What it means if the Socceroos don’t qualify for Russia

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Tim Cahill and the Socceroos could miss the World Cup in Russia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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    The Socceroos failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup would be a serious blow to football in Australia, but it wouldn’t signal the demise of the game.

    Remember the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea?

    That was the last time the Socceroos failed to qualify for the finals, losing to Uruguay in the inter-confederation playoff despite travelling to Montevideo with a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Melbourne.

    The image of Tony Vidmar weeping as he left the field is one of the most iconic in Australian football – made all the more symbolic by the spot-kick he swept home in the shoot-out against Uruguay at Homebush just four years later.

    It’s that yin and yang of emotions that has made supporting the Socceroos such a rollercoaster ride over the years.

    Those same fans – to say nothing of Football Federation Australia – are no doubt desperate to see the national team overcome Honduras in their two-legged inter-confederation playoff. But even if the Socceroos fail at the final hurdle, it won’t be the end of the game as we know it in Australia.

    Short memories

    It’s easy to forget, but the last time the Socceroos failed to reach the World Cup, the Wollongong Wolves had just won the second of back-to-back National Soccer League titles in front of 13,402 fans at Parramatta Stadium.

    When Soccer Australia chairman Tony Labbozzetta took to the podium after the match, he was roundly booed by Wollongong fans incensed that they had been denied the right to host the grand final at WIN Stadium because, as Soccer Australia said, it held less than 20,000.

    The league itself was practically broke on the back of a disastrous broadcast deal with Channel Seven, while the collapse and subsequent cancelling of the 2001 FIFA Club World Championship robbed the Wolves of the chance to test themselves against the world’s best – and earn some much-needed revenue.

    By 2004, the National Soccer League was dead.

    Short-lived fully professional clubs like Carlton and Parramatta Power had come and gone in quick succession, and there seemed to be no end in sight to Australia’s long stint in the international wilderness.

    Ange Postecoglou Football Australia Socceroos 2017(AAP Image/Matt Roberts)

    A changed landscape

    Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Guus Hiddink may have steered the Socceroos to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but it was Frank Lowy who appointed him. And it’s Lowy football fans can thank for the advent of the A-League – even if Australia’s fully professional national league hasn’t always lived up to expectations.

    There can be few doubts that the Socceroos’ performance at the 2006 FIFA World Cup made the rest of the world sit up and take notice – even if the All-Star team selected by FIFA’s Technical Study Group predictably contained 23 players from Europe and South America.

    Not only did reaching the second round fuel the belief that the Socceroos belong on the world stage, it helped propel them to two more World Cup qualifications in 2010 and 2014. And while a first foray into the Asian Cup ended in relative disaster in 2007, two further tournaments saw the Socceroos reach the final in 2011, before going one better to lift the trophy on home soil four years later.

    It’s not bad going for a country that didn’t even boast a professional league 15 years ago. And like him or loathe him, much of these achievements can be traced directly back to the vision of Lowy Sr.

    Brad Smith Australia Football Socceroos 2017

    (AAP Image/Matt Roberts)

    Solid foundations – or are they?

    Whether Australian football is in a better or worse position than it was 15 years ago largely depends on whether you’re a glass half-full or empty kind of person.

    Our national league doesn’t necessarily look like it’s on the verge of collapsing at any second, although it could certainly stand to be in much better health. And you could argue that there’s as much transparency around the running of the game today, as there was during the dying days of the NSL.

    Meanwhile, the national team is riding a wave of unprecedented success – even if the mainstream media would have you believe otherwise.

    Where once Australia’s greatest achievement was being crowned Oceania champions, today the Socceroos are the reigning champions of the most populous continent on the planet.

    Reaching three successive World Cups is no mean feat either, particularly when one of those campaigns came via a playoff, while the other two saw the Socceroos navigate untested waters in Asia.

    Whichever way you slice it, Australia’s achievements since that fateful night in November 2005 deserve some recognition.

    Still, there’s a nagging feeling that it’s all about to come crashing to a halt.

    Honduras represents another venture into the unknown, and already the Hondurans are said to be unimpressed at being portrayed as underdogs going into the two-legged tie.

