Socceroos beat Saudi Arabia in spite of systemic issues

Evan Morgan Grahame Columnist

By Evan Morgan Grahame, Evan Morgan Grahame is a Roar Expert

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193 Have your say

    Ange Postecoglou persisted with his back-three Socceroos formation, an experiment shakily launched against Iraq, and one that reappeared against the UAE.

    Its third appearance, against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide, however, was not hugely successful, showcasing the fragility that worried so many when it debuted.

    Against Iraq, wing-backs Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse were a source of much consternation, betraying the fact that neither are defenders, and as such lack the essential instincts of the craft.

    Brad Smith did better in place of Kruse against the UAE, and Leckie overcame his shortcomings largely through sheer athletic supremacy alone. A heightened sense of urgency that spread through the entire team that night against the UAE was enough to adequately disguise the systemic issues that lingered.

    That same sense of urgency was not – in spite of what was at stake in this match – present in the first half against the Saudis, a half of football where Australia were gifted an opening goal, allowed to seize a unchallenged second, and yet still went into the break level.

    The back three, when in possession, were constantly looking to pass out to the wing-backs, and with good reason; Australia were totally outnumbered in midfield. Aaron Mooy and Mile Jedinak – the latter an unwise passing option when he is under pressure – were swarmed by energetic Saudi players.

    Jackson Irvine and Tom Rogic were often seen drifting out wide to avoid the five Saudi players packing the middle, offering little in the way of central support as a result.

    To focus on the flanks was not necessarily a bad approach; Leckie and Smith are fine byline attackers, each with a ferocious turn of pace and a willingness to challenge backtracking defenders. But too often the passes out to them were over-hit, or wayward.

    Other moments saw the wing-backs overcommit at the wrong time, out of tune with their teammates. Basically, it meant that Leckie and Smith, who were supposed to be quasi-defenders, were left horribly out of position.

    The result, when the Saudis counter-attacked, was that the wing-backs were often out of place, with the back three reluctant to send a centre back up to challenge an onrushing Saudi attacker.

    Wing-backs can tuck in, forming a back four, when a centre back roams forward to stifle an attack, that’s the theory. Without that support, however, the centre backs clumped and backed off, and the Saudis’ first goal showed how easily a team can scythe through a confused and fretful horde of defenders.

    It was a simple give-and-go manoeuvre which sliced right through the middle of the Roos with ease. Ryan McGowan – after taking 56 hours to get from China to Adelaide – was thrust into the starting XI late, replacing Bailey Wright, and his unfamiliarity with the formation was obvious. He described it as “different” after the match.

    In other moments, Smith was seen retreating far too deeply, marking empty space, creating a flat back-line and allowing unbridled advance up his wing in a non-counter-attacking situation. Leckie garnished the confusion by offering up the ball to the opposition with some truly awful passes and touches.

    Matthew Leckie

    (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

    It’s almost as if – and wonders will never cease – Leckie isn’t actually a defender, making the talk that his new club signing him with the intention of playing him at wing-back even more strange. Leckie did set up Australia’s second goal, though, with a wonderful direct run and chipped cross. He looked much more at home up that end.

    Smith was replaced by Aziz Behich at the break, and the second half saw a much more energised performance, with Behich typifying the newfound verve. Rogic and Mooy sought out the ball with more vigour, and the Saudis rocked back a little, presented with the physical, dynamic opponents they perhaps expected to turn up a littler earlier.

    The passing was crisper, the runs fizzed by a little faster; this was the version of the team we saw against the UAE.

    Rogic applied a brutal caress on the ball with his left foot, a wondrous shot, with the ball flying through the air into the top corner with startling clarity, like an arrow expertly loosed from some finely crafted great bow. It was a superb way to capitalise on his team’s forward-swinging momentum.

    The Roos were then content to allow the Saudis to play around with the ball on the edges of their own half, only to swarm with intent once progress was made into their own.

    Kruse replaced Irvine, and offered a more comfortable on-the-ball presence; Irvine’s place ahead of Mooy in the formation is puzzling, as his goal-threat is best utilised when joining the attack late from a deeper position and shooting from the edge of the box. Many of his goals for Burton this season came this way.

    The second half surge was enough to carry the Roos home, and they now sit equal on points with Saudi Arabia and Japan, with the latter to come next in Tokyo.

    The three goals from the two Toms were hugely welcome, breaking a considerable drought as far as goals from open play go. After the game, Postecoglou said that playing a certain brand of football was, in some ways, more important than World Cup qualification, doubling down somewhat on his tactical approach.

    As idealistic as this statement is, had Saudia Arabia not been so generous in their defending, then this match would have exposed not just his team’s failure to qualify automatically, but also their failure to execute – perhaps even to understand – the system he has put in place.

    The Roos were forced to overcome the damage they suffered in the first half, and did so not through the tactical mechanisms finally clicking, but by forcing their way over the line, largely through energy – and Rogic’s individual brilliance – alone.

    The wing-back problem has not been solved, and though the Saudis couldn’t fully punish it, it’s likely Japan won’t be so forgiving at the end of August.

    Evan Morgan Grahame
    Evan Morgan Grahame

    Evan Morgan Grahame is a Melbourne-based journalist. Gleaning what he could from his brief career as a painter, the canvas of the football pitch is now his subject of contemplation, with the beautiful game sketching new, intriguing compositions every week. He has been one of The Roar's Expert columnists since 2016. Follow him on Twitter @Evan_M_G.

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    The Crowd Says (193)

    • June 9th 2017 @ 7:49am
      Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      Australia won 3-2.

      Australia has not yet lost a match in this Stage of Qualification.
      Saudi Arabia has now lost 2.

      I’d say the Saudis have more systemic issues than Australia.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 7:59am
        jeff dustby said | June 9th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        of course Fuss, everything is fine and always will be. There is nothing wrong at all

        take a minutes silence to reflect on that

        • June 9th 2017 @ 10:10am
          Ian said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          You don’t give a rat’s a$$ about football.

          Nice of you, as a typical AFL fan, to insult the memories of those lost in the attack to degrade the actual minute’s silence in a dumb faceless blog comment.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 12:18pm
            jeff dustby said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            who did i insult?

          • June 9th 2017 @ 12:33pm
            Sammy the Tank said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

            No one’e memories were insulted. Stop with the hyperbole and over the top emotional insult yourself mate…

        • June 9th 2017 @ 4:21pm
          Alex said | June 9th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

          I wouldn’t honour him by responding to his comments.

