Why the Socceroos can beat Germany

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    After all the bombast and rhetoric, it’s high time the Socceroos turned in a decent performance – and they’ll hardly get a better chance than against a third-string German outfit.

    Lost amid what little analysis there has been of Australia’s impending Confederations Cup campaign is the fact that Germany have essentially sent their C-team to Russia.

    Forget ‘world champions’, the Germans have sent a development squad to the tournament, explaining that they’re more interested in defending their World Cup title next year instead.

    There were no less than seven debutants on display in the farewell fixtures against Denmark and San Marino – which ended in a 1-1 friendly draw and 7-0 World Cup qualifying win respectively – and only Shkodran Mustafi, Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler remain from the squad that won the World Cup in Brazil.

    Not even the goalkeeping position is nailed down, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Trapp vying with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno for a place between the posts normally occupied by Manuel Neuer. Up front, the Germans have selected only two strikers in the untested Timo Werner and Sandro Wagner.

    That’s not to imply that the Germans are easybeats – when have they ever been? – but rather that those who claim the Socceroos will be flogged by “one of the world’s best teams” have already missed the mark.

    And although the Germans have proclaimed that they expect to win the game, it’s hardly a fait accompli as the two sides get set to run out under rain-swept skies in Sochi.

    The question, of course, is whether the Socceroos can finally get their 3-2-4-1 formation to click.

    Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is nothing if not stubborn, and there seems little doubt he’ll be digging his heels in and playing three at the back irrespective of the opposition.

    While that might seem a dangerous game to play against a youthful German outfit, the flipside is that if the Socceroos can eradicate some of the individual errors that have plagued the past couple of performances, they should actually manage to take the game to the Germans.

    This is a side, let’s not forget, that drew 2-2 with Germany when the two teams last met in Kaiserslautern in March 2015, with Die Mannschaft needing a late Lukas Podolski equaliser to snatch a draw.

    Postecoglou’s teams have also proved capable of stepping up when it matters, most notably by winning the Asian Cup on home soil, but also at the World Cup a year earlier – even if results in Brazil didn’t necessarily go Australia’s way.

    (Photo: AFC Asian Cup)

    There’s reason, then, for optimism going into Australia’s fourth Confederations Cup campaign, the last of which came in 2005 in Germany when the Socceroos were reigning Oceania champions.

    They could make history of a different kind in Russia, with rumours swirling that FIFA is set to call time on the tournament and make this the final edition of the Confederations Cup as we know it.

    Certainly the empty seats in Saint Petersburg for host nation Russia’s comfortable 2-0 win over New Zealand suggest the locals aren’t especially enamoured with the tournament, although the stands in Moscow will invariably be packed for the visit of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

    For the Socceroos, though, it’s a rare chance to test themselves in tournament football – not to mention familiarise themselves with some of the venues they’ll be hoping to play in at next year’s World Cup.

    It’s hard then to understand some of the online sentiment from Aussie fans questioning whether the tournament is even worth following.

    Whatever the naysayers think, there’ll be plenty of weary eyes tuned to SBS come 1am on Tuesday morning to watch the Socceroos strut their stuff on the world stage.

    They should play the Australian way and take the game to Germany – just as long as they first sort out that leaky defence.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (95)

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2017 @ 6:53am
      Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 19th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      I can see some space being available in this game (not least with the Germans having a less settled line-up) with Leckie being able to utilise his athleticism and willingness to take on defenders. He’s one player for whom the Germans represent bread and butter as opposed to cream.

      The question will be as to whether any of Juric/Irvine/Rogic can keep up with him. Perhaps for that reason we may see McLaren starting with Juric being saved for the next game.

      The back 3 still gives me the jitters, especially given we have some decent full-backs at our disposal.

      It won’t be boring.

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2017 @ 1:22pm
        Mike Tuckerman said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        No chance of Maclaren starting, I reckon. Especially with Juric on the crest of a move to the Bundesliga. Be interesting to see if Kruse features from the get-go.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2017 @ 1:42pm
          Griffo said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          Goes without saying we need goals, and Juric looks more likely than Maclaren.

          We need quality build up and service to scoring positions. We also need to be better and quicker at building up from the back.

          Like us to get a draw but I am not that confident at this point 12 hours out…

        • June 19th 2017 @ 4:54pm
          bobbym said | June 19th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

          Maclaren is lightweight not physical or strong enough to impose at this level

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2017 @ 5:28pm
        Stuart Thomas said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

        This back three thing has me worried. I can see the effectiveness and the flow on effect up the park, but we look like conceding and conceding often. I know things take time, but this little experiment/investment in the future has me a little worried. I know Postecoglou can be trusted, but can the back three. German team is well tested in my opinion, certainly tested enough to handle us. Here’s hoping though.

    • June 19th 2017 @ 7:34am
      AGO74 said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      Our last Confederations cup appearance was hardly inspiring. We seem to be carrying in similar-ish patchy form to this edition. And the last time we played Germany in tournament we got pulverised.

      Based on that the signs aren’t promising. However I’m hopeful that this sustained month long period will eventually be the catalyst to bed down Ange’s three man defensive system. Making such a radical overhaul when you only have 2 or 3 sessions together every few months is challenging. Here’s hoping this time together brings together the continuity of the system even if the results may not be immediately apparent in the Confeds Cup.

