Last night like so many other Aussie Football supporters I stayed up to watch the Asian Cup Final live from Doha. Personally i wished i was in Doha and had made the mad dash with a dozen or so other supporters just to watch the final against Japan.
Earlier in the night i attended a 21st birthday for one of my sons best mates. Whilst there i invited a few of the other parents back to my house to watch the game. In fact one bloke just invited himself and his family. But that was ok. Another guy is a Hockey nut. He loves the game as I love football. We have had many discussions over the years about the similarities and differences of the game etc. This time i was to show him why “Soccer” is such a passionate game. I told him to expect a very low scoring match, in fact I told him it will be an extra time winner to the Socceroos.
We made it home and then another mate arrived on the doorstep as well. 9 of us in the lounge room with beers and bourbon in hand.
What we witnessed was one of the most enthralling games the Socceroos have played in, in the past 4 years. They have built through the tournament like the good teams do in tournaments. And we came up against a Japan outfit who were always going to be tough. Our defense stood up to be counted like they have never done before IMO. Neil and the Og were absolutely fantastic as were Wilkshire and Carney in defense. And it was always going to be one mistake that broke the deadlock. That mistake came in the 109th minute when Carney was outsmarted by Japanese fresh legs and who then was able to nail a volley like it was his last.
every one of the Socceroos who played last night can be very proud of what they did on the park. We had our chances and the Japanese GK was equal to the task when required. There will be much debate over whether Harry should have scored and whether Carney should be dropped all together. But in the end, we lost.
I woke up this morning and the world had not ended. I even mowed the lawns and normality came back. It doesn’t erase the feelings of utter devastation, but it does mean the dawn of a new day. And a new era in Australian Football. There were some sterling performances from the old heads as well as the young guns who stepped up when required throughout the tournament. largely thanks to Holger Osiek. His tactics and belief in his system and players has earnt him the respect of not only the players but also the supporters.
The next 3.5 years until Brazil will be fantastic and filled with more drama I am sure.
bring it on I say.
January 30 2011 | Asian Cup and Socceroos | 1 Comment »
7 months ago I was in South Africa talking with my mates after the Socceroos drew with Serbia but failed to Qualify for the next round. We were lamenting Pims tactical blunder in Durban as well as questioning the age of the team and the fitness of Harry.
Harry is getting too old and his injuries just keep coming. Craig Moore is passed it, Lucas Neil just hasn’t excelled, etc etc etc. We decided that Australia needed to go the youth route and not worry about the Asian Cup. Do as good as we could with some big changes.
How I must say here that I was always a big supporter of Harry, Moore and Neil and was often put in my place by my mates.
We did come to the conclusion that wholesale changes were not needed and that some older players who could continue should do so. Moore and Harry were out, but we kept Neil as he is captain and is needed to guide the youngsters.
It is history now that Holger is now our coach and that the current squad is about half that of the WC2010 squad. A great mixture of youth and experience. Moore retired and I for one thank him for his service to Australian Football. I watched him as a kid at the ’93 World Youth Cup in Australia. Did an outstanding job for the Socceroos in his time.
This morning I rose at 2am to watch the Socceroos take on Uzbekistan for a place in the Asian Cup Final. Starting in I think his 7th match for the Socceroos was Sasa Ognenovski, not exactly youth but a player who was picked on form, as was Matt Mackay from Brisbane Roar. These 2 players have excelled at this tournament and thoroughly deserve their places in the squad.
For me Holger has picked a fantastically balanced squad with youth and experience. Although Tommy Oar probably wont get a cap, he will grow in stature no doubt by being there. Others like Burns, Killkenny and Kruse have also shown their credentials as future Socceroos.
And as for Harry Kewel and Lucas Neil, I will never doubt them again. Rocks at either end of the pitch, and with Timmy up front as well we have not looked so strong and threatening.
I have no doubt that these guys will know when to hang up the boots, but until then we have a Cup Final to play. The most important in our History. In our first and last Cup final we were on a hiding to nothing. This time we have a real chance.
Japan are going to be hard, real hard. But I have no doubt we have the cattle to do the job. Come on you Socceroos, do your country proud.
I wish I had the cash to get to Doha, because I would be there in a heart beat. I wish all those Aussies over there and those now travelling, a fantastic time, as I know you will have.
And one last thing. I wish Jason Culina a speedy recovery. He has been a fantastic player for the Socceroos over the years, and to be missing out on the biggest game in our History must really hurt. But there is a WC and a possible Confed Cup to come and I am sure Jason will be there.
January 26 2011 | Asian Cup and Socceroos | No Comments »