Tag Archives: holger-osieck

Tuesday musing – Farewell Ange and Aussies off to a bolter in the Ashes

I have been a longtime supporter of Ange Postecoglou and was especially pleased when he was appointed as Socceroos coach to replace Holger Osieck. There can be no doubt that Ange has turned the team’s fortunes around as at one stage the Socceroos had slumped to number 100 in the FIFA world rankings but he now has them back at 39 after qualifying for the World Cup. Ange also managed to win an Asian Championship along the way so he is definitely leaving the National team in a lot better shape than when he took over. Given that success I was most disappointed that he decided to pull the pin on his time as the manager of the team. A bit like David Gallup, I am puzzled as to why you would walk away after having scaled the mountain the hard way. It reminds me of David Hall, who was the original trainer of Maykbe Diva. After the first Melbourne Cup win he went overseas to pursue a training career leaving the Diva with Lee Freedman to chalk up two more wins. At least he had the first win! The search is now on for a new manager and I have heard many names mentioned including current Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold, Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi, former Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic, Melbourne Victory’s Kevin Muscat and, in a blast from the past, Aussie Guus Hiddink. I hope the powers that be stick with a well credentialled Aussie coach. Personally I think Arnold has the ability to do the top job. He already knows the difficulties having been the Socceroos coach from 2006-2007 and he has been a success in the national competition with his A League side currently holding all three trophies.

Great to see the Ashes series has started as it is the most anticipated series in world cricket. In the recently completed First Test, the Australians gained the ascendancy after being able to scratch out a slim first innings lead then managed to take some crucial, early second innings wickets. The Aussie speed trio of Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc were wonderful and had the English on the back foot in both innings. Providing the three can stay fit, they will be more than a handful for the English over the final four tests. A special mention to the skipper too. Steve Smith’s innings was the real difference between the sides and the only reason the Aussies had a first innings lead. Without his contribution we would have been facing a sizeable deficit to make up and that would have completely turned the tables. Our top order needs to take a leaf out of Smith’s book and seek to occupy the crease rather than go after quick runs all the time. After all it is a ‘Test’ not a 20/20 game.

Mark Fiorenti on the search for the Socceroos coach

Jan 23 2011 Studio Picturies 040Whilst it was a good result for the Socceroos against Canada, I am not sure we can read too much into this result for the following reasons:

1. The players were always going to be fired up after Holger Osieck was sacked and the shellacking’s the media has served up to the them in the last few days.

2. Canada haven’t qualified for the World Cup so are they a worthy opponent?  Would the Canadians have taken this game as seriously as the Socceroos given the events of the last few days?

3. Canada is nowhere near the calibre of football team that Brazil and France are.  In hindsight, I Holgerconsider Osieck shot himself in the foot opting to play friendlies against these two nations, especially considering: (a) Brazil never take friendlies easy, especially ones they play at home (their fans expect to win all the time!) and moreover, they don’t have to qualify for the World Cup as they are hosts and (b) France were shooting blanks up until last week so the Aussie game would have given them and their strikers, particularly Karim Benzema (who hadn’t scored for the French national team in over 1,000 minutes) some good shooting practice.

I still believe and moreover, am concerned that our national team is in danger of embarrassing itself next year.  Luckily, we have eight months to try and steady the ship and get the broom out to clear some old wood. Lucas Neill and Brett Holman immediately come to mind – they could still be handy squad players, but not starting players in my opinion. The new regime should blood some youngsters like Rogic, Davidson, Lowry and Williams and take a serious look at the problem left back position. McKay is a midfielder and not an option whilst Carney is a shambles.  Lowry and/or Davidson are good options.

Finally, the coach, whoever it is, can start to bring back the competitive spirit and self belief our players have been lacking in recent months.

As for the coach, it looks like it will be a local appointment and moreover, over a five year period.  It graham-arnoldappears the FFA has learned the lessons of the past and the new appointment will incorporate next year’s World Cup, the Asian Cup in 2015, qualification rounds for the 2018 World Cup and the 2018 World Cup, assuming we make it!.

The most likely candidates are Ange Postecoglou, Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic.

tony-popovicPoppa had a great year at the Wanderers last year, especially considering their limited budget and experience and it was in their first season!  Nevertheless, I feel he is still a little too raw.

I don’t warm very well to Arnold, but in his defence he has done wonders at the Mariners considering their limited funds and constant sales. This has forced him to regularly re-invent the team.

