Jedinak leads Socceroos to Russia

Evan Morgan Grahame Columnist

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

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    So this was it. This interminable qualification campaign, a trudge that has left the Socceroos and their manager weary and battered, had all been funnelled down to a single match.

    The oddly placid cradle of a cool, spring Sydney evening was the site, and everyone involved – the raucous herd piling into the stadium, the jersey-clad sots in the local pubs, the tense masses perched on couches at home – all were hoping they would see the final line of this taxing chapter written, and sigh between their cheers as the next one began.

    No one will eulogise these last six months with any fondness, few, indeed, will even think to, what with wonderful thoughts of Russia 2018 to occupy the mind.

    This World Cup’s qualification process has dragged down more prominent footballing nations than us, to be sure, but no Australian was thinking of joining the Italians, Dutch or Chileans, especially when the task was so immediately at hand.

    A 0-0 draw in Honduras meant there was no lingering score to complicate the aggregate. The brief was simple; win at home, and go through. 

    Aaron Mooy for the Socceroos against Honduras

    (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)

    The set of players selected to fill Ange Postecoglou’s favoured 3-4-2-1 formation was a combination that, for one reason or another, had not yet been tested. Mile Jedinak retained his place at the base of midfield, and Mark Milligan was returned to the starting XI, and stood beside him.

    Matt Leckie was also recalled following his suspension, and started at right-wing-back. Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic played as the two attacking midfielders, and Aziz Behich was retained at left wing-back.

    The back three, and goalkeeper, were as they were in the first leg. And finally, gleaming at the tip of this arrangement was Tim Cahill, ankle seemingly nursed back to health, the country’s bonafide difference-maker in our biggest matches. Playing Mooy and Rogic gave the team enough invention in the advanced positions, against an opponent sure to sit back and defend with grit.

    Considering Josh Risdon’s ho-hum turn in San Pedro Sula, the two wing-backs were clearly the best available candidates. Milligan and Jedinak’s presence applied a becalming caress over twisting thoughts of a sudden Honduran counter-attack slicing through the Australian gut, although the flanks were still tremulous areas of potential tenderness.

    All in all, this appeared to be a highly satisfactory team, well-equipped to take control of the Roos’ most important fixture for some years. 

    Honduras had made some changes too, with captain Maynor Figueroa back after suspension, one of four new players inserted into their starting line-up. Figueroa’s return, from a leadership perspective, would have been as significant for Honduras as Cahill’s was for Australia, in what was only Honduras’s twelfth international outside the Americas since the year 2000. 

    The Socceroos kicked off, and immediately dashed as a team up the pitch. An attacking approach, with an early goal, was needed here, and Leckie’s lunge toward a 50-50 – fouling an opponent in the process – signalled the ferocity of the Australian appetite. Matt Jurman was booked after two minutes, another signal. When things are as tense as this, the occasion can lash out, like a stretched rubber band suddenly snapping. 

    Matthew Leckie

    (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

    After ten minutes, the match settled into its expected groove; Honduras weren’t pressing the Roos until the ball was passed out of defence, with the exception of a full-field press to discourage short goal kicks. Australia were met by a solid wall of ten defenders when they did progress into the midfield, and were forced wide, and then backward by the Honduran defensive scheme.

    An Australian free-kick out on the left flank was won and taken by Mooy, with Cahill centimetres away from flicking it past Donis Escober. Five minutes later, another Mooy free-kick had the Honduran defenders scrambling desperately to clear; their conviction to avoid concession was flailingly apparent.

    On a pitch – albeit far from perfect, a little hard and patchy – significantly more accommodating than the paddock in San Pedro Sula, both teams were playing with more terrestrial ambition, combining neatly and quickly, with tight one-twos and backheeled flicks peppering the general play.

    The Roos were dominating possession, but the few sequences that Honduras put together gave a firm indication the visitors were planning on taking a more technically ambitious approach than they had at home.

    Additionally, the Hondurans were doing an excellent job of neutering the Australian attacks, pushing them toward the flanks, and doubling up on Cahill in the centre. After half an hour, we saw Cahill roam out to the near sideline, in search of the ball.

    He found it, looked up, and saw a Tim Cahill-sized void in the penalty area. It appeared as though Milligan was asked to step up and join the attack when possible, but his presence was doing little to grease the wheels. 

