Socceroos have a few questions to answer

This was the Socceroos first Asian Cup, played in less than perfect conditions, sticky and hot. But that is the climate in vast swaths of Asia during this time of the year. It is not just Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, or Djakarta, that have these conditions.
Its sweltering hot in India which could be a potential Asia Cup host as is Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and China, where temperatures can reach above 40C. Do we expect the same enervated performance from the Socceroos if these countries host the Asian Cup? Because the climate in Asia will always be an issue. It will be a bit too much to expect Australia, S.Korea, or Japan to continually host the Asian Cup.
On the other hand what should not have been an issue were defensive breakdowns shown by Patrick Kisnorbo, Brett Emerton, Mike Milligan, the bone headed Vincent Grella foul, the lackadaisical Lucas Neill taking the PK, and a host of other attitudinal and mental errors of judgement that a perceptive coach should have picked up on. You really don’t have to be a Guus Hiddink to address the casual preparation of the team to the Cup. A lot of this was mirrored on the field. Much of it reflected in the Australian media.
Mike Cockerill in the SMH getting defensive.
“Ultimately Australia were undone not by a demonstrably superior opponent, but by an act of wanton ill-discipline from Vince Grella, who raised an arm at Naohiro Takahara in a contest for a bouncing ball and was handed a straight red card by the Kuwaiti referee.”
How about Mark Viduka? Wasn’t he the weapon that the Socceroos had? The man who would pound the undersized Japanese defense? Harry Kewell? Lucas Neill? There is plenty of blame to go around. Why single out Grella? How about a Japanese team that could have seen deja vu after the Aloisi goal but chose not to?
“Japan cleared for a corner, but they knew they were in for a match.”
I thought it was the other way around. All week long we had heard statements like “To win the tournament you have to beat the best teams. Japan are the favorites and we have to finish them off first if we want to go on and win the cup,” said striker Aloisi. “Hopefully we won’t leave it until quite so late this time.”
The climate was a factor, being reduced to ten men was a factor, but the main factor was that the Socceroos put in a sub-standard performance all through the tournament save for the Thailand match. The Socceroos should take the Asian Cup seriously. Most of the worst offenders were the Premiership players who probably think of Asia as a large fan base for Man Utd, nothing more. I think the next coach should put an emphasis on younger, fitter players, and the A League. A more debatable question. Has Guus Hiddink’s good work been undone?

2 comments on “Socceroos have a few questions to answer
  1. This is all very true; but knowing many Asian people; especially from South East Asia; I don’t want the Japanese to win their 3rd Asian Cup in a row; but as an example: do Frenchmen (and a lot of others) like Lance Armstrong winning 7 straight Tour de Frances? Reading Shourin Roy’s analysis; Australia may have indeed fumbled and bumbled in the Asian Cup; but it might be a lesson in Humble Pie too. There’s something not quite right too, if I may use the term, the white boys just walked in and won the Asian Cup their first time.

  2. Socceroo fan
    I am a big fan of the Socceroos myself- loved them when they went that far in the World Cup. They were the underdogs, remember. There are any number of articles that I wrote on their success.
    But they were not the underdogs in this tournament, they were the favourites. I think all the hype really got to them, that they genuinely believed that the only thing that could keep them winning was the climate.
    Japan may or may not be a well liked country in that region but they are an old Asian power in soccer. As for Lance Armstrong, even Greg LeMond, the previous US Tour de France record holder (with three titles) questions Armstrong because of allegedly using performance enhancers. It is not just a simple matter of being anti-nationalistic. Armstrong is a polarizing figure as is Barry Bonds, who is close to breaking the record for home runs in baseball, but many believe took steroids.

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