The Socceroos need to do more than just participate in the World Cup

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    So the Socceroos saved their worst until last and another FIFA World Cup campaign ends with more questions than answers.

    Full credit to a Peru side that played with passion and pride and, most importantly, took their chances in last night’s 2-0 win.

    The loss ended Australia’s World Cup campaign with a whimper – although the result was a moot point, since France and Denmark played out a mutually beneficial scoreless draw in the group’s other game anyway.

    And after starting with so much promise, the Bert van Marwijk era ended with a frustratingly bitter aftertaste.

    The Dutchman deserves a round of applause for doing a decent job overall at such short notice. Had the bounce of the ball and a couple more decisions gone Australia’s way, we might be lauding him in the same breath as Guus Hiddink.

    But, as Craig Foster alluded to in his post-game comments on SBS, what attracted Football Federation Australia to Van Marwijk was also his Achilles’ heel. As a European coach with a career built on conservatism, he never really seemed to believe the Socceroos had the talent to take the game to their opponents.

    That’s why he held back Daniel Arzani, that’s why Tim Cahill didn’t come off the bench against Denmark, and that’s why Massimo Luongo didn’t see a single minute of action for the second World Cup in a row.

    Daniel Arzani

    Daniel Arzani. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    But Van Marwijk is not to blame here. As Foster said overnight, he did exactly what he was paid to do.

    And as tempting as it is to rip into the FFA and their executives – several of whom are said to have enjoyed first-class trips to Russia – it’s the football we should be talking about.

    But there do need to be some questions asked.

    Starting with the rumour about what happened after the game against Thailand in Melbourne last September, when Ange Postecoglou is alleged to have got wind of a plot to replace him before the World Cup with Graham Arnold and, believing he no longer had the backing of those in charge, had to be talked out of quitting with immediate effect.

    Because if Postecoglou wasn’t the coach the Socceroos needed playing an Australian brand of football, and a European coach like Van Marwijk prefers the Socceroos to sit back and absorb pressure until it’s too late, what style of football exactly should Australia be employing?

    That’s a question that needs answering now – not after we’ve wasted another four-year cycle ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

    And we’d better find a goal scorer quick-smart. Postecoglou never really rated Jamie Maclaren, while Tomi Juric barely seemed fit enough to lead the line in Russia. Is it any wonder we pinned so many of our hopes on Cahill?

    Yet the online reaction to the suggestion Cahill might feature against Peru speaks volumes about our immaturity as a football nation.

    It’s all well and good wanting to look learned about football by adopting a contrarian standpoint and forever scoffing at those who supposedly profess a less enlightened view.

    The problem with that is when a player like Cahill – the 38-year-old who, as was pointed out ad nauseam, only played 65 minutes for Millwall – comes off the bench and causes panic in the opposition defence anyway.

    But hey, you’d have to be stupid to think Cahill could have made a difference against France in the last ten minutes and Denmark over the final 15, right?

    At the end of the day, these issues revolve around much more than just three results in Russia. The Socceroos gave their absolute all and did their nation proud on the world stage.

    But it’s no good talking about a lack of quality up front against Peru, if it’s not accompanied by a simultaneous discussion about a lack of quality running through many other facets of the game.

    The Socceroos need to start planning to do more than merely participate in the World Cup. Otherwise, we’ll all be sitting here in four years having the exact same conversation.

    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 since December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (439)

    • June 27th 2018 @ 3:49am
      Ad-O said | June 27th 2018 @ 3:49am | ! Report

      I don’t think anyone is stupid for thinking Cahill could do something off the bench. I just think they’re wrong. And so does his club coach, and so does his national team coach.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 4:53am
        Trevor Payne said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:53am | ! Report

        I agreed

      • June 27th 2018 @ 6:58am
        Jonno said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

        Agree and so why was he picked becuase Gallop said so to appease the sponsors he was the face of cahiltex and Samsung and so had to go .non negotiable ..FFA should b sacked .misrable lot .

        • June 27th 2018 @ 7:53am
          Christo the Daddyo said | June 27th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

          He was picked because he was valuable as a squad member and mentor to some of the younger players. But he certainly wasn’t a critical member of the on-field team.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 9:12am
            sheek said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

            I agree with Christo here.