    Australia were being forced to toil hardily in wider areas; under heavy pressure, Cahill and Behich managed to scratch out a crossing opportunity, the latter fizzing a ball into the box, which Rogic tamely scuffed into the arms of the keeper. The Hondurans were dawdling to every throw-in, tarrying at every stoppage. They had committed twice as many first-half fouls as Australia.

    It wasn’t all gamesmanship though; Emilio Izaguirre, injured and distraught, had his ankle treated twice and was eventually substituted. The first half ended with the two teams having enjoyed one solitary clear chance between them. Impotent Australian possession was the story so far. 

    The second half began with Aaron Mooy taking three straight corners, two of which were awful, one too short, the other spooning horribly over the goal and out. A few minutes later, Rogic ran past half the Honduran team, and won a free-kick just outside the box. Mooy lined up again over the set-piece, hoping for a better connection this time. 

    In fact, to the surprise of the most – not least the Hondurans – it was Mile Jedinak who jogged up and drove his instep through the ball. His shot wriggled through the wall, and took a heavy deflection off a defender, giving Escober no chance of saving it. The capacity crowd erupted as one, sheer relief at a reward earned with a sprinkle of fortune. 

    Mile Jedinak

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    The Hondurans charged back at the Socceroos from the restart, furiously trying to restore parity as soon as possible. The game was suddenly yanked out into openness; the Hondurans were lurching forward, and Tim Cahill almost scored on the counter, looping a long-distance header onto the crossbar.

    Rogic slapped a volley from an audacious position, curling it into the side netting. The match had awoken wide-eyed, and nothing was certain yet, keeping in mind a score draw would see Honduras progress. The Australian goal, however, forced the Hondurans to throw more behind their attacking efforts, which is to say, do less of what they wanted to do; defend in numbers. 

    Cahill departed the field, replaced by Juric. The game was rocking back and forth. The ball spilled into the Honduras box, after good work from Mooy on the left. Somewhere in the muddle, the ball struck the arm of a Honduran defender, something it seemed only the referee saw. He pointed to the spot, and Jedinak walked up. He punched the shot into the bottom left corner, just under the straining hand of Escober.

    Jedinak ran back to the halfway line, a tsunami of whoops and caws crashing down from the stands, his whole body tensed in vigorous joy, roaring and nodding and pumping his fist. How we’ve missed our captain, even if we’re only realising it now. This was a cushioning goal Australia needed; all that was left was to see out the final 15 minutes. 

    Honduras, having spent the vast majority of this tie thinking only of tackling, fouling, barging and clearing, now found their attacking senses blunted, their rhythms knocking disparately. Passes were overhit, runs missed. A promising free-kick was sent spiralling high and wide. 

    A quick Escober punt saw the Hondurans engage Sainsbury and Behich in consecutive aerial duels. Mat Ryan scampered out to retrieve the situation, and then, a few seconds later, Robbie Kruse – a substitute – was sent clear through on goal, dashing onto a deep cross from the right.

    He was brought down just before shooting, and another, wholly more conspicuous penalty was awarded. Jedinak converted again, 3-0, and Australia’s place at Russia 2018 was all but confirmed. Honduras tried hard in the dying minutes, dead men running. They scored a consolation goal with the game’s final kick.

    Mile Jedinak

    (Photo by Cameron J Spencer/Getty Images)

    In a contest cracked open by a bit of luck – Australia’s first goal was later reassessed as an own-goal – it was Australia’s quality that shone through. Under the most intense circumstances, with every moment of failure, of frustration, of impatience all carried on green and gold shoulders into this ultimate test, the Socceroos blossomed into the team we have been yearning for, back three and all.

    Harrowing failure, a horrid founder, will not flavour Ange Postecoglou’s legacy. Jedinak, every fibre of him gleaming with dazzling heroism, was draped in the Australian flag at the end. Fireworks boomed across Sydney Harbour as the crowd rang in the triumph. The slog is over, and we survived it. Onward, gloriously onward we go to Russia. 

    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 (311)

    • Roar Pro

      November 16th 2017 @ 6:14am
      David McDaniel said | November 16th 2017 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      Still struggling to see why the first goal was an own goal as the ball was going towards the goal. I thought own goals were only awarded if the ball was not going in and was diverted in? The goalkeepers position shouldn’t have any impact should it?

      Jedi should have had a hat-trick!