      It’d be great to see some of our midfielders like Mooy and Rogic take their game to the next level. I’m not saying they aren’t good players but their consistency at national level has not been apparent to date. Tommy Juric based on recent club and country form seems posed to go to the next level – here’s hoping.

      It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 7:59am
        vin said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        the last confed cup wasnt inspiring?

        lost 4-3 to germany
        lost 4-2 to argentina
        lost 2-0 to tunisia.

        oh gee let me guess our performance at the last world cup losing all 3 games was inspiring.

        how long have you been around the block? you should go on youtube and watch the highlights again of the last confed cup, this germany team will be much easier than the last.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 8:48am
          AGO74 said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Errr…..did you watch any of those games? I certainly did. Granted the Germany game was ok – although only a last minute goal reduced it to a 1 goal differential. The other two games we were pathetic and Frank Farina was punted a few weeks later and I don’t recall too many socceroo fans complaining that Farina was hard done by.

          So yeah I’d call that hardly inspiring.

          • June 19th 2017 @ 5:09pm
            Fadida said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

            Agree AG. Vin hates anything that’s happened since 2005

    • June 19th 2017 @ 7:37am
      Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      There’s one thing for sure, Ange will have a go at the Germans. This may be an experimental German team, but they will still have enough class and endeavour, to beat us comfortably. Especially now, when we have the slowest back three in the tournament. And with us still trying to work out, how to play a system with a back three. I can’t see us winning but will be glad if I have egg all over my face after Tuesday.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 1:02pm
        bobbym said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        Ange the Kamikaze pilot

    • June 19th 2017 @ 7:49am
      Bob said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      They just need to stop TALKING and start playing. can anyone remember when they last put in a decent 90 minute performance?

      • June 19th 2017 @ 8:01am
        Fadida said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        The England game. An exceptional performance

        • Roar Rookie

          June 19th 2017 @ 8:35am
          Stevo said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          Geez it seems an eternity ago but it was 1 yr ago and it took a Dier own goal to get us on the scoreboard.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 10:09am
          pacman said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Fad, we invariably lift our game at least one level when playing England. England’s coaches over recent times have been unaware of the rivalry, certainly Sven Goran Eriksson. No one had mentioned this to him! He had no idea.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2017 @ 1:31pm
            Griffo said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            Yeah the story with Sven: Beckham and co. tried to tell him this was not going to be a training run but he just didn’t get it…

            …still even the English squad weren’t quite prepared for that day either 😉

    • June 19th 2017 @ 8:01am
      vin said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      Gee Ange is a grump in his press conferences, just answer the journalists questions with a grain of salt rather than firing back!
      this is B germany team lets face it there is not a single regular starter or anyone from the 2014 winning world cup.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 8:32am
        punter said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        ‘2014 winning world cup’ side. How simply some forget!!!

    • Roar Rookie

      June 19th 2017 @ 8:15am
      MoriartyExp said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      “untested Timo Werner and Sandro Wagner”

      This quote alone shows you don’t know much about world football.
      Both Leipzig & Hoffenheim were in the top half of the Bundesliga thanks to these two guys.

      You’d rather Juric then either one of these strikers?

      I’ll be happy if Australia scores a goal in the next three games and won’t be surprsied if we don’t!

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2017 @ 8:36am
        Mike Tuckerman said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        I never really know how to respond to comments like this. I don’t know much about world football? Okay…

        Untested, yes… at international level. Werner and Wagner each have two senior caps for the national team. I probably should have written that in gigantic capital letters for those who couldn’t quite grasp the connection.

        Would I rather Juric? Of course, since he’s Australian. We could always ask Cristiano Ronaldo to turn out for the Socceroos, but something tells me it’s never going to happen.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 19th 2017 @ 8:40am
          Stevo said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          Mike, don’t bite so early in the day 😉

          • Columnist

            June 19th 2017 @ 1:23pm
            Mike Tuckerman said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            He shouldn’t have dropped by before my morning coffee…

      • Roar Rookie

        June 19th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Stevo said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        That’s quite a gloomy outlook but understandable ATM. The boys are still trying to workout Ange’s system.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2017 @ 1:51pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

          I’m always wary of the idea of a manager of a national team having a reasonably fixed system. At club level you can have a fixed system and bring in the players that suit the system you are trying to put together, but with a national team you tend to more have to look at the players you’ve got and try and develop the system that best makes use of the talent at your disposal.

          Now, maybe that’s what Ange has done with this change in system. Maybe he’s decided that it’s the system to best utilise the players Australia has available, and that’s why he’s changed to it. I guess only time will tell, but they’ve been struggling to put forward good results of late to the point where we basically need to beat Japan in Japan to have a chance of a top-2 finish and avoiding having to go through the playoff system to have a chance of being at the next world cup.

          At the last World Cup most people looked at that thinking that, while we didn’t get the results, the performances showed promise that could be built on, but rather than build on it and get better and better they’ve actually seemed worse since then. Whether a solid time together leading into this tournament can help turn that around we’ll find out I guess.

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