Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Our worst Asia fears realized, then? Hardly.
The realization that “Asia won’t be a cakewalk” is new only to those with a blissfully unrealistic idea of Australia’s place in world football.
As for the performance(s) of the Young Socceroos, I wasn’t able to see the games; but Shane Davis and James Brown, two gentlemen whose footballing judgement I trust, are both of the view that we played the same sort of dour, unambitious football that our Under 20s produced in Holland last year. And that the eventual 2-1 scoreline against Korea flattered us.
It’s probably time for Ange Postecoglou to go, not necessarily because of the results – as I’ve already asserted, youth football should be more about “seeing what you’ve got” – but simply because he’s been in the gig long enough, and a fresh approach would be beneficial.
Perhaps the silver lining on what is admittedly a disappointing result is that we have been able to do a reconnaissance mission of sorts. With no disrespect to the Matildas, who have already competed successfully in Asia, I think it's fair to say that this was our first really testing assignment.
We have now experienced, in condensed form:
(a) The sort of availability issues which will no doubt dog us to some extent at senior level as well. For full international games we have the backing of FIFA’s rules on player release, but there are still bound to be problems – the recent comments from Mark Bresciano, if nothing else, make that quite clear.
(b) The need to produce quick, flexible defenders if we are to be competitive in Asia. One thing that many of those who saw the games in India mentioned was that our defence was often made to look leaden-footed by fast, tricky attackers – something that was evident also in Kuwait City, when the elusive Al-Mutwa made monkeys of the underdone Australian defence.
(c) The exigencies of an entire competition conducted in challenging conditions, against opposition who have, by and large, faced such conditions before.
We didn’t move to Asia for a cakewalk. We came for a challenge, and that is what we’re getting.
Quality of athlete.
The most glaring ommision from all player development debates atm.
The most glaring ommision from all player development debates atm....
Tend to agree with you.
On a related issue, it always makes me laugh when people wax tactical 'n' technical when reminiscing about Guus's time with the NT, when probably his most palpable contribution was to our fitness levels - something Tony Tannous over at RBA has recently alluded to.
Focusing on Centre Halves, who of the current generation would fit the bill in your view?
Its going to be interesting to see if we can start producing some good, mobile defenders.
PS- Patafta= not impressive at all. Burns= very impressive.
Personally, I think Neill's always been a central defender, and Emerton's best club form probably came as a right-back for Feyenoord. Chippers, meanwhile, just seems to have naturally become a defensively stronger player as he goes into his thirties and he established himself at left-back at club level before the national team.
Farina's backlines usually did lack pace I suppose, but IMO we've just played Neill, Emmo and Chippers in their most suited positions in recent times.
Even so, out of those three players, Emmo is the only really quick one. From memory, Neill also got beaten for pace a bit against Bahrain.
This is why I think Milligan should be the back up to Neill instead of Grella. And also that Beauchamp might never reach his potential in the national side.