            Cahill was basically selected for two reasons.

            1. He was picked for his vast experience, knowledge & mentoring capacity.

            2. He was picked because there weren’t enough good young strikers to tip him out.

            The sponsorship angle may or may not be true, but makes a nice urban myth. And heck, let’s not let truth get in the way of a good conspiracy.

          • Roar Guru

            June 27th 2018 @ 11:14am
            Chris Kettlewell said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Only 14 of the 23 players in the squad took the field at any point. If there’s no point in anyone being there who hasn’t seen action in the tournament, then why aren’t the squads just 14, with the ability to make injury replacements? It was reasonable to think he was in the top 23, and whether he played or not was there as someone with the possibility to play, just like all the other players who saw no game time.

            All squads will have numerous players who will leave the world cup having seen no game time. That’s just the nature of the beast. That doesn’t automatically mean they were in the squad for dodgy reasons, and neither does it with Cahill.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 3:23pm
            jonno said | June 27th 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

            then he should have gone as an ambassador or guest of FFA not selected as a team member .give the young ones a go

        • June 27th 2018 @ 8:03am
          Fadida said | June 27th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

          The old FFA conspiracy trick.

          No evidence of course

          • June 27th 2018 @ 8:45am
            Mark said | June 27th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

            Same with Mike’s claim in the article. You have to wonder what’s changed between 6 months ago, when he alluded to it but refused to detail it, and now.

            That said, if it is true, the only problem I have with it is the FFA not following through on it. Not qualifying automatically and having to go through the playoffs was appalling, and the FFA should have had the courage to sack Ange for it.

            • June 27th 2018 @ 10:05am
              Fadida said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

              I agree Mark. These whispers about Ange hiring undermined and yet still nothing remotely concrete. I know a mate who knows a mate who knows an ex Socceroos hairdresser.

              And yes, Ange was very lucky not to be sacked

              • Columnist

                June 27th 2018 @ 10:28am
                Mike Tuckerman said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                You’re right – he was lucky not be sacked, which is presumably why he chose to step down before the World Cup anyway. And that’s precisely my point. Was that the plan?

              • June 27th 2018 @ 10:57am
                Mark said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Ange was totally paranoid by the end of his tenure. His media conferences were awful listening. Everyone was out to get him…everyone wanted him to fail…he repeated the same rubbish again and again.

                Just because he thought it was the case doesn’t mean it was true, though.

                If the FFA were planning to sack Ange all along before the World Cup, why did they try and talk him out of leaving, both before and after the playoffs? It makes absolutely no sense. If they’d sacked Ange they would have had to pay him out. Him walking did them a favour. Why would they talk someone out of doing them a favour?

              • June 27th 2018 @ 10:58am
                Fadida said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                The “plan” is a separate issue Mike. These unfounded conspiracy issues are what we are discussing. Evidence please.

                Btw, I loved your WC lead up articles. Just thought I’d say that before we lock horns over all things FFA and the doomsday articles begin again. 🙂

              • June 28th 2018 @ 1:53pm
                The plan said | June 28th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                Of course it wasn’t the plan. They planned for Ange to see out the tournament.

                They let Ange use his kamikaze tactics and didn’t try to interfere despite everyone seeing they were leaving us exposed against weak Asian sides and putting us through Qualification finishing behind an absolutely atrocious Saudi Arabian team because Ange wanted more goals….

                When he quit the original plan was to give it to Arnold but he didn’t want to go to a WC with Ange’s team.

                They then appointed a highly skilled, pragmatic and highly respected manage who made the World Cup final with a decidedly average Dutch squad who was within the price range we could afford to try and salvage the tournament and not come out of it with 12 against and 0 for.

                I mean you’re a football journalist and this is all either publicly available information or easy to infer by the events that happened, stop trying to write click bait and respect the sport.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 3:25pm
            jonno said | June 27th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

            the lack of game time is evidence enough BVM didnt want him there or he would have played

          • June 28th 2018 @ 8:50am
            Jonno said | June 28th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

            The evidence is that cahiltex signage on all Caltex outlets was realeased same day as announcement of squad members team announcement

      • June 27th 2018 @ 10:04am
        jameswm said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        He can’t have done less than the other strikers against Denmark.