      • November 16th 2017 @ 7:08am
        Waz said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        It has been accredited a hat trick

        • November 16th 2017 @ 7:53am
          punter said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

          Great & Totally deserved, best player over both games. Real captain’s knock.
          Was a big critic, am happy to be eating humble pie.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 8:21am
            AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

            I don’t think you are alone on the humble pie punter. One for me too please.

          • Roar Guru

            November 16th 2017 @ 1:40pm
            Griffo said | November 16th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            I’m sure Jedinak has had some bad games to deserve the criticism, but he has at times been the one to slot home the only penalty goal under immense pressure.

            I’m happy he did the same last night.

            I’ll have a slice of that pie, too. ?

            • November 16th 2017 @ 1:48pm
              Fadida said | November 16th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

              His leadership and set piece ability have never been doubted by anyone

        • Roar Guru

          November 16th 2017 @ 10:07am
          Chris Kettlewell said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Cool. I just googled it and on the page for the match it shows Jedinak with 3 goals, no own goals.

    • November 16th 2017 @ 6:29am
      stu said | November 16th 2017 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      It is good that we qualified for Russia.
      The reality is last nights performance against a lowly Honduras was terrible.
      Now would be a good time for AP to move on.
      Many would suggest that at least we got there, good, bad or ugly, but surely we can’t ignore the future.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 7:04am
        chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:04am | ! Report

        Stu were you watching the game?
        So when you take into account the fact that it was 90mins of do or die effort for both teams, everything they’ve worked for over the past 3 years on the line, you say “The reality is last nights performance against a lowly Honduras was terrible.”
        What were you expecting exactly?

        • November 16th 2017 @ 7:48am
          stu said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

          Of course I watched the game, and of course I expect a reaction such as yours. If you are happy with what you saw I am not going to argue with you. In my opinion, my point remains. The time is right for change and Australia did not play well, they are professionals without direction and played a style totally contrary to what AP flagged how they would play. Yes it was an occasion.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 7:54am
            chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

            What do you suggest they do? New players? New coach? New playing system?
            Are there players in the team that shouldnt be there?

          • November 16th 2017 @ 7:56am
            punter said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

            There was a lot at stake mate.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 8:51am
            Brainstrust said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

            in terms of defense it has been less chances for the opposition than in any other match, maybe thats because the oppositon relied on long ball, addition of both Jurman and Jedinak counteract the long ball and they finally had the back three a bit deeper in defense so the ball, so the ball over the top did not catch them out so easy. Honduras took their only chance of the match thanks to a goal keeping error whereas in other matches the Australian defence was very porous.
            In terms of the play its been an improvement on a lot of the stuff especially with Behich over Brad Smith. I think the surface was decptive it looked good but it was a bit uneven.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 9:19am
            Darren said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report


          • November 16th 2017 @ 9:42am
            ballon door said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

            Completely agree. Australia were laboured and poor against a truly woeful team. How Honduras got this far I have no idea. Thailand were better. You’ve gotta wonder how they managed to beat Mexico. Behich was very good in Honduras and in the first half last night. But we need desperately need a striker. Hard to see how they’re going to score goals in Russia except from Cahill’s head or set pieces. Good report Evan.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 10:54am
              chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              Maybe you need to watch the Confeds Cup where they scored goals against opposition similar to what they will face in Russia.

        • November 16th 2017 @ 9:42am
          Cool N Cold said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          If Socceroos played like that in the match against Japan in Japan months ago, Socceroos would have qualified directly without playoff matches with Syria and Honduras.

          That is the reason Ange got so much pressure after losing to Japan in Japan.

          Anyhow, FFA earn or lose in these 4 additional matches v Syria and Honduras?

      • November 16th 2017 @ 8:08am
        Andy said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        You do realise Honduras beat Mexico and scored 3 goals in doing so, reasonable quality so keeping them to 1 goal over two legs is doing pretty well

        • November 16th 2017 @ 8:27am
          chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

          Exactly right. People are now saying “how poor Honduras were over the 2 legs”. Its as if the Aussies were just innocent by-standers and had nothing to do with Honduras “looking so poor”.