          The man has no ability to comprehend that the failed tactics employed by the coach during the game almost cost the team dearly.

          He seems to be motivated by some perverse misplaced loyalty to Postecoglou, because he was once the MV coach

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:00am
        Waz said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        Can’t argue with your statement.

        I guess it depends on whether our benchmark is The Saudi’s or not who, despite all their problems, remain one position above us on the ladder?

        The back 3 experiment continues to be problematic, and some players are surely not meeting Anges expectations so there are some big questions for him to address.

        I’m looking forward to seeing how we go against Brasil and Germany, hopefully this win settles a few nerves in camp.

        • June 10th 2017 @ 8:56am
          j binnie said | June 10th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          Waz – you are very close to the truth here and last night’s game between 2 of the world’s top football teams showed where we are falling down in improving our game.
          Ball movement in all its various guises showed 20 professionals extremely confident in their ability to
          (1) kill a ball no matter the ball’s speed,
          (2) the ability to pass a ball ,even under pressure, and find a team-mate,
          (3) almost constant movement off the ball when in possession,
          (4) almost constant high pressure on the ball player and his team-mates when trying to win possession.
          These 4 “talents” are almost impossible to teach players in the 23-30 age brackets and it is in this area Australia is showing the lack of real education into players at a much earlier age bracket.
          We can talk about systems and coaches all we want but the real fact is that our present crop of players do not possess the necessary talents to play modern systems well ,and when “changes ” are made, this “weakness” is only highlighted.
          Can we improve? Of course we could but it is then we find our players operate under a different set of circumstances when it is remembered how often our “worldwide squad” get a chance to play together as a team.
          It is going to be interesting if we see improvement over the next few weeks when the team will be together for a considerable amount of, not only time ,but more importantly, in games. Cheers jb

          • June 10th 2017 @ 9:27am
            Nemesis said | June 10th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

            Spot on, jb.

            I watched the match last night. A respected foreign analyst on social media said Argentina was playing 3-2-5 formation last night. I didn’t see this, but I didn’t care.

            I’ve listened to the most successful coaches in their post-match and they’ve said formation/structure is important but only the media seem to be obsessed with pigeon-holing teams into a certain formation. The actual coaches tell us they play multiple formations during the 90′ depending on where the ball, what the score is & how much time is remaining.

            It seems the modern era of PlayStation Coaching has made some fans think football is played like a video game – with one formation for every second of the 90 minutes. It is not.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 10th 2017 @ 10:24am
            Stevo said | June 10th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

            jb, if you’re not showing high level ability in points (1) and (2) by mid to late teens you probably never will. It’s the early development during ‘play’ and ‘games’ you have as a kid that is all important. Kruse, Leckie & Co are past acquiring the necessary skills. They are what they are and that’s it. I look forward to the next crop of teens and pre-teens coming through.

            • June 10th 2017 @ 10:51am
              Nemesis said | June 10th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

              But, your premise is wrong.

              Kruse, Leckie & Co do have the technical skills to get them professional contracts in the best domestic league in the world and at clubs who could choose tens of thousands other players before them.

              But, at International Level they don’t consistently produce the technical proficiency.

              This is what separates the World’s Best and The Rest. World’s Best produce the technicals under pressure all the time; The Rest don’t do it consistently. If they produced consistently, they’d be World’s Best.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 10th 2017 @ 10:17pm
                Stevo said | June 10th 2017 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

                Plenty of players get contracts. What I’m commenting on is the specific skills of some of our players who to my observation are lacking in some areas.

              • June 10th 2017 @ 10:41pm
                Nemesis said | June 10th 2017 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

                The thing is …

                a lot of people DO NOT get contracts with Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin. There are literally tens of thosands of German kids wanting a spot. Add the tens of thousands from rest of Europe, Africa, Sth America, etc. and you realise how big an achievement for Kruse & Leckie to have done what they’ve done.

                I think many Aussies don’t appreciate how difficult it is to get a pro contract in the Top 4 Leagues.

          • June 11th 2017 @ 11:43am
            Caltex, TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 11th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

            JB – The marking of your opposite No. is important as well. In the Roo vs SA match I didn’t see much of that going on from our Aussie boys. I felt our boys in the first half were marking space and not players. I don’t mean standing along side your opposite number; I mean I didn’t see our players closing down or anticipating an interception that was on—we were stagnate and flat footed in between opposing players marking space.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:09am
        Shadow Manager said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        The first half was woeful and to try and turn Leckie into a box to box player is a mistake. Australia’s best ‘full court’ players are Rhyan Grant (discarded) and Tarek Elrich (injured) – the implication is that Ange doesn’t understand what type of players are required in his own system! Maybe a double figure hammering by Brazil will wake him up. Leckie is a front half player only and Smith stops the play to allow himself to get back – poor team ethics.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 8:16am
          Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          @Shadow Manager

          Maybe, you should have a chat to Ange & give him a few pointers since he’s clearly out of his depth, clueless about players & can’t convey the message?

          If you have any video footage of your coaching successes, can you please provide the links so I can fully appreciate how a team functions under a successful manager like yourself.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 8:21am
            Eden said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

            Lol. Heaven forbid he state husband opinion on an opinion board.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:11am
            Mark said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            Yawn. This rubbish again.

          • June 10th 2017 @ 9:19am
            j binnie said | June 10th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

            Nemesis – This attempt at sarcasm is beneath your intelligence. Shadow manager ,like others ,is entitled to his opinion and in fact there are observations he made that I totally agree with, and ,if the opportunity arose I would quite happily discuss these opinions with AP or any other national coach you care to mention. In the past I have done so and always found such discussions very fruitful.
            You see ,coaches do not win games,players do,and so any knowledgeable pundit with an interest in the game tends to form an opinion on what he sees on the field and passes comment on that fact.
            It matters not one whit what one thinks of AP as a coach,he is the man in charge and must therefore accept the brickbats with the plaudits.
            When he entered the job he laid down criteria and these were widely accepted as the “new broom”, but now with the passing of time, reality has set in, and he is being forced to retract those original requirements necessary to play with “his” Socceroos.
            To those with experience this is part and parcel of the job and in a sense should be ignored,but then again, not everyone has that experience. Cheers jb.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 8:31am
          Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

          Agree Shadow Manager. Not so sure about Rhyan Grant. Whilst he is a box to box player with a great engine I think he lacks the technique to be really suitable for international duty. Still, would not have hurt to try him out in some of the upcoming friendly and confeds cup. At least he’s a specialist in that role.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:12am
        Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        Ah Fuss, still lack the ability to analyse a game I see.