        If you’re on top and getting chances in the box, you seriously think we have other guys with more chance of getting the ball in the back of the net than Cahill?

        • June 27th 2018 @ 10:07am
          Fadida said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          He was good for about 15 minutes this morning, but it was noticeable that a)he was very slow b) he’s lost his leap c)he contributed nothing to the build up

          • June 27th 2018 @ 10:50am
            Redondo said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            Yep – a, b and c were all commented on by 4 out of 4 viewers where I live.

            We would be through to the last 16 if we had a striker but Cahill is not the answer anymore.

            • Roar Guru

              June 27th 2018 @ 11:20am
              Chris Kettlewell said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

              I do also think that it’s more than just having “a striker”. All the more attack minded players need to be better at finding the net. Look around all these other teams in the world cup, strikes on goal aren’t just limited to the #9. That first strike from Peru wasn’t the #9. The fact is that pretty much all the players who started for the Socceroos, if they received that ball, would have tried to control it before shooting, they wouldn’t have done a first touch shot like that, and in doing so, they would have been closed down before getting the shot off.

              All our attacking players need to spend as much time as possible working on getting those first touch shots away from all sorts of different balls. Let’s not just place our hopes on finding the mythical striker capable of scoring goals for us. We need more goals from more places.

              The fact is, this has been the Socceroos issue for years. In all the work Ange put into trying to build more fluent play, nothing seems to have been done about trying to get players to improve lethality in front of goal.

              • June 27th 2018 @ 11:39am
                Redondo said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

                I kind of agree but defending our non-strikers is made far easier because we don’t have a decent striker who draws defenders.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 4:51pm
            Basil said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

            I also think a) Rogic is slow, has no leap, can’t score at this level, and gives the ball up too easily. b) Juric is the same and c) both can’t use being 38 as an excuse.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 7:51pm
          sheek said | June 27th 2018 @ 7:51pm | ! Report


          The Danes had a lot of tall timber in their defensive line which would also have helped nullify Cahill’s effect.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 10:09pm
        Barnaby's newborn said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

        People on here being critical of Australia’s efforts have not been around the block yet with this game. There are 200 plus nations that enter the World Cup, only 32 qualify. No Scotland, no Wales, no Italy, no Lithuania. No fucking New Zealand. You don’t hear how smug they are when the proper World Cup rolls around now do you? That’s because they are not good enough to be there.

        Australians are not the greatest sportsmen in the world. Learn to accept that and find honour in the challenge. We don’t get too many Nobel prizes also.

        We always knew deep down that we have deficiencies in our game. That we struggle to score, we have a leaky defence. We don’t have enough quality in Australia. But in 10 years maybe we will be better. I reckon we are better than we ever have been and I reckon I know something as I have watched our team since the early 1980s.

        Look at the improvements. We used to get to see the Socceroos play an overseas team here on summer holidays, like a Juventus or an Everton. Then we would get NZ for a few matches here and there and all our players were semi pro. They all worked. Just watch some old highlights to look at how much better things have gotten.

        • June 28th 2018 @ 12:21pm
          Sydneysider said | June 28th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Well said Barnaby.

          “Australians are not the greatest sportsmen in the world. Learn to accept that and find honour in the challenge. We don’t get too many Nobel prizes also.”

          Spot on.

    • June 27th 2018 @ 3:57am
      Nick Symonds said | June 27th 2018 @ 3:57am | ! Report

      “If the Socceroos were a cricket team… We’d have four military medium pacers, an offie who can’t spin it and several batsmen who play with a straight bat but can’t hook or pull.” – Tom Morris

      • June 27th 2018 @ 6:50am
        tim said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:50am | ! Report

        Mind you, the man with the gloves in Russia had more scoring potential than the man with the gloves in England

      • Roar Rookie

        June 27th 2018 @ 9:22am
        The Phantom Commissioner said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        ….and we’d cheat and still lose