I like Ange.  When he joined the Roar they were a shambles – they allegedly had a culture unsuited to top level sport and a number of egos ruled the roost.  He eradicated the culture and cleared out the dead wood in his first season, remembering he was appointed mid way through that season. He then won the minor premiership and Grand Final in his second season and the Grand Final in his thirdange-postecoglou season.  A fine effort!  He then joined Victory and implemented his plan and did very well considering his ideas were quite foreign to the team. Victory are now favourites for this season’s A-League flag.  I also like the style of play his teams adopt.

For me, it should be Ange but I wouldn’t lose sleep if Graham Arnold was appointed.

Professor’s rant – Osieck over and out!

HolgerOn a recent Sportzfan Radio show we discussed at length with our soccer expert, Mark Fiorenti, the notion that the Socceroos coach should be appointed for a period well beyond the next World Cup. The rationale behind such an appointment was to encourage the coach to rejuvenate the playing squad at regular intervals with younger players so as to not be left with what we have now……a lot of players that are past their use by date.  The average age of the team that lost 6-0 to Brazil several weeks ago was 32.7 years. The average age of the Brazilian team was 26.3.

In fact, the Sportzfan Radio panel has been discussing the average age of the Socceroos players since the qualifying rounds for the last World Cup and said way back then that youth needed to be infused. This didn’t happen and now we are left with the sad reality that, whilst Australia is going to the World Cup, we look like we are simply making up the numbers.

Who then to appoint to replace Osieck? This will depend on whether the FFA has learnt anythingschwarzer from the current situation. I have heard calls to bring back Guus Hiddink or to insert a credentialed coach from Europe. Both suggestions are not the answer. Guus at 66 years of age (67 when next year’s World Cup is on) is yesterday’s man and also past his use by date. He will only be thinking about achieving something in the World Cup (like Osieck) that will not take care of the Socceroo’s future. Same could be said for any profiled European coach.

I am all for giving one of the current Australian A League coaches a shot with the mandate to coach for the future of the Socceroos and not be blinkered to think the future only extends as far as next year’s World Cup. As an example, look at the great building job Tony Popovic has achieved at Western Sydney Wanderers in one season.

The FFA needs to insert KPI’s into the contract that reflect the need for identification of young talent and the need for youth to be injected into the squad. Only then, will the national team be capable of approaching the past glories that the Australian public has become accustomed to!

Sportzfan Radio show #223.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!16 October 2011 223.2 Mark Fiorenti comes on to talk about the Socceroos and their 3-0 win againt Oman and says all Australia need is a point from their remaining games to qualify for the next round of World Cup qualifiers. He is full of praise for Holger Osieck and also reviews the other Asian Group standings. Mark looks at the A League and the Professor asks how long before the Melbourne Victory coach is under pressure. Mark says if Victory don’t beat Heart it will be a disastrous start to the season. Daniel talks basketball and the Professor takes him to task about how One HD are selecting the games. He feels decisions are made on a financial basis because it must be cheaper to go to Townsville than Perth. The Panel talk about the poor television ratings for the NBL while Sportzfan Stan discusses the benefit that Mills has given to the sport whilst he has been here. The Gelding compares the amount of newspaper columns given to all sports and decides basketball gets less coverage than rugby and soccer. The Professor asks Paul Dalligan where Todd Carney will land as it has been rumored he is being chased by at least four teams. Paul previews the Australia v New Zealand rugby league match predicting a close game but an Australian win. He also comments on Tim Tebow starting at QB for his Denver Broncos. The Panel talk about the big clash in the World Cup semi final between the Wallabies and New Zealand. The Panel unanimously select the Wallabies. To round off the show the Panel discuss AFL trade week and Casey Stoner winning the motorcycle GP.

Sportzfan Radio show #222.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!9 October 2011 222.2 The Sydney Colt continues with his discussion of racing and comments hot tubbing should be a mandatory sport especially in the latter years of High School. Mark Fiorenti talks about the Socceroos recent big win against Malaysia in a friendly and previews the World Cup tie against Oman during the week. He predicts a 2-0 win. Mark also talks about the A-League season launch held in Sydney and the first round of the A League. Daniel says Melbourne Heart need to do something to get into the paper as Melbourne Victory are grabbing all the headlines at the moment. Daniel comes on to talk hoops and the Professor asks him what the segment should be called. Mark Fiorenti suggests ‘White Men Can Jump’. Daniel says he can’t so he has gone back to the drawing board. He talks about the start of the NBL season. Sportzfan Stan asks whether the Breakers after losing players are as good as last year. Daniel thinks that they will be as good. Paul Dalligan comes on to talk rugby league and reviews the NRL Grand Final. He discusses with the Panel the signing of Des Hassler by Canterbury to coach them in 2013. Paul also talks about the coming 4 nations tournament with the opening game between Australia and New Zealand. The Panel talk about the Rugby Union World Cup with the Wallabies taking on South Africa in the quarter final. The Professor looks finally at the MLB payrolls with the top two being the Yankees and the Red Sox but neither have made the Championship Series.