        A dozen warning lights flashing and still you don’t see them. You were exactly the same with Osieck I recall, before you finally saw the error of your ways. I’m not suggesting Ange be sacked but that first half was appalling. Why? The system, plus some individual selections

        • June 9th 2017 @ 8:19am
          Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report


          “Why? The system, plus some individual selections”

          It is what it is.

          The only person who can answer your questions is Ange Postecoglou.

          What’s the point of asking that question to this forum; or discussing it for the next 12 months?

          Unless, we resort to a fan-based coaching system it’s laughable to read the same people offer their same coaching advice to a forum that’s filled with people who have ZERO ability to act upon the advice.

          Utter waste of time. You’ll have more success urinating into a tornado.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 8:28am
            punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

            It’s an opinion site Nemesis, you have given yours many times, why is it an issue that others also do.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 8:34am
              Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

              What’s the point of going on about the Coach or the System?

              We complained about Verbeek.
              We complained about Osieck.
              We now complain about Ange.

              12 months ago Sydney FC fans complained about Arnold.
              Brisbane fans complain about Aloisi.
              City fans complain about whichever coach they choose.

              An utter utter waste of time.

              No matter who is coaching Australia, fans are going to complain.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 8:49am
                punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

                See your first post, why offer your opinion of Saudis systematic issues, you not the coach, you can’t change it, it’s a waste of time to make this comment.
                But you did, it’s a opinion site, not a think tank for coaches around the world to visit to get the latest ideas on how to coach.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 8:56am
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

                “why offer your opinion of Saudis systematic [sic] issues”

                I didn’t offer any opinion about Saudi’s systemic issues.

                I made a facetious comment about the inanity of the headline.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 8:29am
            Hubris said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

            This is true for every comment on every story on The Roar; why bother posting at all?

          • June 9th 2017 @ 8:34am
            Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

            Nemesis what a strange post! I don’t think anyone on here is deluded to think that Ange etc is reading this and thinking “why didnt I think of that”!
            It’s an open forum to discuss ideas etc. And some of us are coaches too! : )

        • June 9th 2017 @ 8:26am
          punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

          How is McGowan in this side.
          I agree the system especially in the backs is worrying, but in the end while we were poor, we won 3-2, should have got the penalty, big, big chances Juric & Behich in 2nd halfs, we could’ve won 5-2.
          However, if we play like that 1st half against Brazil, we will be 6 nil down at half time.
          the signs are screaming, while some looked good, Juric, Mooy, others were dreadful, McGowan, Smith & Milos.
          Leckies was poor & good at the same time.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 8:36am
            Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

            I was actually a little disappointed with Mat Ryan. I think he could have done more on the second goal. And if you look at his effort on their offside goal, you have to say thank heavens it was offside.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 8:45am
              punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

              Yes I thought the same on their 2nd goal. As for offside goal, I was too relieved to analysis it.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 4:28pm
            Alex said | June 9th 2017 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

            “others were dreadful, McGowan, Smith & Milos.”

            You forgot Irvine………………………..if he wasn’t the most dreadful on the park, then he was seriously challenging for the position of worst on field

            • June 9th 2017 @ 8:17pm
              punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

              Yes, Irvine was poor, did nothing!!!

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:23am
        AR said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        The headline is:
        “Socceroos beat Saudi Arabia in spite of systemic issues.”

        I thought Evan’s very fair analysis was excellent.

        Fuss’ assessment seems to be “na na na we won we’re perfect!”

        Which is perfectly OK too.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:55am
          Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          “Fuss’ assessment seems to be “na na na we won we’re perfect!””


          The FACT – not my OPINION – is

          We won.

          End of story.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:10am
            Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

            But it’s not the end of the story Holger, I mean Fuss. It’s just the end of your ability to analyse, the limit to your tactical insight. And that’s a fact (TM Rafa Benitez)

            • June 9th 2017 @ 11:15am
              Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report


              I’ve zero tactical insights. Only you, Fadida are a Tactical Genius.

              Keep posting, your tactical insights I’m enjoying the laugh.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:21am
                Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

                Sorry Fuss, I understand “tactics” are over your head, hence you getting angry. Classic defence mechanism.

                BTW, I have never seen you actually make a tactical observation so feel free to leave this topic to those of us with a greater depth of understanding.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:32am
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                Absolutely correct, Fadida.

                You are the Tactical Genius. I’m hanging off every word you write. Please tell me more.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:35am
                mattq said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                In defence of Fuss he has made tactical comments about Victory plenty of times in the past.

                I don’t agree with his position today though. The beauty of football is that is presents supporters with myriads of formations and tactics to discuss. Fans the world over do this. Supporters have every right to be critical. No one is deluded enough to think the amount of tactical discussion will have any impact on the approach to the next game. We are completely in the dark until the next game, which will again present an opportunity to discuss tactics once again. The Beautiful Game.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:49am
                Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                Agree, we don’t expect Ange to read it, but then if we don’t have the right to discuss systems then why have football forums?

              • June 9th 2017 @ 12:04pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                The reason I have no regard for the nonsense being written about the alleged tactical defects in the new system is that it lack the basic common sense.

                As far as I’m concerned the only problem with the National Team right now is that we turn the ball over too often.

                Turning the ball over is not a system issue.
                It’s a technical issue & possibly a mental issue.
                In extreme heat, or at the end of an away game it could be a physical issue. But, that’s not relevant last night.

                When Matt Leckie decides to back heel the ball to the opposition, or give an under hit /over hit backpass to the keeper.
                Will this improve with with a new formation?

                When Mile Jedinak gives the ball away with every pass.
                Will this improve with with a new formation?

                When Degenek, McGowan lack awareness of players coming on their blind side.
                Will this improve with with a new formation?

                When Mooy, Rogic were missing their passes in the 1st half.
                Will this improve with with a new formation?

                Forget the tactics.
                Let’s work on the technicals.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 12:08pm
                Sydneysider said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

                “When Mile Jedinak gives the ball away with every pass.
                Will this improve with with a new formation?”

                True, but nothing will improve Jedinak’s technical ability.

                I’m done with him. He either moves back to central defence or Ange tells him to sit on the bench.

                He isn’t good enough for that midfield position that Ange wants him to play in the style that Ange likes to play.

                Milligan or Luongo should be in that position.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 12:16pm
                Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                Lacks common sense????

                I’ve already outlined elsewhere how the system leads us to be outnumbered in midfield and forces us to play in wide corridors.