      • June 27th 2018 @ 9:30am
        Mark said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        Basically 2010/11 squad? Hilfenhaus, Bollinger, (slow) Siddle, and Doherty. With Clarke, Ponting completely out of form.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 10:15am
        Duncan Smith said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Ha ha, brilliant.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 10:33am
        Duncan Smith said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        In your analogy, Arzani and Cahill are like the gun leg spinners that never get given a bowl. Or rather, by the time the conservative captain throws them the ball, the game is already lost.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 10:42am
          Art said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          Everyone going about Arzani. Great young talent but had no impact when he came on last night.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 27th 2018 @ 11:48am
            The Phantom Commissioner said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            Wasn’t as good as the Denmark game but did some decent things. Nice volley that dipped over the bar and some nice footwork to draw a free kick just outside the D which Jedinak didn’t convert…2 chances provided isn’t that bad going. Again we wonder what impact he could have made when we where on top in the first 15 mins.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 11:16am
        brian said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        exactly we are like Zimbabwe or Ireland and yet half the comments here want us to go to the GABBA on day 1 and tell the openers I want to see 400 today so we can control the match

        • June 27th 2018 @ 11:53am
          Fadida said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          Good analogy. Some of them have spent far too much time drinking in the Gabba sun

          • June 27th 2018 @ 12:53pm
            JohnB said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

            Interesting philosophical question. Can there be too much time spent drinking in the Gabba sun? Is there that much time in the world?

            • June 27th 2018 @ 9:12pm
              Evan askew said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

              Actually the Australian football team is every bit as good as the Australian cricket team at it’s best. Ask yourself how good would the Australian cricket team be if everyone in the world played it like they play football?

    • June 27th 2018 @ 4:13am
      Nick Symonds said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:13am | ! Report

      List of men’s footballers with 50 or more international goals – Goals per match

      Gerd Müller – 1.10
      Pelé – 0.85
      Neymar – 0.64
      Ronaldo – 0.63
      David Villa – 0.60
      Cristiano Ronaldo – 0.56
      Zlatan Ibrahimović – 0.53
      Miroslav Klose – 0.52
      Luis Suárez – 0.52
      Lionel Messi – 0.51
      Robin van Persie – 0.49
      Tim Cahill – 0.47

      • June 27th 2018 @ 4:54am
        Trevor Payne said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:54am | ! Report

        Don’t see Robin Van Persie in the Dutch team

        • June 27th 2018 @ 12:46pm
          pete4 said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          This campaign has shown a real penalty-box striker is exactly the position we need to develop after Peru sucker punched us last night. We just lacked that cutting edge in the final third

          The national curriculum really needs to focus on this aspect to progress our NT

        • June 27th 2018 @ 11:46pm
          Beny Iniesta said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

          Didn’t see the Dutch team in the World Cup. I’m guessing the Dutch failure to qualify may have had something to do with a lack of goals.

          Aren’t there any good goalscorers available in the Netherlands they could have been playing?

      • June 27th 2018 @ 7:25am
        Liquor said | June 27th 2018 @ 7:25am | ! Report

        Imagine if the great players got to play weak Oceania opponents in their careers

        • June 27th 2018 @ 7:49am
          Josh said | June 27th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          To be fair, Cahill has played most of his international football since we joined the Asian confederation. Also, the other players have all played against minnows in their own confederations, so you can’t claim each of their goals is somehow worth more.

          • Roar Guru

            June 27th 2018 @ 11:23am
            Chris Kettlewell said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            True, people always talk about the strength of Europe, but there are actually a significant number of very tiny, weak nations there also for the big nations to regularly beat up on in qualifying.

            • June 27th 2018 @ 12:13pm
              Ad-0 said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

              There’s probably 1 San Marino or Lichtenstein in each of their qualifying groups. The rest of the teams could easily beat Australia in their day. Norway, for example.

              • Roar Guru

                June 27th 2018 @ 3:18pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | June 27th 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                The groups for this qualifier are all here:

                There are plenty of weak nations there. The two teams Australia beat in the warm-up friendlies, Hungary and Czech Republic both finished third in their respective groups with 3 other teams behind them. Norway, finished behind the Czech Republic in qualifying, and Australia beat the Czech’s 4-0 in the warm-up friendly. So I don’t know where you get the idea that they would beat Australia easily in their day.