    Tomas Rogic congratulated by team generic football

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    The show must go on

    Whatever happens in San Pedro Sula and at the return leg in Sydney, the reality is that football in Australia will invariably go on.

    Missing the World Cup won’t do anything for the FFA’s bottom line, nor will it help the probably futile quest to become the most popular sport in Australia.

    But the sheer number of grassroots participants in the game, not to mention the financial support of those who back it, means that football will always go on in one form or another in Australia.

    Make no mistake though: FFA is treading a tightrope.

    With finances stretched and viewership declining, they can ill-afford to sit out the World Cup in Russia. If playing in primetime on Australian TV screens would have given the game a real shot in the arm in 2002, then failing to qualify for next year’s tournament could be equally damaging.

    There may be no love lost between the game’s governing body and Ange Postecoglou, but FFA will nevertheless be hoping the Socceroos tactician has the technical know-how to steer Australia to a fourth consecutive World Cup.

    Miss out, and the only other thing to watch will be the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

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    The Crowd Says (155)

    • November 10th 2017 @ 6:52am
      stu said | November 10th 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      I can appreciate advantages in the national team failing to qualify. From day one of the a-league I would suggest there has been greater focus on the national team to the detriment of the a-league.
      Remember that local competitions generally hold a higher profile than national teams in this country, plus our national team does only ‘make up the numbers’.Many nations survive after many years not qualifying for the WC, and the sport and public maintain a maturity to handle the situation.
      I am happy if the FFA get focused on the a-league.

      • November 10th 2017 @ 7:48am
        Fadida said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

        Good post

      • Roar Rookie

        November 10th 2017 @ 8:46am
        Stevo said | November 10th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Correct. The FFA’s lack of focus on the domestic front and it’s war with stakeholders is the greater issue than Socceroos failing to qualify.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 12:27pm
          Mushi said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

          But isn’t the FFAs war over the A league demanding a bigger slice of the commercial pie than they believe they are entitled.

          Shrinking that pie isn’t going to be a panacea

      • November 10th 2017 @ 9:07am
        spruce moose said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        “Remember that local competitions generally hold a higher profile than national teams in this country, plus our national team does only ‘make up the numbers’.”

        I disagree. Football is joined by Rugby Union and Cricket as sports where the national team has the profile over the domestic comp. National selection for cricket is a sport in it’s own right these days.

        But yes, I stronger A-league focus by the FFA, irrespective of whether Australia qualify, would be warmly welcomed.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 11:10am
          Sydneysider said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          “I disagree. Football is joined by Rugby Union and Cricket as sports where the national team has the profile over the domestic comp”

          I disagree solely based on the fact that it’s the casuals that get on board every 4 years but have no interest in the A-League. The focus should be on developing players, expanding the A-League and improve our coaching ranks, then that will take care of the national team.

          • November 10th 2017 @ 11:51am
            spruce moose said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Yeah that’s fair.

            It must be said that that same attitude is reflected in cricket as well. The average punter really hasn’t a clue Australia plays teams other than England and seems to only care from November to February.

      • November 11th 2017 @ 11:15am
        LuckyEddie said | November 11th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        Great comment.

    • November 10th 2017 @ 7:17am
      Not so super said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      Means my team at the World Cup will be – whoever is playing England

      • November 10th 2017 @ 7:53am
        chris said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report


        • November 10th 2017 @ 9:41am
          not so super said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report


          • November 10th 2017 @ 2:43pm
            nachos supreme said | November 10th 2017 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            I’m so with you there.

      • November 10th 2017 @ 9:07am
        spruce moose said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Lol. Iceland for me.

      • November 10th 2017 @ 10:13am
        pacman said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        Strange attitudes we sometimes have in this part of the world. I was visiting the UK whilst the 2014 WC was being played. The Poms were barracking for us! Go figure!

        Discretion being the better part of valour, I didn’t point out to those viewers in the pub that England would receive little support in Oz.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 3:59pm
          spruce moose said | November 10th 2017 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

          In Parliament House, all the politicians go for barrack for England when Australia have been eliminated.