                Yes, there are technical deficiencies but the system exacerbates them.

              • Roar Guru

                June 9th 2017 @ 12:30pm
                Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                In national football flexibility in tactics matters more than in club football. In club football you can simply bring in players that fit a tactical approach, however the limited pool of players for national squads means tactics need to account for the players you have.

                I am a tactical neophyte, so bear with me however:

                When Matt Leckie decides to back heel the ball to the opposition, or give an under hit /over hit backpass to the keeper. Will this improve with with a new formation? – with a 433 there would be less need for Leckie to undertake defensive duties deeper on the park, than there is with a 343 where he is required to push back to cover for the back 3 in a ‘box to box effort. Hence the risk of a fluffed back-pass are reduced

                When Mile Jedinak gives the ball away with every pass. Will this improve with with a new formation?
                A formation that provides an extra player wide of Mile will give him a safe option. A congested midfield requires accurate passing that Mile struggles with and hence the risk of turnovers increases.

                When Degenek, McGowan lack awareness of players coming on their blind side.
                Will this improve with with a new formation?
                Having full-backs does allow for a player to watch the opposition who are drifting in from the blind-side. They can then alert the CB’s or cover the drifting player themselves.

                When Mooy, Rogic were missing their passes in the 1st half. Will this improve with with a new formation?
                Probably not. You are more or less in trouble at this point.

                Each tactical approach has its strengths and weaknesses. It is a matter of how well the cattle on hand can execute the tactics on offer, and there are only so many cattle.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 12:40pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                @Ben of Phnom Penh

                Is it your view that the same players were not making those technical errors when we played 4 at the back?

                Ok then.

                Maybe, you get a different video footage of games when you watch overseas.

                The video footage I’ve been watching has been showing passing errors are the only consistency this Stage of WCQ 2018.

              • Roar Guru

                June 9th 2017 @ 12:58pm
                Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. You believe tactics have no bearing on an outcome and I differ.

                No problem with that. Discussion sites are about exploring different opinions after all 🙂

              • June 9th 2017 @ 1:44pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

                ” You believe tactics have no bearing on an outcome and I differ.”

                Nope. Never said that.

                What I said was “turning the ball over is letting us down and that’s got nothing to do with formations”.

              • Roar Guru

                June 9th 2017 @ 7:21pm
                Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 9th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

                Your argument is that different tactical formations cannot compensate for different technical strengths and weaknesses a squad may possess. Ergo, differing tactical formations cannot improve a squad’s capability. Hence you claim discussions of tactical changes to strengthen a squad are nonsensical. If tactical changes cannot strengthen a squad’s ability to then tactics don’t matter.

                I would argue history tells a rather different story however am happy to accept that you have a different opinion. It is a site to discuss opinions after all.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 7:49pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

                Maybe I’m not explaining myself.

                There are four player aspects important to football success: technical ability, tactical formations, physical attributes, mental preparation.

                Ensuring the peak of all 4 will ensure the player performs to the optimum level.

                However, you can’t just work on one attribute & think this is the answer.

                So, you can have the technically best footballers, the perfect tactical formation & peak physical condition. But, if they aren’t mentally switched on they can lose a game. This is what can happen when a high fancy team is beaten by a weaker team.

                Australia’s players are turning the ball over too much. IF Ange played 4-3-3 formation last night the players would’ve turned the ball over with a 4-3-3 formation. The technical deficiency will not be cured by players standing in a new formation.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 12:20pm
            jeff dustby said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            how do you see with your blinkers on?

            • June 9th 2017 @ 1:43pm
              Realfootball said | June 9th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

              Actually, it’s a blindfold, and no he doesn’t.

              Fuss is here to antagonise, no other reason. He’s a man with a lot of time on his hands and not much to do with it.

              He thrives on insulting people on the forums. What he is like in person is anyone’s guess, but he does remind me of a road rage driver, secure in the safety of his cabin.

              He has periods where he is more civilised, but lately he seems to be having anger management issues.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 7:19pm
        toms said | June 9th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

        Manchester United lost very few matches in the EPL this season… Football is not a sport about avoiding a loss. Your comment would have made more sense 30 years ago when a win was 2 points and a draw 1.

    • June 9th 2017 @ 8:07am
      Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      The Saudis moved the ball as well as any team of much higher ranking. Once they tired and the movement off the ball slowed down we looked much more comfortable in defence.
      There are real worrying signs though and our defensive structure needs work.
      There is a definite imbalance with our wingbacks as one of them (Leckie) is attack minded, while the other, Smith, is more naturally inclined to defend.
      Granted, the pitch looked slippery and hard making it hard for defenders to turn. At least in Japan we will get a decent pitch suitable for a WC qualifier.
      And what was with that scoreboard? How embarrassing.
      Was I suddenly transported back to the 50’s?

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:15am
        pauly said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        They seemed to have been organised in the finest Dutch tradition of possession football and with a little more persistence could have gotten a lot more out of that game, though it’s worth noting both of their goals were effectively counter-attacks.

      • Roar Guru

        June 9th 2017 @ 9:19am
        Rick Disnick said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        “And what was with that scoreboard? How embarrassing.
        Was I suddenly transported back to the 50’s?”

        It’s called heritage. It’s also one of the reasons it’s considered the most picturesque sporting ground in the world.

        Perhaps go to a sporting event there sometime — you’ll learn something.

        • Roar Guru

          June 9th 2017 @ 9:24am
          Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          I agree. The scoreboard is a lovely touch and is used for all sporting events at Adelaide Oval. There’s nothing wrong with exercising a touch of class.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 2:17pm
            Ken Spacey said | June 9th 2017 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            Queenslanders may also wish to note that part of the less obvious heritage is a stand of Moreton Bay fig trees,(well over a century old) a species that along with the Port Jackson fig (NSW origin) do very well here and are much loved. There are mutltiple electronic screens around

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:26am
          punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Yes Chris, have to agree with Rick here.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:53am
          pauly said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          Even more than Central Coast Stadium? With the beautiful Brisbane Waters in the background? And inflatable sauce bottles?

        • June 9th 2017 @ 10:06am
          Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          Well my point was referring to the small print Australia 3 Saudi Arabia 2 and in huge bold signage
          LAST MAN OUT
          I mean…seriously?