                Luxemberg, Belarus, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra, Azerbaijan, San Marino, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Malta, Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Gibralter, Cyprus, Estonia, Kosovo…

                There’s a bit list of nations there that I would consider any better than any of the minnows Australia faces in Asian qualifying.

              • June 27th 2018 @ 4:01pm
                Ad-O said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                Norway beat Oz 4-1 in March. The Czechs and Hungarians weren’t going to the world cup and were on the beach after a long season.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 9:22am
        MQ said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Archie Thompson has 0.52 goals per match in his international career. Perhaps Arch should have be selected ahead of Timmy?

        • June 27th 2018 @ 1:42pm
          RegGrundy said | June 27th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          American Samoa would have helped his average.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 8:50pm
        Patrick Moran said | June 27th 2018 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

        Its probably also worth considering that Cahill has played for a much weaker side than all of those legends. Whilst others have discussed the quality of opposition, clearly of the stated list, Cahill played in the weakest side, and logically would have had inferior delivery from teammates.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 27th 2018 @ 4:14am
      Mattician6x6 said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:14am | ! Report

      We didn’t have the talent to take the game to our opponents that is the truth.
      Bvm put a system in place that played to our strengths and looked to limit the damage our weaknesses could have caused. In a nutshell we are not that good but the team had huge belief in the tactics of bvm which was evident in the way they played and fact we did not turn in a bad performance.I also believe talk of Qatar is highly premature as we need to qualify first and foremost. What is Australian football? Imo it is like every nation, identifying the talent or strengths of your players and constructing a system that is built around that , it should never be creating a system then trying to make players fit when they are not suited to it which is what we saw during the ange period, which as seen bvm was in 6 mths able to bring the side together and be in our best position to progress since 2006, ange had 4-5 years to achieve that and was unsuccessful.
      They day will come when we have a true superstar striker but at this moment we don’t and a conservative/defensive approach is the appropriate way to play. When we have the players suited to a attacking brand then we should look at playing a style that is more taking it up to the opposition.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 4:25am
        Ad-O said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:25am | ! Report

        Agree 100%.

        Im not sure exactly what some of these comments are getting at when they say that Oz should have played more positively. We had plenty opportunities and more shots on goal than both Denmark or Peru.

        I think BvM did the best you could expect with the cattle he had.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 4:47am
          Bplol said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:47am | ! Report

          In the Argentina game you just have to watch the opening goal to see the difference. Messis first and second touch are sublime and he hits the goal. There isnt an australian player who has the technical proficiency to replicate that. We have good build up and no final product, this has been a problem for a long time and still is. The final third is the Australian problem, perhaps it is the way we are coached in juniors but we dont seem to produce any selfish strikers which is what is needed tp a degree.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 6:16am
            Mitcher said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:16am | ! Report

            News just in: Australia does not have a player the quality of Lionel Messi.

            Amazing stuff.

            • June 27th 2018 @ 10:06am
              jameswm said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              Who does?

              • June 27th 2018 @ 11:19am
                13th Man said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report


              • June 27th 2018 @ 1:48pm
                jameswm said | June 27th 2018 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                Yep. 1 team.

              • June 28th 2018 @ 4:55am
                Mitcher said | June 28th 2018 @ 4:55am | ! Report

                That’s my point…

            • Roar Rookie

              June 27th 2018 @ 12:54pm
              The Phantom Commissioner said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

              I’d be happy with a striker as good as Chris Wood let alone Messi, don’t laugh i’m serious he would be fantastic in this Australian side. Can we come to some kind of ANZAC agreement with New Zealand?

              • June 27th 2018 @ 5:34pm
                Trevor Payne said | June 27th 2018 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

                Yes we’d lovevChriscWoods how come Nz produced a striker like him ?