          • November 10th 2017 @ 6:17pm
            Plumber said | November 10th 2017 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

            Nah, the politicians support the illuminati. All of them.

    • November 10th 2017 @ 7:19am
      AR said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      This article almost reads like a “The sky is NOT falling!!!” piece.

      It all seems a bit hand-wringingly unnecessary.

      The sport of soccer is in very good health. It’s just that the top level competiton is running on barethread finances and with woeful leadership, and the national coach is a bit grumpy.

      If we qualify again, happy days.
      If we don’t, then we sit out for a spell, along with Holland, USA, Cameroon, Chile etc.

      • November 10th 2017 @ 7:35am
        Waz said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        AR, “and the national coach is a bit grumpy” – ha, ha, soooooo true.

        But he was born that way, the delivering Doctor reportedly said “congratulations Mrs. Postecoglou, you’ve just given brith to a beautiful and healthy baby boy …. but he’s a little bit grumpy”

        Now in defence of Mike’s article, you’re criticising him for a “skys not falling article” but if he writes a critical article he’s attacking for writing the sky is falling. It’s a lose-lose there.

        The best thing that could happen for football is that we don’t qualify and Ange resigns the next day. At that point there is nowhere for the FFA (and others) to hide – football in this country will be at a low-ebb BUT, but all the jigsaw pieces are already in place to make a pretty picture in the next few years – the various groups just need to find the motivation to make it all work which may well come through the firey hell of WC failure and nay not happen in the glow of qualification.

        But, we simply must qualify and I just hope the near-miss is enough to kick start some sanity.

    • November 10th 2017 @ 7:47am
      Paul Nicholls said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      There’s a knock on David Lowy’s door. Two men are standing there – Sepp Blatter and Jack Worner. “We’re the FIFA normalisation committee”
      The sky begins to fall.
      Football will survive. Go the ‘Roos.

      • Roar Guru

        November 10th 2017 @ 7:56am
        Grobbelaar said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        They might knock on Stephen Gallop’s door instead.

      • November 10th 2017 @ 7:57am
        Waz said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        ****** there’s ANOTHER Lowy????

        • November 10th 2017 @ 9:03am
          Paul Nicholls said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

          … err David.. the other Lowy.. big fan of Guus Postecoglou 🙂

    • November 10th 2017 @ 7:53am
      j,binnie said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      The problem with discussing the popularity of the Socceroos as against the popularity of the HAL is one fraught with answer-less questions.
      Because of birthright, the Socceroos will always generate a level of interest, it is “our” team and as such deserves our unqualified support.
      One problem with this situation is that in recent years the development of local players has “stalled” and we find the situation that has been inherited over the last 20 years or so has not changed and most of the players selected for national duty have been playing thousands of miles away, and because of this, have been somewhat out of the public eye and therefore, the media, until qualifying time comes around every 4 years.
      Then we are faced with trying to put twenty or so “names” onto everyone’s lips. (Up to now Cahill is the only one filling that bill).
      We then cross to the other stage ,the HAL, and here, due to inherent conditions, we find that most of the “star” players have in fact been born elsewhere and therefore are ineligible to play for our national team.
      So we have the beginnings of a “bridge less river” being created that prevents the local media from “creating” their own “super heroes” on a week to week basis in our own game,
      Can this situation be resolved?
      There is a ton of opinions that can be trotted out but, the truth is, that even on the eve of one of the Socceroos most important games we are still no nearer solving the problem than we were in 2004.
      Our “best players” are still being sourced from clubs thousands of miles away, where most of them have not yet reached the levels of recognition enjoyed by Schwartzer, Kewell, Viduka and others,
      When, and if, we can ever source our current Socceroo team from our local competition then ,and only then, will our media be in a position to create the local “superheroes” that they, the media ,almost demand in this day of “hero -worship”, among the ever present “stars” from the other codes. jb

      • November 10th 2017 @ 9:03am
        Nemesis said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        “Our “best players” are still being sourced from clubs thousands of miles …”

        Sometimes, I just shake my head with amazement at the way football fans constantly complain about things

        Imagine the howls of derision if the full 23 man squad was sourced from 10 ALeague clubs instead of from: EPL, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Super Lig, Eredivisie, etc.