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:30am
            Caltex, TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            I am with you Chris, this is the 21st century not the 18th century. Alas, the ol’ colony boys hang on for near death.. I can’t wait to see the new Sydney Olympic stadium’s refurbishment when we get rid of all the AFL influences that dominated the construction of it.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 12:21pm
              jeff dustby said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              caltex – more issues than Fuss

              • June 9th 2017 @ 1:42pm
                Caltex, TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 9th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                Apologies, that shoulod read, colonial boys.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:50am
            Hubris said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            It’s a heritage listed cricket scoreboard at an oval with a long cricket history.

            There are three big screens at the ground that showed the score in nice, easy to read digital numbers.

            For those watching at home, I assume the score was superimposed in a corner of the screen, again in nice, easy to read numbers.

            Only a person with a desperate need to feel embarrassed could possibly have any problem with using the old scoreboard in addition to the big screens.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 11:11am
              Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

              The TV coverage kept showing the cricket scoreboard complete with left over cricket signage. This was a WC qualifier. Playing on a cricket oval with a cricket scoreboard showing SUNDRIES AND LAST MAN OUT for a game beamed into millions of households across Asia and the world does make me cringe, yes.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:31am
                Caltex, TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

                Yes, it looked Micky Mouse for a state-of-the-art stadium and for a world cup football qualifier. The SCG trust had the good sense to move their heritage score board and heritage grand stands to Nth Sydney Oval. Surely that could have been done in Adelaide, which saved the integrity of the heritage buildings. Nth Sydney Oval, is now a wonderful historic show piece, looking back into the past.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:40am
                mattq said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                south Australians can’t think outside the oval, I mean square.

        • June 10th 2017 @ 3:43am
          Lionheart said | June 10th 2017 @ 3:43am | ! Report

          it’s a cricket ground

    • June 9th 2017 @ 8:08am
      Eusebios lost genes said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      The writer nailed it. Quality.

    • June 9th 2017 @ 8:27am
      AGO74 said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Just me or could you see the quality of regular match time between the performances of Behich as opposed to smith. The left side of the pitch was so much more in control in the 2nd half.

      Kudos to tommy juric for one of his best games in the national team and not just because of his two goals.

      Sainsbury is a quality player but geez his lack of game time showed.

      Rogic and mooy passengers in first half but more influential in 2nd.

      The first half was one of the more bizarre and distressing Socceroo games I have see for a little big time. How we went in at half time in equal footing I will not know.

      Lastly was it just me or did it look like – notwithstanding Australia’s much better performance – that the Saudis had zero energy in second half.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:37am
        Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        “did it look like the Saudis had zero energy in second half.”

        Not surprising. I’d say all the Saudi players are Muslim and they’d be observing Ramadan. Which means they’d probably not have eaten anything for at least 12 hours prior to kick-off.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 8:51am
          Cool N Cold said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          Is this a humor, not eating 12 hours before?

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:04am
          Realfootball said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          Good point, completely overlooked until your post.

        • Roar Guru

          June 9th 2017 @ 9:28am
          Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          I can’t confirm for this particular game, however the Arab sides usually receive fasting exemptions for these types of games.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 9:36am
            AGO74 said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

            Yes that is my understanding also.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 9:39am
            Realfootball said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            In the Arctic campaign of 1919 around Archangel, the British Navy’s Muslim Indian workers almost died in the summer during Ramadan because, of course, it’s always daylight. The British Government obtained special dispensation from an imam to allow the men to eat and drink.

            Which suggests that, yes, a special dispensation may have been in place, but this doesn’t mean that the players followed it.

            • Roar Guru

              June 9th 2017 @ 9:56am
              Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

              There was an article from Tarek Elrich who explained how the Saudi players would eat easily digestable foods at 5:10pm and use supplements during the match. He also talks about exemptions, though as you noted it may well come down to individual choice.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 9:57am
            pauly said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            You can get a special dispensation – they’ll just have to fast at another time. It really depends how devoted they are.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 11:14am
          Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          In his post match presser, van Marwijk made repeated reference to the fact his players did not have the energy in the 2nd half & then added “this has not happened in previous matches”.

          Make of that what you will.

          I’ll use available facts & common sense to figure out what he meant.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 12:23pm
            marcel said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            Ramadan does not mandate calorific debt…only the time in which food can be consumed…Many people actually put on weight during the month.

            The players would have experienced a decline in available glycogen during the day which could easily be have been boosted in the 2.5 hours between sunset and kickoff.

            That is assuming they didn’t take advantage of the exemption which is freely available in the event that adherence would unacceptably compromise a person’s livelihood.

            Mezut Ozil has said in the past that he doesn’t follow Ramadan because he is at work.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 12:32pm
              Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

              You’re saying the players would’ve eaten a hearty meal 2 hours before kick-off?

              We’ll need input from sports scientists but I’d be surprised if this is what elite athletes do.

              Even so, eating a meal between sunset (around 5:10 p.m. in Adelaide last night & 6:30 p.m. when they probably arrived at the stadium) would not allow enough time for human metabolism to convert the food into energy.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 12:42pm
                marcel said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                I didn’t say that at my post again…I said they could top up their available glycogen (blood sugar)… are playing straw man games again.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 12:50pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                You made an absurd comment “Many people actually put on weight during the month”.

                So, I’m not really bothered by your input.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 1:02pm
                marcel said | June 9th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                Ha…your arrogance knows no bounds…

                I will translate it into your language:

                “Many people actually put on weight during Ramadan :FACT!”

                It is in fact a widely known fact..and one I observed amongst my work colleagues during the year I lived in Saudi Arabia.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 1:24pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                I never disputed people may or may not put on weight during Ramadan.

                I said it was an absurd comment in the context for this discussion about elite athletes preparing for a WC Qualifier.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 1:53pm
                marcel said | June 9th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                “You made an absurd comment “Many people actually put on weight during the month”.”

                Your exact words are there…just a couple of posts back.

                My point is perfectly reasonable. We are 2 weeks into Ramadan…most people are a bit irritable in the first couple of days..but they very quickly adapt to the new routine.

                The Saudi team were no more disadvantaged then any team playing in a different time zone.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 2:05pm
                Nemesis said | June 9th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                “The Saudi team were no more disadvantaged then any team playing in a different time zone.”

                Wow. I’m sure all the nutritionists & sports scientists would be keen to read you thesis.

                Elite athletes nowadays are monitored for every morsel they consume, but you think it’s not an issue because a couple of your co-workers who probably can’t even walk 1 flight of stairs put on weight during Ramadan.

                I can’t believe some of the stuff I read on this forum.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 2:10pm
                marcel said | June 9th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                Blah, Blah, Blah……StrawMan, StrawMan.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 2:20pm
          Ken Spacey said | June 9th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

          So is Robbie Kruze Muslim? He looks like he hasn’t eaten for two months!