              • Roar Rookie

                June 27th 2018 @ 6:18pm
                The Phantom Commissioner said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

                Well to be fair he toiled away in the championship for many years before really breaking through at Leeds a couple of seasons ago. Now hes at Burnley in the Prem getting a goal every other game it seems. Who knows had Taggart been abit luckier with injury he’d be playing in Premier league with Fulham this season.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 8:48am
          Mark said | June 27th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Agree 100%.

          Look back at the qualifying games in the second phase, especially those against Thailand. When we struggle to create good chances and score against them, it’s hardly surprising that we’d also struggle at the World Cup against much better quality opposition.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 9:56am
            jbinnie said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            Mark – You are near the facts of the matter in this comment.
            The Socceroos played 25 games in this World Cup and it is OK to break those games into sections, firstly, against the lesser lights in our area,secondly in a mid-range Asiatic group, thirdly in a play off situation, and then the World Cup proper.
            When one looks at these 4 areas in context a pattern tends to show,and using the goals for and against as a measure here is how we performed.
            Section One- played 8 matches scoring 29 goals, conceding 4 goals
            Section Two – played 12 games, scoring 19 goals ,conceding 13 goals.
            Section Three – Played 2 games scoring 3 goals conceding 1 goal.
            Section Four – Played 3 games scoring 2 goals ,conceding 5 goals.

            Now you don’t have to be an Einstein to notice the falling off of goal scoring the higher up the standard of opponent we were playing against.and when you add the fact that of those 53 goals scored, 23 of them were scored by 2 veterans of the team, Jedinak with 12 ,Cahill with 11.

            Again you don’t have to be an Alex Ferguson to pin-point where our main problem lies ,it would appear no matter how well we play over a game we still find netting a huge problem when facing improving opponents. Cheers jb.

            • June 27th 2018 @ 12:02pm
              Albo said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

              Spot on jb !
              It is the same problem we have had for a decade or more. There is nothing wrong with the set up or style of play. We created enough opportunities to have won all three group matches. But we failed yet again to find the net or wasted yet another cross. We are still waiting for Kruse & Leckie to finally start delivering some goals that they have been promising to do now for a decade ? And we have kept the faith and kept picking them ? We need a more ruthless approach to team selections . After 8 years , 67 matches & just 5 goals surely we now know this attacking player has conned us ?

        • Roar Guru

          June 27th 2018 @ 8:54am
          BA Sports said | June 27th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          I think Australia had a crack – they just weren’t good enough. You need skill and luck to progress and Australia had neither in sufficient quantities. Maybe they used it up getting past Syria and Honduras?

          As for the coach/approach – I am not a technical expert but scoring goals has been a problem long before he came on board. What was it 45 shots for 2 goals v Thailand – Set piece deflections and penalty spot goals v Honduras – Scoring goals consistently has been a problem for this team. They make half chances but lack the touch and finish of the best nations.
          So they are not one of the best 16 nations in the World. I don’t think anyone would argue they were. Probably a couple of outstanding talents away from being able to compete for a top 20 position regardless of who is the coach.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 10:00am
            sheek said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

            BA Sports – I agree with this.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 11:15am
            Muglair said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            I am a former rugby player who went to the Asian Cup Final, have seen bits and pieces since and watched last night’s game.

            Current rankings are France (7), Peru (11), Denmark (12) and Australia (36). On that basis it looks like we gave a good account of ourselves but under Ange we always looked disjointed and definitely unable to score so 36 probably lower than the real quality of the team. I thought we made a lot of constructive and accurate passing under tight marking. This has not been obvious to me in the last six years or so.

            We have not had, and do not have, the players who can create and convert. Cahill to my mind looked like an attacking mid-fielder with a real knack of being in the right place to score regularly.

            All our players seem to need to much time on the ball getting set rather than a first time touch. Is it possible to do a better job identifying and developing the players who can score goals?

            • June 27th 2018 @ 11:51am
              Lionheart said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

              I’m sure it is Muglair. I played rugby too, and league and still follow both but became a soccer fan watching the 2006 World Cup. Stick with it – watch our teams play champions league against Asian clubs for a comparator of ball skills.

            • June 27th 2018 @ 12:08pm
              lunchboxexpert said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              If you follow rugby union then you will know that a significant number of Wallabies are not born in Australia but instead come to Australia after the age of about 10 or later. This is something Australian Football needs to pick up not only to improve to make the round of 16 and beyond but indeed if it wants to remain in contention for Qatar 2022.