        Apart from England, Spain & Italy few nations in the world that have their “best players” playing in the domestic club competition. Even the Germans now see more & more National Team players moving outside Germany.

        When they won the 2014 WC, Germany had only 6 of the 23 man squad playing outside Germany. 2 years later at Euro2016, it had jumped to 9 out of 23 playing outside Germany.

        Portugal won Euro2016 with only 8 players playing in the domestic Portuguese league.

        Chile won CopaAmerica 2015 with only 4 players out of 23 playing in the Chile domestic league.

        I love the ALeague but, if the National Team players are all playing in the ALeague, that would be a huge negative for the way football players are being developed.

        I want all the National Team players to start out in the ALeague. But, they must move to more challenging competitions to push themselves to a higher level.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 9:28am
          Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          Nem – If we can make the A-League a world class competition there would be no need for our national players to move overseas. The FFA have failed the clubs by not allowing them to control their own destiny. More control and a bigger share of the FOX pie would set them on the road in achieving that goal and making our HAL world class competition.

          • November 10th 2017 @ 9:37am
            Nemesis said | November 10th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

            If we can make the A-League a world class competition”

            I’m sorry, but this is fanciful thinking. I will never happen.

            Not in my lifetime.
            Not in this planet’s lifetime.

            The football economy is driven by volume of consumers (TV, merchandise, tickets, sponsorship) and, with 23 million people, Australia will never generate enough money to attract the world’s best football labour.

            What we can aim to be is the world’s best development league. Create an environment where our football talent becomes highly valued & attract big transfer fees.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 10:06am
              Post_hoc said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              Belgium is a current example

            • November 10th 2017 @ 10:07am
              Redondo said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report


            • November 10th 2017 @ 10:23am
              Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              We don’t have to be the best world class league in the world. However, we can be a world class league as we are in the biggest, most populous, football confederation in the world—with time we can be a world class league. Perhaps not in my life time, but the AFC will continue to grow and in time, so will we. Japan and certainly China are heading in the right direction, so should we with better governance.

              • November 10th 2017 @ 11:12am
                chris said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Apart from the big 4 leagues (La Liga, EPL, Seria A, Bundesliga) there really shouldn’t be a reason why the A-League can’t retain the best players that dont go to the above mentioned 4. Unfortunately, players see themselves being in the “shop window” by playing in the Eredivise, Beligian League, Ligue 1 etc. Geography is something we can never change.

              • November 10th 2017 @ 11:53am
                spruce moose said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report


                There shouldn’t be a reason – but there is.

                Money. Professionals will go where there is that happy balance between a good competitive competition, career development and remuneration.

                At the moment the A-league is not quite at that stage on the final part.

              • November 10th 2017 @ 12:10pm
                punter said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

                Exactly Spruce!!!
                Chris, Aussies are adventurers by nature especially in our 20s.
                200K a year playing in A-League or 500K playing in Korea or Japan or Middle East, even better still in Europe (Portugal, France, Holland, English Championship), yeah where do I sign up

              • November 10th 2017 @ 12:15pm
                chris said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

                Yes Spruce I get it. Hence my statement of being in the shop front window of European leagues.

              • November 10th 2017 @ 12:28pm
                Redondo said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

                Does anyone know what all those Aussies in Europe get paid? Many play in leagues with pretty pathetic attendances – do they get more there than they would in the A-League? Or are they on a pittance and just hoping for a ‘shop-window’ effect?

              • November 10th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                Nemesis said | November 10th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report


                The Top 25 Aussie footballer wages in 2016, were published in the Herald Sun.

                It ranged from ($m per year)

                #1 Trent Sainsbury (China) = 5.2
                #5 Mile Jedinak (Eng 2nd Div) = 3.2
                #10 Tom Rogic (Scotland) = 2
                #15 Apostolos Giannou (China) = 1.9
                #20 Adam Federici (EPL) = 1.25
                #25 Topor-Stanley (UAE) = 1.2

                Bailey Wright was reportedly earning $1.4m/yr at Preston North End in the 2nd tier of England with average season home crowds of 12.6k

              • November 10th 2017 @ 2:02pm
                spruce moose said | November 10th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

                No Chris

                Clearly you don’t get it.