          • Roar Rookie

            November 16th 2017 @ 8:35am
            Grobbelaar said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

            Stop talking up Honduras – they were Hopeless with a capital H.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 8:40am
              Nemesis said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              Every team that loses often looks bad. Not just in football, any sport. Your favourite sport of AFL, the Grand Final produces matches where the losing team is Hopeless with Capital H more often than not.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 10:54am
              R King said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              Which makes Mexico what? Maybe, just maybe, they were made to look as bad as they were. But lets not give AP and the players too much credit shall we.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 10:57am
              chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

              Your opinions are useless. Stick to AFL

        • November 16th 2017 @ 9:33am
          Cool N Cold said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          Mexico had probably fill the team with grade B players in that match as that was a dead rubber match for the Mexicans. Mexico team had qualified earlier.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 3:37pm
            Cool N Cold said | November 16th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

            People do not know what a dead rubber match means?

        • November 16th 2017 @ 10:11am
          AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

          Yes they did beat Mexico but they’d already qualified and arguably had nowhere near as much to play for.

          My impression of Honduras was that they were nowhere near as dangerous or skilful as Syria. The game against Syria was edge of seat and I think we actually played better in home leg against Syria than we did last night. That said easily the best performance the 4 playoff legs this last month or so was last Saturday in San Pedro Sula.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 10:26am
            Nemesis said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

            That’s nonsense. Mexico took the lead 0-1. Then Honduras equalised. Then Mexico took the lead again. Seeding can be hugely important for the WC Groups & WCQs have a big impact on seeding.

            In the past 2 Concacaf final matches, USA had already qualified but, in the final minute of the final games in their groups, the USA kept focus & scored goals that knocked out their opponents.

            In 2010 final qualifier, Costa Rica was leading 0-2 away vs USA and that score would allow CRC to go to Sth Africa. USA had already qualified. USA scored with 20′ to play, then scored the equaliser in stoppage time. CRC were eliminated.

            In 2014 final qualifier, Panama was leading 2-1 at home vs USA as the match entered stoppage time after 90′. With this score, Panama would finish 4th and play off against Oceania. Mexico would be eliminated. USA scored 2 goals in stoppage time & Panama was eliminated.

            So, there is no reason to think Mexico just went through the motions. This is international football. It’s not a friendly. Every game counts.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 10:40am
              alexandriablues said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

              What is the point of your 2010 and 2014 WCQ?

              Clearly, Mexico finished top of the CONCACAF despite losing to Honduras. Simple as that.

              • November 16th 2017 @ 3:46pm
                Cool N Cold said | November 16th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                In 2010 Honduras got 1 point. Drew with Switzerland. No goal.

                In 2014 Honduras got a name called “3 eggs”, Zero goal, Zero point (or zero draw) and Zero win.

                Rubbish team according to the above statistics.

                What would be like when there are 48 teams in the finals?

            • November 16th 2017 @ 10:50am
              Albo said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

              Yep ! Mexico is ranked 16th in the FIFA world rankings, and even their “B team” that has been suggested might have played in the Honduras clash, would still be a quality outfit and desperate to force their way into the “A team” for Russia. At the end of the day Honduras have been to two recent WC finals ( 2010 & 2014), and are currently ranked 69th , so beating them was never going to be an easy task. Australia did very well over both legs to restrict them to two shots on goal for the tie.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 11:53am
              AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

              Not suggesting Mexicans weren’t motivated but to your point I dare say the motivation to stay alive in qualification is much greater than motivation for rankings for Mexico. Honduras beating Mexico 3-2 is a great result but its also important to look at the big picture rather than a one off result.

              In the other tie Mexico played with Honduras which was live – Honduras got beaten 3-0. Honduras also lost 6-0 to USA who couldn’t qualify. We’ve comfortably beaten them with 135 minutes of very good football (first 45 last night was average at best).

              So yeah, good win in their last qualifer against an already qualified Mexico but the results in totality (including the just completed two legged playoff) of three wins from 12 matches suggest they aren’t that great a team and the result of this playoff is a reflection of that..

          • November 16th 2017 @ 10:59am
            chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Yes but people were saying how hopeless we were against Syria. There is a group of so called “supporters” who never ever give credit regardless of the circumstances. When we win the other team were hopeless, when we lose we’re pathetic and when we draw its “boring”.

            • November 16th 2017 @ 11:40am
              AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

              I’m not sure what you are getting at with me because I didn’t say we were hopeless against Syria. Anyone who suggests Honduras were more dangerous than Syria wasn’t watching those games. I also said our best performance was away against Honduras. That’s where this tie was set up to win. Anyway.