              • June 27th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                Kangas said | June 27th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                I’ve been saying this

                We need to delve into our African talent and other multicultural talents now , even if we recruit in a way , just as rugby league and union do with pacific countries .

                Look at Belgium and their African talent .

      • June 27th 2018 @ 6:10am
        Trevor Payne said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:10am | ! Report

        Maybe the A League is not helping. The main strikers and play makers are foreigners. We need more A League teams and reduce the number of foreign players on the pitch. I say that as a Sydney fan who loves our foreign players .

        • June 27th 2018 @ 8:16am
          Old Greg said | June 27th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          I’ve been saying this for five years. The only good Aussie strikers in the A-League are Adam Taggart, and if he got more starts at CF, Blake Powell.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 10:05am
          sheek said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report


          Do we really need more teams in the A-League, or restrict the number of imports, both overall & per position?

          I think it’s good to have overseas players, but not if every team has a striker. You need a mix through the team of locals & overseas, so the locals can be tested, & improve.

          Also, what’s the optimum number of teams? Too many, & the talent is diluted.

          You want as many games as possible every weekend to be truly competitive.

          Which brings me to NZ. If we’re going to have NZ involvement, it should be either two teams, or none. Bring back Auckland, or get rid of Wellington.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 10:39am
            Graham O'Brien said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            Too many teams and the talent is diluted, obviously but you have to look at the number of players overall, and the number of teams sitting below the A League at the semi-pro level with players not getting an opportunity. There’s no shortage of players with potential, but there are limited opportunities available.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 11:44am
            Lionheart said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

            Sheek, I believe we have a long way to go before we dilute the talent, given our player numbers it’s opportunities we need.
            Now that the FFA has closed the Centre of Excellence at the AIS and rely instead on individual club academies, I believe they’ll have to allow transfer fees between clubs in Australia. They should also have an allowance, maybe 50% discount, in the Salary Cap for club developed players.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 4:27pm
            Andrew Browne said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

            Foreign player restriction by position is how Ireland manages the provincial rugby teams to benefit the national team – ditto about dictating styles of play, although that is more of a 2 way thing. it works for them but they have centralised contracts where all players play for Ireland and are loaned to their provincial team. I doubt you could do that legally with the A League but it would be great if possible.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 4:28pm
            Andrew Browne said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

            Foreign player restriction by position is how Ireland manages the provincial rugby teams to benefit the national team – ditto about dictating styles of play, although that is more of a 2 way thing. it works for them but they have centralised contracts where all players play for Ireland and are loaned to their provincial team. I doubt you could do that with the A League but it would be great if possible.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 11:16am
          Redondo said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

          The A-League is not the problem. A young striker would get a game if they were good enough. But we just don’t produce players with sufficient skills.

          I’ve seen quite a few young attacking players come and go from A-League teams and all shared one characteristic – poor touch. Even the ones who have made the move overseas have poor touch.

          Compare Berisha to any Aussie striker – his touch is in another league. His close control, dribbling, passing and awareness all put players like Juric and McClaren in the shade.

          Our problem is skills development long before any player gets near the A-League.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 12:37pm
            Mark said | June 27th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

            I was going to say something similar. The number of foreign strikers in the A-League is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. We are not developing enough good strikers locally, so clubs resort to imports to fill the gap.

            • June 27th 2018 @ 4:12pm
              Kris said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

              It is, you are right, but at the same time it is also about bang-for-buck.

              Go back far enough when there were restrictions in England and teams generally imported attacking players.

              If you are going to spend $200k on salary and your choices are the pool of right backs or the pool of strikers, you will always import a striker.

              Replacing your 10 goal Aussie forward with a 15 goal import might get you a title, replacing your Aussie RB with an import won’t make much difference (not as much).

          • June 27th 2018 @ 2:35pm
            Armand said | June 27th 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

            You hit the nail on the head. A top striker equals – control then shoot. We can’t do that

          • June 27th 2018 @ 11:55pm
            Beny Iniesta said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:55pm | ! Report

            Wasn’t Berisha eligible to play for Australia this year?