                If you got it, you wouldn’t have written your comment in the way you did, if at all.

                Players don’t move to Belgium or Norway or Sweden because they want to make a pitch for the Big 4 leagues and be in a ‘shopwindow’ league.. They move to Belgium (or China, Korea, the middle east) because they get paid more. Why you mentioned Ligue 1 (a massive league in it’s own capacity) in your examples is further example of you fundamentally not getting it.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 11:29am
              j,binnie said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              Nemesis – Let me go back in time to a period,1983 to 1990 when the Socceroos played ” all comers” in a 93 game programme spread over those 7 years. (average 13 games/year).
              During that time 1983 there was one or two Socceroos playing overseas,Davie Mitchell being the most notable at Glasgow Rangers.
              When the good results began to pile up for the “home team’ other players began to come to the notice of these touring overseas teams, and soon we had Chris Kalantzis, Eddie Krncevic ,,a young Jimmy Patikas and Frank Farina joining the exodus,but even with those lads making a name for themselves,the then coach Frank Arok still used a vast majority of NSL players in most positions.in his teams, names like Kosmina, Wade, Olver, Yankos, Tobin, Dunn,Jennings & Crino.
              By the end of Arok’s tenure in 1990 the trickle had become a flood and we were brought to a state of reality we still have today,most of our good local footballers are still lured overseas.and Verbeek’s “words of wisdom” concerning the standard of the HAL all those years ago may well becoming more and more evident.
              Now if only in these intervening 27 years we had maintained steady all round “improvement” ,where would we be today???. Cheers jb.

            • November 11th 2017 @ 2:40am
              Beto said | November 11th 2017 @ 2:40am | ! Report

              @Nemesis, Caltex

              This discusion is exactly what happened to the USA a few years ago and has led to the fall of the US National Team.

              The USA’s best players returned to help build MLS in 2013-15 and make it a “world class league”. The league improved a bit but the national team failed.

              Americans are now returning to the focus of making MLS and the lower leagues into better leagues to develop young talent. Meanwhile relying on our best players in Europe to lead our national team.

              Don’t make the same mistakes we did! Good luck today in Honduras!

          • November 10th 2017 @ 10:08am
            Will said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            The A-League should be a development league, aaron mooy is a perfect example of how the a-league can become.

            Plays well for a team here, goes to europe and makes a name for himself and club and game here benefits.

            Develop and sell.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 10:57am
          j,binnie said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          Nemesis – As usual you have picked out a sentence and gone off half cocked.
          Let me ask you some simple questions.
          If you stopped a man in the street in Melbourne and asked him if he knew who Gary Ablett ,or Billy Slater were, ,he could probably answer in the affirmative.
          If you came a bit north to Sydney or Brisbane and asked another man in the street who Jonathon Thurston or Darius Boyd were they too could answer in the affirmative.
          Now ,if you stopped a man in the street anywhere in Oz ,and asked who Tim Cahill was he could probably tell you, but I’m not so sure he could tell you who Massimo Luongo or Matthew Leckie were despite both playing a good standard of football in England and Germany.
          Get the point I was trying to make?. Socceroo players who are not constantly in the local public eye suffer from lack of exposure on our public media.
          With that fact established it is not hard to wonder why our HAL players suffer accordingly.
          My last question.
          If we could wave a magic wand and have every Socceroo presently in the current Socceroo team, playing at the same level of competence,but in the HAL, would that situation improve.? Get my point? Cheers jb..

          • November 10th 2017 @ 11:13am
            Nemesis said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            “If we could wave a magic wand and have every Socceroo presently in the current Socceroo team, playing at the same level of competence,but in the HAL, would that situation improve.?”

            No, it would not. The reason Cahill is known by every man in the street is because he played for Everton in the EPL.