              • November 16th 2017 @ 12:59pm
                chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                Not having a go at you at all. I was just making the point that with some people you just cant win. I think you get to a stage (like Ange) where you just start to ignore those comments as they take up too much time and energy to try and rebut.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Nemesis said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Some people are never happy.

        In Nov 1997, AUS played scintillating football for 70 minutes. Iran were rubbish. Utterly crap. Whilst Hondruas were well-organised in defence, Iran was shambolic. Australia should’ve been 7-0 up before Harry scored the opening goal.

        What happened? Iran ended up going to France in June 1998 & the best assembled individuals in any AUS team I’ve seen in 40+ years went on holidays.

        So, don’t give me this nonsense “Honduras were poor”. Honduras were not allowed to play their game. And, no doubt, Australia were not allowed to play our game to perfection. That’s the nature of sport.

        In the 2014 World Cup Finale, the 2 best nations in that tournament were not allowed to play their game to the best of their ability & it was not because they were crap.

        I sometimes wonder how much football some people watch.

    • November 16th 2017 @ 7:07am
      jamesb said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      Whatever happens, it has been a great effort by Ange. When Australia qualified in previous world cups, they still had to rely on the class of 2006.

      Four years ago, we still had Schwarzer, Neill, Wilkshire, Bresciano and Kennedy,( with the winner )still playing for Australia.

      Ange had to step in after Australia got beaten 6-0 by both Brazil and France. Today, the squad is entirely different. Only Timmy remains from 2006.

      This squad heading into Russia, will be much more battle hardened. They had to do it the hard way. And because of that, you just never know what happens in Russia.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 9:27am
        Lionheart said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        battle hardened, and with options in most positions

        • November 16th 2017 @ 10:22am
          Phil of Sydney said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report


        • November 16th 2017 @ 4:23pm
          Martyn said | November 16th 2017 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

          If they lose the next match your excuse will be “To many games, exhaustion”

          • November 16th 2017 @ 4:31pm
            Nemesis said | November 16th 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

            The potential next match for the National Team is in the period:

            19-27 Match 2018, which is 123 days away.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 5:15pm
            Lionheart said | November 16th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            it’s the national team – if they work hard and aren’t slacking they will always get my support, regardless of the result.

    • November 16th 2017 @ 7:08am
      AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      First 45 was as poor a half as I’ve seen from Australia in a long time. Extremely listless. That said we still looked more capable than Honduras. I was genuinely surprised over the course of the two legs as to how poor that team was.

      Fortunately we came out with far more vigour in 2nd half and we got what we deserved with the goals to send us to Russia. The margin off victory 3-1 over two legs was about right – though I think the Honduras goal was only their second shot over the whole tie.

      It’s very easy to suggest that we are in trouble when we are still relying on a 37 yo in tim Cahill but his ability to fashion out a chance from nothing with his header that hit the bar is truly exceptional. Is there anyone who really doesn’t think that Cahill wouldn’t have buried the header from six yards that fell jurics way in 1st leg. That he played 120 against Syria and another 65 last night coming of a rolled ankle showed that age is clearly not a factor.

      That said the player of the tie was mile Jedinak. He was head and shoulders above the rest even without the goals he scored.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 7:19am
        chris said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

        AGO74 saying “It’s very easy to suggest that we are in trouble when we are still relying on a 37 yo in tim Cahill ” is something a non committed fan would say. I hear it in the office where cricket & league fans etc say the same thing.
        Tim scores important goals no doubt about that. (Strikers should be doing that right)?
        Roger Mila was 42 (going from memory) when he scored in the WC finals in Italy in 1990. I don’t think its done that country any harm in the ensuing years.

        • November 16th 2017 @ 9:25am
          whiskeymac said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          if we can unearth our own version of Samuel Eto’o am sure no one will argue.

        • November 16th 2017 @ 10:15am
          AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          I agree Chris. People seem to admire that Cam smith and JTin nrl are 34 and seemingly getting better (and they are) but the same argument seemingly doesn’t apply in football.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 10:23am
        Phil of Sydney said | November 16th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        ” Extremely listless. ” Surely you are referring to Honduras ?!?!

        • November 16th 2017 @ 11:56am
          AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          When you compared to what we produced on saturday and in the 2nd 45 and we only have one shot on goal against a team that were equally listless, yeah we were listless in first half.

        • November 16th 2017 @ 1:06pm
          nachos supreme said | November 16th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          no listless is right for that first half there was very little movement from Australia off the ball and by movement I mean moving to create a passing option for the man on the ball.

