
      Micky Strong said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      This is laughable. Argentina came third in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. And going to penalties after two games against Uruguay didn’t prove that Australia could mix it with the best of them. It proved they could just about hold their own with the fifth best side in South America. When they got to WM2006 they beat an Asian side on the back of a remarkable fifteen minute passage of football, lost and drew with the two European sides they faced and lost to Brazil. Their performance in South Africa, despite being hammered by Germany, were overall more convincing – after they qualified through Asia.

      • September 8th 2013 @ 10:53am
        Robbie said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:53am | ! Report

        You think we performed better in the 2010 world cup? You are an absolute joke and you should be ashamed to be Australian.

        • September 8th 2013 @ 1:35pm
          Micky Strong said | September 8th 2013 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          I’m not Australian.

    • September 8th 2013 @ 10:24am
      pbedo said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      This is as depressing as the federal elections result

    • September 8th 2013 @ 10:27am
      Barry in Brisbane said | September 8th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      What a whiny article. Some years back, Australia succeeded in ratcheting up the whining to get out of the Oceania qualifying process on the basis that it made them too soft – and they jumped into Asia. Now the Asian pool is the thing that’s making Australia too soft ? Unbelievable logic – I’d have thought that actually playing well in any pool was the criteria for success.

      A continuation of what is becoming the Australian way – blaming circumstances ‘outside their control’ (see Link on losing to South Africa – the game plan is too complicated ? lol)….

      • September 8th 2013 @ 4:48pm
        Micky Strong said | September 8th 2013 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

        Those circumstances are, in any sport, (a) dud umpires/officials, (b) nefarious, cheating foreigners who don’t play ‘in the spirit of the game, and (c) nefarious, cheating foreigners who’ve chucked cash at (insert name of sport here). Australians are without doubt the best in the world at simply being unable to admit they might have been beaten by a better team.

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