            Mooy was not known to every man in the street when he played for WSW, or MelbCity.
            Mooy was barely known 12 months ago when he played in the Championship.

            But, now he plays in the EPL every man in the street knows him. The mainstream media will mention his name.

            Same human being.
            Same qualities as a footballer.
            Same club even last season.

            But, because he’s playing EPL he’s now talked about.

            Matt Leckie hardly gets a mention even though he’s been starting in the Bundesliga for the past 2 years. But, if Matt Leckie played for Stoke City, he’d be talked about by mainstream media.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 11:40am
              chris said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

              Meh – i could think of a million things more important than trying to get a mention in Australia’s bogan media.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 11:58am
              j,binnie said | November 10th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

              Nemesis- This is your weakest debate yet, The average man in the street in Oz wouldn’t even know that Everton play in the city of Liverpool, never mind that Millwall is a district of London, and to ask them to rhyme off the four teams Tim has been with since leaving Everton ,he might just have heard of Melbourne City though Tim has not had a lot of game time at that club but has had a king’s ransom spent on his publicity by the club and the FFA.
              Now to claim that “EVERY MAN” in Oz would ,after half a dozen games in the EPL, know who Aaron Mooy is ,is just a ridiculous statement ,and I suspect you know that.
              This debate is about how we can improve the view held by the general public of our major football competition the HAL, so try to stick to solutions, instead of justifying your arguments to the contrary. Cheers jb.

          • November 10th 2017 @ 12:03pm
            punter said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            JB, wow you really lost me here.

            I look at those PL sides when the likes of Viduka, Kewell, Neill & Cahill were playing in 15 years ago, more then half those players were English speaking, now I look at those same sides & there are only 1 or 2 English speaking players (Spurs aside). I look at the great Celtic, in 1967, the ‘Lisbon Lions’ had every member were born within 30 miles from Celtic park, now there is only 2-3 Scottish players in the Celtic lineup & not too many in the attacking half.

            15 years ago we heard of the exploits of Viduka for Leeds or Kewell for Liverpool & the media created an image of these Aussie greats, now the kids see Messi, Ronaldo, De Bruyne, Neymar every week on FIFA18, they have amazing streaming ability & can see whatever games they like & they realised that the likes of Mooy, Leckie, Ryan, while all playing at the top level are not the real superstars.
            As much as I loved the golden generation, Kewell, (injuries, attitude), Dukes (lack of killer instinct) never reached their full potential. Cahill, yes reached full potential, but was a limited player, the rest were decent players but no world beaters, no better then those today.

            I am astounded one as knowledgeable as you cannot see this.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 5:19pm
              j,binnie said | November 10th 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

              Punter – Not very clear on why you were “lost” by anything I said.
              We all know of the times you mention when our players were performing well in English and various European teams but that is not what I was talking about ,it was more to do with the fact it appears we still have not shaken off that image of us being nothing better than a development league for others to poach.
              I would have thought ,as someone who often uses these columns as a means of criticising how we are treating our “grassroots” game, would have understood perfectly what I was getting at.
              The question. Why after 15-20 years of costly and supposed development are we still seeing youngsters tempted away to try their luck with some second rate teams in second rate leagues,not Mooy,, not Jedinak, not Luongo, not Rogic, but the countless others who have tried,, and been found wanting,?
              You know who I mean without naming them.
              That is what really concerns me, and after 20 years I think it should be showing signs of improvement, and I have thought that too was very close to your heart. Cheers jb.

              • November 11th 2017 @ 7:07am
                punter said | November 11th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

                I agree that 15 years of the ‘Dutch’ experiment has failed miserably & understand where you are coming from.
                However, my biggest dispute is we never had it, that quick slick 1st touch, transition from defence to attack, the 1 on 1 ball skills of a Jimmy Johnstone (hope my spelling is correct).
                People lament the golden generation, well outside of Viduka & Kewell, I don’t see where we had much better players then than we do now, as a matter of fact, I believe we play a better brand of football now. If you don’ believe me look at games of the Socceroos in 2006 WC & if you dare the ill fated day in 1997 against Iran. Rarely were 3-4 passes strung together.
                The other point is that many better footballing countries then Australia also missed the boat, England, despite the PL being more popular then ever, which is a competition that relies many on more foreigners then the A-League has also struggled with the transition & are only now producing some players of the quality of the Brazilians, Spanish & the Belgiums. But they have little depth as the ‘get stuck in’ & ‘pump it up’ ‘get it in there son’ mentality still so strong, like it is in the other English speaking countries.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 6:49pm
          stu said | November 10th 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

          The contradiction for many is that those young players are popping up in that ‘third rate league’ as Bozza calls, the SPL
          What a travesty.