        • June 27th 2018 @ 1:38pm
          jbinnie said | June 27th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          Trevor -Quite an accurate statement .Last season nine out of the 10 HAL teams had “foreigners”, or to be politically correct “imported” strikers leading their front lines,only 1, CCM, missing out on that state of affairs and it may, or may not, be co-incidental that they finished bottom of the “pile”.
          Mind you there is another side to the story,,Brisbane imported or procured 3 strikers with overseas origins last year and we all know how they performed. Cheers jb.

    • June 27th 2018 @ 4:21am
      lunchboxexport said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      The trajectory of Australian football is clearly that they will not be at the next world cup final in Qatar 2022. As I have alluded to previously this can only really be averted by identifying and developing talent that has spent about the first ten years (or more) of their life overseas (in a country much healthier than Australia, so obviously the US doesn’t satisfy this criteria)

      • June 27th 2018 @ 6:54am
        tim said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

        The Asian confederation will still be weak enough for Australia to make the playoffs at the very least.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 11:02am
          Pauly said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          Tis more a numbers game. Given yet another poor showing from Asian teams this World Cup (current exception being Japan), it’s unlikely Asia’s allocation will be increased from 4.5 spots. With one spot going to perennial non-qualifier in host Qatar, that leaves 3.5 spots. 3.5 spots for the five qualified teams from Russia as well as up and coming Asian sides to fight for. I think we should instead focus on 2026.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 27th 2018 @ 11:39am
            Mattician6x6 said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

            I agree, focus on 2026 and use this initial four years to identify and develop the next generation to have a good crack in USA/mex/Canada.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 11:59am
            lunchboxexpert said | June 27th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report


            The host spot is independent of the 4.5 AFC allocation. So the AFC will have 5.5 slots.

            The problem for Australia is that other nations in Asia are quickly improving while Australia is slowly going backwards. The 2006 Australian team was a very good team, the 2010 team was still a very good team but slightly less so, the 2014 team was really just a good team and the 2018 team slightly less than this but can still be considered a good team. The risk is that if Australia relies on home grown players born and raised in Australia then it is probably going to fall off a Football cliff by 2022, no matter how good the Junior development programs are.

            Australian Football needs to be looking further a field for a good portion of its talent if it is to make the next world cup. And it needs to be realistic with the home grown talent born and raised in Australia and tell them that for almost all of them they are unlikely to make it to an international level and unlikely to be a Socceroos and that they need to be looking at their plan B becoming their Plan A. Let them just play Football for fun without the unrealistic expectations.

      • June 28th 2018 @ 3:22am
        Brendon said | June 28th 2018 @ 3:22am | ! Report

        I couldn’t care less if australia doesnt qualify for 2022. I wont be watching any games out of protest.

        2026 it will be harder not to qualify with 8 spots for afc. Maybe with world cup qualification much easier we can turn attention and resources to improving olympic and youth tournament results.

    • June 27th 2018 @ 4:36am
      lesterlike said | June 27th 2018 @ 4:36am | ! Report

      Cahill shouldn’t have even been in the squad, let alone on the pitch. The Media have been a joke this world cup with lazy criticism of BVM for not picking a 38yo who hasn’t even been playing. If we have to keep putting up with this garbage into the Asian Cup as well we might as well pack it in.

      • June 27th 2018 @ 6:04am
        Ad-O said | June 27th 2018 @ 6:04am | ! Report

        I felt the team played it’s worst football in the whole tournament while he was on the pitch. Not his fault, but we’d been finding space in behind then had to change the way we played.

        • June 27th 2018 @ 9:52am
          shirtpants said | June 27th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          We changed the way we played because after 230 minutes prior to Cahill coming on, doing the same thing and not scoring, it was pointless doing more of it. We didn’t do anything drastically different anyway. Progressively we got worse and worse last night. Second half was awful.

          • June 27th 2018 @ 10:16am
            Ad-O said | June 27th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            No doubt it was worth a go, but I think that 25mins showed why BvM decided on a younger, more mobile player.

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