    • November 16th 2017 @ 7:12am
      Waz said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

      Last nights performance is not the game to judge Ange, the Roos or our footballing progress on. Last night was just about getting the win, and doing it under tremendous pressure. Who cares if it took a deflected goal and two penalties – we’re there, in Russia, for the fourth consecutive WC, and football is $12m+ better off. It was another tense but great night for football ?

      • Roar Guru

        November 16th 2017 @ 7:34am
        Red Kev said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        Well said, we’re there, all the rest is chaff on the wind.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 7:55am
        stu said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        Yes we are there. The repeated theme is that we get there in an ugly fashion. Sure, we are a small fish in a huge pond, but do we want to remain small?

        • November 16th 2017 @ 8:03am
          jamesb said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

          If we want Australia to play beautiful football and become a real contender in the future, then start following the A League.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 8:30am
            punter said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

            Never a truer comment ever made on The Roar.

            Too many people complain about something that s not working & when asked to help to change, they are too busy.

          • November 16th 2017 @ 9:06am
            Post_hoc said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            Stat from last night, every player in the Socceroos squad who played last night (with the exception of Irvine) has played in the A league

            • November 16th 2017 @ 9:14am
              Nemesis said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

              I think you mean with exception of Bailey Wright?

              • November 16th 2017 @ 9:36am
                striker said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                Socceroos the talk of my office today, i reckon the rating would be very good after last night airing on prime time chanel 9.

              • November 16th 2017 @ 12:12pm
                Post_hoc said | November 16th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                my bad Thanks Nemisis, i blame lack of sleep, long trek home after last nights game

            • November 17th 2017 @ 12:02am
              j,binnie said | November 17th 2017 @ 12:02am | ! Report

              post Hoc – It always surprises me when I read statements like this.
              If you consider the average age of most of the Socceroos team is around 25, it means that they were 14 when the HAL started
              So why would the outstanding youth players among that age group not progress up through the ranks of that competition.
              The real worry is that most of the Socceroos are still going off shore to play their football and the answer to that question is really the case worth investigating. Cheers jb.

              • November 17th 2017 @ 5:43am
                punter said | November 17th 2017 @ 5:43am | ! Report


                There is so much wrong with this statement, I don’t even know where to start, but for you I’ll try;

                1. The reason PH would bring this up is that lots of the media & fans complain about the lack of ability of the A-League to produce players like the NSL, well we just qualified for a WC with A-League players, so a worthy comment by PH.
                2. Every country in the world loses players to offshore competitions, bar maybe England, so why is it unusual that Australia does likewise.

              • November 17th 2017 @ 6:39am
                Kurt said | November 17th 2017 @ 6:39am | ! Report

                5 of england under-21s are currently plying there trade in germany

              • November 17th 2017 @ 9:31am
                j,binnie said | November 17th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

                Punter – Let ME try again.
                Most players playing for this present Socceroo squad would have been playing junior football when the HAL came into existence in 2005.
                By doing some simple arithmetic it is then correct to say that somewhere along their career paths they would have played in our top competition,the HAL..
                But it is also true to say that of the present squad most of the payers are playing overseas.
                While there may be some explanation to this ,money,ambition, adventure,etc it is also true to say ,almost without exception, that our 10 HAL clubs embark on an annual pilgrimage overseas to sign what I will call players to fill “key” positions.

                Now punter, those two indisputable facts can only have one conclusion.

                (1) Young local players,having played in an HAL club, appear to take any opportunity to move overseas, and, let’s be honest, not always to what could be termed “top” clubs.
                It could be argued that they are in fact “finishing” their football education and my simple retort to that is,if true,why can’t they finish their education here in the HAL?.

                (2) What would happen to the standard of our HAL football if,overnight, the FFA decided to ban the “importation” of overseas players?.
                Sure it would create at least 30 or 40 “new” places in the “top tier” for local kids,but as I asked ,what of the standard of football?.

                So you see Punter,it is not so difficult to understand,we now have a vibrant professional league, but there is a line of thought that, although it has improved our standard of football, it still does not have enough quality to create a squad of 23 locally BASED players to fill Socceroo needs.

                Now to involve wishful thinking ,wouldn’t it be nice if our HAL supplied,on merit, 70% of our “run on” teams to go to Russia?.That won’t happen of course but wouldn’t it still be nice to dream?. Cheers jb.