    • November 10th 2017 @ 7:56am
      jamesb said | November 10th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      The last time Australia failed to qualify, positive action was undertaken, such as the start of the A League and a move into Asia.

      When Australia qualified for the last three world cups, one would feel that the FFA has been papering over the cracks during that period.

      Maybe its not such a bad thing if Australia doesn’t qualify for Russia. Judging by recent history, not qualifying could mean more positive action to be undertaken with addressing a few key issues. An example, how do we turn player participants into fans of the A League?

      • November 10th 2017 @ 8:06am
        I ate pies said | November 10th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        The key question is, how do we produce players of world quality standard by them playing in the A League rather than Europe. It’s no coincidence that as our local league has gotten better the quality of the players we produce has gotten worse.

        • November 10th 2017 @ 10:13am
          Nemesis said | November 10th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

          “It’s no coincidence that as our local league has gotten better the quality of the players we produce has gotten worse.”

          Utter nonsense.

          Australia has qualified for the previous 3 World Cups.

          We are Champions of Asia.

          • November 10th 2017 @ 12:23pm
            I ate pies said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            Champions of Asia?…hahaha. That attitude is why we will struggle to make it to the world cup regardless of the cushy qualification process we’ve got now.
            You know what I said is true. Everyone knows it; it’s the elephant in the A League room.
            The funny thing is, for all the rhetoric we hear about the “world game”, it’s actually only strong in Europe and South America. It’s the “Europe and South America game”. Again, deep down you know I’m right.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 3:37pm
              punter said | November 10th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

              I think you a little confused here, yes it’s biggest in Europe & Sth America, yes.
              However it’s call the World game because it’s bigger then AFL everywhere except in Victoria, WA & SA, it’s bigger then Rugby league except for NSW QLD, PNG & NZ, it’s bigger then Rugby, except for NZ,Fiji, Tonga & Samoa, it’s bigger then cricket except in Australia & a few sub continent countries, it’s bigger then basketball except US, Canada & even in China, it’s bigger then American football except US & Canada, it’s bigger then baseball except US, Cuba & Japan, it’s bigger then Ice hockey except US & Canada. Have I missed any big professional sports.

              • November 10th 2017 @ 3:51pm
                Than said | November 10th 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                ‘Than’, punter, the word is ‘than’.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 4:52pm
              brian drian said | November 10th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

              mr pies,
              you need to get out more.
              Ever heard of Africa? Football is massively dominant in the 50+ countries there and the fans are just as passionate and bonkers as the South Americans. In North/Central America the same applies from San Diego southwards. In Western/Central/South East Asia it is easily the predominant sport too. Even in the few remaining backwaters, it is almost without exception the second most followed sport. The world is large and diverse place, and football is its game of choice.

            • November 10th 2017 @ 5:09pm
              Nemesis said | November 10th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

              “Again, deep down you know I’m right.”

              Deep down, in the middle & superficially I know you are an ignorant person.

      • Roar Rookie

        November 10th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Stevo said | November 10th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report


      • November 10th 2017 @ 12:04pm
        j,binnie said | November 10th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        jamesb – The “start of the A league” as you put it, was not because we failed to qualify for a World Cup it was because the sport,as a paying spectacle called the NSL, was in such financial ruin ,that the government of the day had to step in to rescue the ruling body. Cheers jb

      • November 10th 2017 @ 1:41pm
        Post_hoc said | November 10th 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        I believe the idea that the last time we didn’t qualify, things got better is a case of Post hoc ergo, propter hoc

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