Sportzfan Radio #206.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!12 June 2011 206.2 – The Professor queries when Daniel is going to attend a production meeting at the Great Western Hotel. Mark Fiorenti comes on the show to talk soccer & the Socceroos. He is bullish on Holger Osieck’s coaching and also the young players he tried in last week’s friendly matches. There is also a discussion of the problems confronting FIFA with corruption claims and the rumors that Cesc Fabregas will leave Arsenal for Barcelona. Mark thinks time might be running out for Arsene Wenger. Daniel and the Professor discuss NBL and the plight of the Sydney Kings who are thought to be in debt again. They also look at cricket with Simon Katich’s axing, the review into Cricket Australia and the selectors. Stan sacks the lot. Paul Dalligan talks rugby league and the coming State of Origin match. He thinks NSW will win 16-12. He also reviews the current NRL round. The Panel look at the dangers of spectators running on to the field at AFL games. Sean Callanan talks about his coming trip as Sports Geek to the US. He will meet with the NBA, see some Mets and Yankees baseball and then assist the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA draft in engaging the fans on line.

Sportzfan Radio #205.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!5 June 2011 205.2 – The Professor talks soccer and the Socceroos with Mark Fiorenti and the upcoming friendlies against New Zealand & Serbia. He says it will give Holger Osieck a chance to look at the young players and what they can do. Paul Dalligan comes on to talk NRL and also the recent production meeting at the Great Western Hotel. Showing he is an all rounder when it comes to sport, he also gives an opinion on tennis and the French Open. Sean Callanan discusses the sale of the Detroit Pistons and NRL players getting themselves into strife using Twitter. He believes that the Tout app may be the next big thing as far as sports people are concerned in making short 15 second videos.

Sportzfan Radio #196.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!3 April 2011 196.2 – The Panel discuss the final of the World Cup cricket agreeing that the Indian middle order played very well when the game was on the line. They then look at the selection of Michael Clarke as Australian cricket captain. Paul Dalligan thinks it is a ‘safe’ selection. Sportzfan Stan says that not only should the captain have been changed but also the selectors and coach. He also queries the qualifications of the selectors to do the job. The Panel look at the Socceroos win against Germany during the week playing a lot better style of football. Holger Osieck gets the thumbs up for positive, attacking football. Sean Callanan comes on to discuss social media and Carlton FC letting Daves Hughes tweet during last night’s game against the Gold Coast Suns. Sean doesn’t think it was a success as there is a fine line between comedy and respect. He believes some would have cringed at the tweets. There’s also a discussion about the Yankees being caught out giving hand signals from the stands in a post on twitter. Paul Dalligan talks rugby league and is critical of Matt Orford’s mistake that eventually cost the Canberra Raiders the match. He is happy that the Rabbitohs have won another game. Mark Fiorenti comes on to talk soccer and is congratulated for finally tweeting. He discusses the Socceroos and Premier League and thinks Manchester United may be over the line for the Championship with more interest in who will be relegated. The Panel talks NBL finals with Gold Coast Blaze’s Mark Worthington. He thinks the Townsville Crocodiles will win the Championship.

Sportzfan Radio #189.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!13 February 2011 189.2 – Daniel asks the Gelding why Richmond didn’t put a side in that had a chance of beating Carlton in the NAB Cup so that they could get at least try and get through to the next round. The Gelding didn’t like the alternate jumper and says the Tigers shouldn’t have taken away the yellow sash. The Professor says that the lid is definitely off with Melbourne winning the first two pre-season games. Daniel thinks the NAB Cup is a circus with teams having to wait to play a second game. It can’t be good for the game especially with the introduction of new rules – Daniel says whoever introduced them should be sacked.  Mark Fiorenti comes on to discuss soccer and he takes positives out of the defeat in the final of the Asian Cup.  He is definitely right behind Holger Osieck as coach of the team as he has emphasised team unity.  He discusses the A League which is coming to the crunch time of the season and also thinks it may be North Queensland Fury’s last game.  In Premier League, Mark looks at the Man Utd & Man City derby.  Paul Dalligan is looking forward to the Charity Shield later tonight between St George and South Sydney.  He says Wayne Bennett is on fire as a coach and he won’t tip against him in the game, the Newcastle Knights are all cashed up behind Nathan Tinkler and are chasing players and the new NRL Commission needs to be appointed by 30 April 2011 as that is when New Limited intends to step away from the NRL.  Paul then looks at the ABL championship games between Perth Heat and Adelaide Bite.  Daniel says Tom Walter the basketball coach of Wake Forest donated a kidney to save one of his players, Kevin Jordan but the College had to first check with the NCAA to make sure it didn’t break any rules. The Professor says that is taking rules too far.  Sean Callanan comments on Super Bowl XLV and the effect social media had on the event.  He also discusses Sportzfan Radio’s attempt to get Aaron Rodgers on the program.  Finally, the Panel differ as to whether Shane Warne and Liz Hurley are a worthy story or not.