              • November 17th 2017 @ 9:52am
                Redondo said | November 17th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

                JB – it’s an interesting problem. Apart from the really big leagues (England, Germany, Italy, Spain) most leagues don’t supply many players for the league’s national team. See this analysis of 2014 World Cup squads:


                The A-League would need a higher salary cap (overall or perhaps just for under-23s) to have any hope of retaining players.

              • November 17th 2017 @ 9:57am
                punter said | November 17th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

                I think the basic issue is the salary cap, hence why most football players leave here to earn more money even though they are not in bigger or better leagues then the HAL.

                What would the PL look like if they banned imports or La Liga (no Messi, no Ronaldo, no Grietzman)? You are acting as if A-League is doing something different to rest of the world.

              • November 17th 2017 @ 10:10am
                j,binnie said | November 17th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                Redondo – I did use the term “wouldn’t it be nice to dream”.
                I do recognise that only the top leagues in the world supply most of their national teams but that is not necessarily a measure of talent, it can be, as I said ,money,adventure, or ambition but if 4 or 5 of our Socceroo team were playing for Manchester City or Bayern Munich I would certainly not be advocating that a national coach should ignore them.
                However that is not the case and many of our selections are coming from leagues that I like to think would be at the same level as our HAL, but the facts suggest something else.
                For instance when our top teams play in the Asian Cup we don’t always achieve success no matter who the coaches are.
                The question to ask yourself is,if the salary cap was raised as you suggest, would the extra money be spent on retaining local talent or would it be used to “up” the standard of our imports.
                I for one, would not care to forecast that outcome. Cheers jb.

              • November 17th 2017 @ 10:19am
                Nemesis said | November 17th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

                Is playing in the domestic league important for the National Team XI?

                Where are they playing?

                CROATIA Staring XI that smashed Greece in Zagreb

                0 = Croatia
                1 = EPL, Ligue1, Bundesliga, Ukraine,
                3 = LaLiga
                4= Serie A

                DENMARK Staring XI that smashed Ireland in Dublin

                1 = Denmark, SerieA, Eredivisie, England Championship
                2 = LaLiga, Bundesliga
                3 = EPL

              • November 17th 2017 @ 10:27am
                Redondo said | November 17th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

                JB – how the salary cap gets spent is an issue. That’s why I suggested maybe only relax it for under-23s (Australians only). It could also be relaxed for over-30 Australians. But that raises another issue – where are the over-30 Australians with the skills of a Ninkovic or Broich or Castro?

          • November 16th 2017 @ 11:16am
            DevelopmentTheKey said | November 16th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

            I would argue its more about the development programs.

            Development programs need to be cheap to access for parents and readily available to large numbers of children from all backgrouns and classes. Identification of talent should not be done too early and definitely should not before the child is a teenager.

            Development programs in Australia are headed completely in the opposite direction. The Development programs have become a business where people need to earn a living, largely from the fees they can charge parents. Development programs are becoming increasingly expensive. Development selection is happening much earlier and kids are being streamed long before their potential becomes apparent. You shouldn’t have to be a phycologist to work out all the complex negative situations this type of development process can create. Many development programs become about what the parents can afford to pay (with all types of associated expectations which are ultimately negative) or become focused on only a relatively few identified players who have an incredible amount of focus and attention on them at a very early age.

            Basically if you want a development program to be successful. Keep the mass of poor and middle class kids involved in the game by making it cheap to be involved, equitable where everyone gets a go and make it interesting so the kids want to be involved. Make sure their parents don’t have to choose between having their child being involved in the game and being able to afford a healthy diet for their child. Then the development programs will likely produce good players in spades and a few super stars will also turn up. But as I said, Australia is headed in the completely opposite different direction to this (and has been for some time now).

      • November 16th 2017 @ 8:28am
        AGO74 said | November 16th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        I agree last night wasn’t great – especially the 1st half – bit it was ultimately set up by Saturdays excellent performance in San Pedro Sula. I think the Hondurans were just about mentally beaten after Saturday not as much about Honduras failing to win but via our clearly being the better team in the Hondurans backyard. And Ange can take credit for that.

    • November 16th 2017 @ 7:27am
      Nick Symonds said | November 16th 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Four in a row. Socceroos are building a reputation now.

      First we take Russia, then we take Qatar!

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