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Agreed, it was very noticeable on who had been playing and who hadn’t.

        Kudos to Ange for his dcesion at half time, hooking smith for Behich, good move.

        Mooy was good in first half, even better second, Rogic, absent first, class second. Juric big performance and has cemented as first choice striker.

        McGowan would struggle to make the Mariners side after last night, Smith not much better. Sainsbury, is class we know that but has suffered with no playing time. Jedi, should not be starting.

        I don’t have an issue with Ange’s system, I trust he knows what he is doing, he has proven himself. Last nights back 3 don’t have the quality though, I would persist with Sainsbury though.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:32am
          Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          Mooy was awful in the first half, a casualty of a system not suiting his style. He is at his best receiving the ball between centre backs and turning.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 9:43am
            Realfootball said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

            I have doubts about Mooy, Fad. His lack of pace seems to be his defining characteristic.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 9:47am
              Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              And yet he starred in the frantic championship. It’s curious. Huddersfield built their side around him

              • June 9th 2017 @ 9:58am
                pauly said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

                Great club form doesn’t always translate to a national team, where players and systems will be different and time in training limited.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 10:14am
              Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              RF I’ve had my concerns about Mooys pace before he left our shores. I didnt think he would make it and yet he proves me wrong by doing so well in the Championship.
              Then last night those thoughts of him being too slow came flooding back. If you watch early in the piece of the first goal I knew we were in trouble when Mooy tried to chase down a Saudi player in central midfield. He was left standing through lack of pace. He really is an enigma.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 10:37am
                Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

                He doesn’t need pace, his role is not a defensive midfielder, his best role is as a deep laying play maker. I rate Mooy highly, and nothing last night made me doubt him. His passing and his vision are several levels higher than ANY other current Australian. Paired as you saw in the second half with Rogic who will be regarded over time as Australia’s best example of close ball control, they are phenomenal.

                Jedi does not complement Mooy and Rogic at all. I would like to see more of Luongo, I am not sure he is the DM we need, I think he is similar to Mooy but not as good (yet???)

                My and Rogic would be my first two names on any team I would pick for the Socceroos.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 10:57am
                Chris said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Post_hoc fair point on his pace. He probably has similar pace to Pirlo but not the close technique. (Mooy’s is good but not exceptional).
                If you are slow your technique has to be world class and I don’t think Mooy is in that category. Love when he proves me wrong though.

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:12am
                Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                The great thing is these days under Ange I don’t think we are death riding any ot the players as we have done so in the past. Your comments on Mooy are the example I like, you don;t think he has X, but boy you want to be proven wrong, I think that’s great

      • June 9th 2017 @ 8:41am
        TheVolley said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        “Lastly was it just me or did it look like – notwithstanding Australia’s much better performance – that the Saudis had zero energy in second half.” – I fail to understand why even the commentators and studio panels fail to even mention this. It was obvious that Saudis were tired in the 2nd half and most prob due to the their heavy pressing in the 1st half.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 9:02am
        rakshop said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        “The first half was one of the more bizarre and distressing Socceroo games I have see for a little big time”

        I think thats part of the problem. Because the first half last night was NO DIFFERENT to the second half against Iraq (in Iran), the first half against UAE (both games), the whole match against Thailand, the first half against Japan, and the first half against Iraq (in Perth). They were all TERRIBLE. Literally not figuratively. TERRIBLE. And all had exactly the same problems. Breakdown in the midfield, poor wing play, poor possession retention and the exposure to the counter.

        The Australian football media, and seems like our managerial team, seems to have very short memories because the first half effort against SA last night ISNT ANYTHING NEW. Its happened in EVERY SINGLE SECOND QUALIFICATION ROUND match to date.

        The author has got this article spot on, the issues are ‘SYSTEMIC”. Last night’s first half wasnt a one off, it wasnt an aberration. Things have to change, and the first to go is this suicidal 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 formation. The best Ange teams play 4 – 4 -2 or 4 – 1 – 3 -1, with the right and left backs who can go forward at the right time. It also allows more time in space for the midfield. 3 – 4 backline is hurting us because the two wings are both expected to go forward, exposing the back three, and the remaining two holding midfielders.

        I really hope Ange plays the 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 against Brazil in a couple of nights time. Because they will put 6/7/8 past us without really breaking a sweat, and this might be the catalyst for change.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:33am
          Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          Could not agree more rakshop

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:44am
          Realfootball said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          Thank God somehow has said this so clearly.

          You are so right.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:59am
          pauly said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          I would hope a back 4 is reinstated in Saitama. A draw away would really help the cause, lose and we might as well pack our bags for Tashkent.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 10:44am
          Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          I have no issue with being flexible, playing 4 at the back against Japan in Japan, may be the right choice. But 442 or 433 because it makes one sleep better at night is not the right thing.

          We have a glut of good quality central midfielders, we need a means of using them tho their advantage, 442 and 443 encourages you to go wide (especially the 433) and then cross it in. This has not worked for us in the past, and unless Timmy is playing why bother doing it? Juric is not a monster in the air, he much prefers to play with ball at his feet and turning.

          3 at the back didn’t work well last night but that may be personnel issues rather than system, we have 3 backs that were not playing well (or playing at all) a few games under their belt in succession and you will see vast changes.

          I think our biggest issue is DM, Jedi needs to go.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:53am
            Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            Agree with a lot of that but 433 derivatives don’t equal “crosses”. The outside wide attackers make runs between fullback and centre back and head straight for goal. The current system lends itself to crosses as the only width comes from very wide wing bscks

            • June 9th 2017 @ 11:08am
              Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report


              The assumption in 433 is the left and right backs go forward and overlap the left and right mids, for the cross in, that was what i was trying to get across.

              My mind Mooy is not a true AM, whilst Rogic is, Mooy is better playing deeper, and picking the ball up from the CB or providing a channel for the DM.

              In that sense I agree 433 suits Mooy, I think we need the 3-4-3 from an attacking perspective, but defensively we can’t. I’ll stick to coaching my Juniors LOL

              • June 9th 2017 @ 11:25am
                Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                Yeah, I’d play Milligan at 6, Mooy 8(where he can also receive the ball from defenders,) and Rogic at 10. If Milligan is covered Mooy can receive.