Asian Cup – Australia vs Bahrain….The Golden “Mile”, but I’d love a Kilkenny to calm the nerves

On Wednesday morning the Socceroos progressed to the quarter finals of the Asian Cup after beating Bahrain 1-0. Mile Jedinak was once again the hero with his second goal in as many games with a stunning long range effort in the 37th minute. But on the performance shown against Bahrain, the Socceroos’ next opponent, Iraq, the current holders of the Asian Cup, no less, will not be suffering from insomnia….

I’ll start with the lowlights, because they “overshadowed” the highlights….

1. A sloppy and disorganised midfield. I lost count of the number of times our players, particularly our midfielders, either gave the ball away, misplaced a pass and/or failed to assist our defenders by absorbing pressure when the Bahrainis launched wave after wave of attack. It is clear our midfield is unimaginative and that the emphasis is on graft rather than craft. For what Jedinak brings to the team in goal scoring ability and “screening” the defence, his inferior distribution skills makes him a liability when the team wants to dictate matches. Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck may have a dilemma on his hands….

2. Lack of squad depth – Osieck was forced to make three changes to the team that drew against Korea Republic, with the injured trio of Jason Culina, Luke Wilkshire and David Carney all replaced by Carl Valeri, Jade North and Matt McKay, respectively. The former trio were all sorely missed. Valeri, whilst high on energy does not have the passing ability of Culina. North, a capable defender, lacks Wilkshire’s energy and running ability. Finally, McKay, playing out of position at left back, was exposed, particularly early on against the Bahrainis. To add salt to the wound, Brett Emerton was needlessly booked and as such, is suspended for Sunday morning’s clash against Iraq. Being without Wilkshire already hurts, but the prospect of being without both he and Emerton means the Socceroos have a very weakened right flank….one hopes our physios are working overtime to get the aforementioned trio back into the starting line up.

3. Missed opportunities by strikers, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill. Kewell wasted a golden opportunity in the 32nd minute, firing a shot into the body of Bahrain goalkeeper Mahmood Mansoor from close range, whilst Cahill put a header well wide in the second half. Strikers can get very few opportunities. The Bahrain game was no exception. Hence the need to convert the good opportunities! Goals win games – that’s why strikers get paid the most and “pull” all the good looking girls. Against Bahrain however, I wasn’t convinced Kewell and Cahill could even “pull” a beer.

The highlights:

1. Neil Kilkenny. Kilkenny’s 20 minute cameo towards the end of the match was inspiring. It was refreshing to see someone assist our attack. The boy’s hunger for the ball, ability to hold possession and accurate passing ability could be a solution to our lack of combination play in midfield.

2. For the second game in a row….Mark Schwarzer. But for Schwarzer’s three remarkable saves in the second half, the Socceroos would have been sent packing.

3. The Socceroos did not concede a goal. Moreover, they only conceded one goal in all three group games. Put simply, the team is hard to break down and as foreshadowed in my previous blog, the team’s mental fortitude and never say die attitude is an asset no other team in Asia, arguably possesses. Whilst I, along with many Socceroos’ supporters would love our team to emulate Spain’s World Cup winning team of 2010 and “pass and move” their way to ultimate success, sexy football does not always win football tournaments (read: The “Cryuff inspired” Netherlands’ World Cup teams of 1974 and 1978). On the other hand, discipline, unity and self belief can (read: Italy and Germany’s World Cup winning teams of 1982 and 1990, respectively).  In short, it is not inconceivable that the Aussies could simply grind their way to their first Asian Cup championship.

The Aussies will face a stern test against Group D, runners up, Iraq on Sunday morning. Osieck certainly has some work to do, but so too do the players. At the back of their minds will be a chance to seek redemption – the Iraqis played the Socceroos off the park in the group stages of the 2007 Asian Cup, comprehensively beating them 3-1.

But so too did Uruguay in 2001, ultimately qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

One need not be reminded of what happened four years later….

I’m more excited than the last time I attended an all you can eat buffet.

Mark “The F Word” Fiorenti