The Americans are staying on a man-made island at a resort whose best suites cost $16,500 a night and come with a huge jacuzzi…
There’s more to a team than just the players. Together they take on collective characteristics more important than their individual abilities.
The Socceroos exhibited some key traits against Peru that ultimately got the job done to take Australia to the World Cup: a good culture, ambition, belief, boldness, depth, emotional balance, resilience and unity.
A good culture
There was no-one in the starting 11 or on the bench bigger than the team. This was epitomised by Mat Ryan, the captain, not sulking when he was subbed out just prior to the penalty shootout for Andrew Redmayne.
The Socceroos always maintained the ambition of qualifying for the World Cup, even when most people had written them off.
Without this, you can’t achieve anything as a person or an organisation. It means that as a team in football everyone, including Football Australia, the coaching staff and the players, had faith and confidence in themselves. As a team it meant that the players could perform to their optimum level.
To be bold meant that the coaching staff and team were willing to take risks, which is needed to win sudden-death football. It was epitomised by the move to bring on Redmayne as goalkeeper for the penalty shootout. You need to have the courage to take chances, which Graham Arnold had in spades despite his coaching future being on the line. He risked the possibility of being belittled and embarrassed by taking the gamble of bringing Redmayne off the bench.
As a squad you need to have depth. It’s tough to win a tournament without backup players for key positions. There must be a player who can fill in when someone is injured or out of form. Three of the four outfield players subbed on scored in the penalty shootout, with two of the three currently playing in the A-League men’s competition. Some thought Andrew Redmayne shouldn’t have been included in the squad, but in the end he was the hero – and he took the Socceroos viral.
Plenty of football is played above the shoulders. It’s needed to have a strong character and resilience in times of adversity as a football team if you want to achieve success. Emotional balance is imperative because everyone needs to be in sync in an emotional sense. It’s a test of how you play as a team. It took emotional balance to keep composed for the penalty shootout, especially when Martin Boyle stepped up to take the first penalty kick, which was saved by the Peru goalkeeper.
When it seemed like the whole world expected the Socceroos to lose, they had strong resolve and never gave up.
It would’ve been easy for Mat Ryan to sit around and sulk, but he did the opposite and celebrated with the players in the starting 11 and those on the bench after Redmayne made the save that put the Socceroos into the World Cup.
The Socceroos coaching staff had faith in our A-League players, as there’s nothing wrong with the standard of the domestic competition. It gave them more players to choose from, including having Kye Rowles and Mathew Leckie in the starting line-up against Peru. Three of the five players who came off the bench are currently in the A-League: Jamie Maclaren, Craig Goodwin and of course Andrew Redmayne.