                I’ve always taught overlapping fullbacks to be hitting the byline, hence they are driving the ball across onn the ground or cutting it back. Heading rarely required.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 11:33am
            rakshop said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            The abundance of talent in the central midfield doesn’t mean that we have to play as many of midfielders as we can. In fact I would argue the opposite. The more we play this 4 – 2 midfield, the more convinced I am that we shooting ourselves in the foot because we are cluttered. Too many cooks, too many options in the midfield, not enough movement forward of the ball. Too many times in the last three games, Australia have taken possession only lumber the ball to one wing, and turn the ball over. Defensively is actually pretty easy to defend – and then play on the counter.

            Rogic needs space and time, he’s not getting that in this formation. Mooy doesn’t feel comfortable putting the ball through the lines (because no one is moving into space). Leckie is stuck on the touchline because he has to play soooooo far wide. There are problems up front – Juric got a lucky goal, and was unmarked on the second, he didn’t create either. The one time he did create the space for himself, he should have done better. This is systemic of the problems that the current batch a strikers that we have at the moment. Jamie McClaren is a key example, he looks good scoring goals, and some of the lines we runs are fantastic. But life is easy when you have Thomas Broich putting the ball exactly where Thomas Broich thinks you should be – which allot of the time, is exactly where you should be. Our strikers don’t really take the initiative, and none are going to score on their own.

            On Jedinak, I have been highly critical of his last few games. I actually think he was good last night. Jedniak plays his best football when no one notices him. I think he did that pretty well last night. HOWEVER, I do wonder if he going to struggle against the faster more technical teams. Late in game, his body language was poor. I do remember a few instances where he has marked a player, the ball has been disposed of or recycled, and Jedinaks first reaction was ‘job done’ and his head went down and jogged back into his position, even if the ball was present. The smarter teams are going to get in behind him (watch a replay the UAE match, his wide defensive positioning and hustle was appalling). The Saudi’s first goal is the blueprint on how to get in behind Jedinak (although I dont think he was at fault on this instance).

          • June 11th 2017 @ 12:03am
            MarkfromCroydon said | June 11th 2017 @ 12:03am | ! Report

            I agree the system is ‘shaky’, but is that due to the ‘newness’ of it and the players are not yet playing it right, or is it not being coached properly by Ange? To me, we have looked extremely vulnerable to the quick counter in the Iraq and Saudi matches, and we’ve been lucky we haven’t conceded far more. The thing that I think about though, is that the back 3 is a recognised system used by some well respected managers, so why do we struggle so much with it and look so vulnerable? It seems either Ange hasn’t fully got a handle on it himself, or the players are not playing to his instructions.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 4:59pm
          Alex said | June 9th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

          I don’t think a drubbing of that scale would change Postecoglou’s mind one jot because the man believes he is infallible when in reality he is little more than a nascistic self absorbed show pony, masquerading as a tactical genius.

          FFA needs to step up and remove him asap before his incompetence and pig headed stubborness costs the team WC qualification………………………….if he refuses to accept responsibility for his constant failings and resign beforehand.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 10th 2017 @ 7:09am
            Stevo said | June 10th 2017 @ 7:09am | ! Report

            I think you’ve over cooked the language Alex but I reckon there is broadly something in what you say. People just need to read Ange’s book “Changing the game” to get a sense that he is 1000% committed to his way of thinking and come hell or high water he’s unlikely to change. He’ll call it being focussed on the big picture and having a vision others may not be so kind and consider the book a long winded self absorbed tome.

        • Roar Guru

          June 9th 2017 @ 7:26pm
          Griffo said | June 9th 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

          That is my thought, as well as what will transpire for the Confeds – I think a Holger-esque 6-0 type spanking will show whether it’s the system or Ange’s mindset – he can change one but is he prepared to admit and change the other?

          I think Ange has done great things and hold out hope that he either starts picking players suited to the roles (hasn’t so far) or tinkers again and adjusts formations to suit the players he has. Nothing wrong with being wrong, or spinning it as ‘another evolution in our game’.

          From it’s usage so far I just don’t see it playing to our strengths of attack and aggression. Sure we might have numbers in attack, but an overwhelmed midfield soon turns into a pressured defence, as shown by the Saudi’s last night.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 9:53pm
            Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

            Agree Griffo, I hope he recognises the system doesn’t suit us and changes it

    • June 9th 2017 @ 8:39am
      TheVolley said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      It’s painfully obvious Socceroos have not mastered thisback 3 formation. That in itself can be positive or negative – we’ve won crucial matches with it and there is room to improve. I’ve personally never been a fan of this back 3 formation and Ryan McGowan was poor for us. Last night’s match was a game of 2 halves. Saudis pressed extremely hard and limited our play, but did not have the energy in the 2nd half. Socceroos had acres of space in the 2nd half and should have scored 2 more. Apart from a disastrous back pass, Saudis did not get near our goal. Well we’ll see how well our back 3 formation stacks up at the Confed Cup. It’ll be a good place to really test it. By the end of Confed Cup, if we don’t get it right, I’d say we should go back to back 4 against Japan.

    • June 9th 2017 @ 8:50am
      Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Excellent analysis Evan. During what can only be described as a truly abysmal first half the problems with us playing this system were front and centre. As I posted these points mid game there was no hindsight involved.

      Evan points out the difficulties in playing out from the back. Where once in a back 4 we had split CB’s with fullbacks high and the midfield 6 and/or 8 dropping in to receive, now we have 3 centre backs with 2 wing backs high. The system change results in 1 less option to play forward to (sorry Fuss, I know you are totally lost). The consequence is as Evan points out, play being forced into wide areas, and it’s the centre backs playing the passes, where previously it was Mooy or Milligan. Passes were either horizontal or vertical, and this formation has taken away the natural triangles of our 433 derivative. Now outnumbered in midfield, and with only one wide option it is no surprise we lose possession so regularly.

      Compare the last performances to that of the England game, where we played out at will.

      The interplay is gone, the rotation of players gone, the little diagonal passes breaking midfield lines gone. The one touch bouncing the ball gone. Selections are making things worse, neither Jedinak or Irvine are suited to a quick passing game. When we turn the ball over, inevitable given the above factors, we then have gaps between the midfield and defensive lines (see both Saudi goals). We oddly have 3 right footed centre backs, meaning we are unblanaced. And struggle to either cover, or play out on the left.

      The summary, the formation doesn’t suit the players we have. Leckie is good going forward but can’t defend. Our best technical players Mooy and Rogic look confused. We lack wide options to play out to, and when we attack we lack the ability to overlap. The defense is undoubtedly flakier, open to counter and as McGowan admitted, they are unsure. Yep, we have weakened the defence, midfield and attack.

      There isn’t a single positive that has come from the formation change and selections are curious. 2 championship (not a compliment) quality midfielders who can’t keep possession, and the other two play makers are struggling. The choice of McGowan (it’s not as if we have 3 great centre backs to shoe horn in), at the expense of Wilkinson. Kruse coming on at a key moment. Luongo was the obvious swap for Irvine, a more technical player.

      Still Ange will say it’s part of the plan. And Fuss will say we won so nothing else matters.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Cool N Cold said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Very good say.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Realfootball said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        In complete agreement, Fad.

        I think is now very clear what Postecoglou’s coaching level is, and it’s some distance short of top tier. His limitations have been on sharp display for 18 months now.

        Bellicose, mule-headed hubris is, unfortunately, not the answer to our team’s woes.

        We simply don’t have defenders good enough to carry a back three. How this is so difficult for Postecoglou to accept is one of the mysteries of the universe.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:45am
          Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          I really rate Ange prior to, and when he first took over Real. He preached a positive, proactive, aggressive pressing game. The team was full of pace and intention.

          Now it is lopsided, slow, reacrive. Selections aren’t helping.

          The turning point was the Japan game. At home we were strangely narrow, the only outlets were the fullbacks Smith (not playing) and McGowan (too immobile for a CB let alone a RB). Jedinak was allowed to recieve the ball (clever Japan) and they jumped on his pass into midfield.

          Since then Ange has been spooked, moving away from our strengths, changing a system based on fashion not suitability. He ran into trouble because he selected Jedinak (too slow, technically weak) and Kruse for too many games

          England was a great peformance, and this should be our template.


          Grant Sainsbury Wilkinson/Spira (move clubs) Behich/Smith/gersbach


          Mooy Rogic

          Leckie Juric Troisi/Goodwin/Burns (depends on game time)

          4123, attacking fullbacks, a 6 who’s mobile and moves the ball, 2 creative 8’s, Mooy can also drop into the 6, pace out wide, overlaps

          This is the Ange mantra. Don’t change the system, improve what we had.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:54am
            Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            Sorry, Grant is not capable enough, I disagree with Grant at RB, on his performance last night Behich at left agree.

            I always rate Spira, but his lack of game time and being lost in China is a major and I mean major issue he should be an automatic starter with sainsbury, but rightly he simply can’t be with no playing. I hate to say i agree with you on Wilkinson then he had a good season in a side with a good defensive record.

            Agree Miligan is the better DM, out of your left Mid I can only see Toisi as any value there, but he is a narrow player, he won’t get out wide, but if you have Behich going forward that might be less of an issue.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 11:13am
              Caltex, TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              I rate Spira to. I was wondering where he was playing—I didn’t know he was in China. McGowan is now playing in China and out of the two I would have thought Spira would be ahead of McGowan.

            • June 9th 2017 @ 11:28am
              Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

              I’ve chosen Grant based on merit. He’s potentially a better option than those previously tried. He’s at a higher level than Behich was when first selected.

              I’m not averse to Wright partnering Sainsbury.

              I’d imagine nearly all of our team have only played a back 4. Trying to change mid campaign, without a single friendly is unwise, and we are seeing the difficulties with our performances

        • June 9th 2017 @ 9:52am
          Roarfan said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          I agree with you and Fad, The socceroos are not suitable for the 3 back system at international level. We may be getting a way with it against lesser opposition but we won’t in the next four games. Very surprised Ange played someone who had taken 56 hrs to come from China.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 9:34am
        punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Fad, I think both you & Evan have nailed it!!!!
        Thanks for that very comprehensive analysis, compare this effort to that against Japan where we had a back 4, still lacking creativity in the final third, but we played out from the back & midfield so well that, that was the first time I had seen us out possession japan.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 10:25am
          Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          We lacked creativity v Japan because Jedinak played as the 6 and Japan let him have the ball, nay they insisted he have the ball by closing down all but Jedinak. This was compounded totally be a narrow formation (narrow is Angel’s “tell” for when he gets conservative

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:35am
            punter said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            Loving your analysis mate.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 10:58am
            Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

            I love the fact that we are all arguing or agreeing on the analysis etc and we now have 80 odd comments and not about code-wars

            • June 10th 2017 @ 4:47pm
              Pauly said | June 10th 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

              Hear hear.

              Though the usual suspeca tend to stay away from articles unrelated to the code’s standing in Australia, growth and expansion, and TV deals/ratings.

          • June 9th 2017 @ 11:54am
            Sydneysider said | June 9th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            Jedinak is complete rubbish. I don’t care if he’s played in the EPL and for Villa in the Championship.

            Worst passer of the ball I’ve seen in a Socceroos shirt.

            Ange needs to either shift him back to central defence OR put him back to the bench.

            He isn’t good enough, plain and simple. Shouldn’t play in midfield.

            If I was the opposition coach I would target Jedinak in possession every single time.

            Technically he is rubbish.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 10:13am
        Caltex, TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        “Leckie is good going forward but can’t defend”.

        Interesting summary Fad. But, it wasn’t that long ago you wanted Leckie converted into a defender in a back four. 🙂

        I have to agree with you that we need to wipe the slate clean and revert back to a 433. Or 442 to play it a bit safer with the defenders we are putting out on the field.. Sainsbury, is confused and his partners in the back three are lost. What is more alarming to me; none of them could turn and chase with any real speed. If Ange, is going to persist with the back three he needs to find the right players who can turn and chase with speed who can recover when a ball is played over their heads. Chelsea have a back three who can recover with pace, when the defence is split—that’s the missing ingredient in the Socceroos.

        • June 9th 2017 @ 10:26am
          Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          I did want him trialled. I’ve seen the trial. Next!

        • June 9th 2017 @ 10:57am
          Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          The difference is Chelsea have a glorious midfield. We have Jedinak and the willing but limited Irvine. Neither can keep the ball. The system doesn’t suit them. Milligan, Mooy, Luongo and Rogic may work. 4 technical players

          • June 9th 2017 @ 12:44pm
            Post_hoc said | June 9th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            Luongo and Mooy very similar in style of play i would argue, would love to see Amini develop to one day replace Milligan, and after his season Brillante must be on the fringes

        • June 10th 2017 @ 7:28pm
          hogdriller said | June 10th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

          The difference is Chelsea play this formation week in, week out…..our NT team don’t.

      • June 9th 2017 @ 10:35am
        Fadida said | June 9th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report


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