Tag Archives: socceroos

Friday musing – Socceroos, Asian Cup……

Chris Barwin HillsLike a lot of other people around Australia I watched the Asian Cup Final from Sydney on Saturday night.

What a great game!

I think we can now say that this team has created it’s own history and we can start to move on from the achievements of the 2006 World Cup squad. I am not suggesting they are as good as that team, but they have definitely established themselves as a team on the rise. Perhaps on Saturday night they were not as technically good as a the South Koreans, but they defended as well as I have seen an Australian team defend and created enough chances to win the game. It was also good to see a number of A League players playing key roles in the win.

Ange Postecoglou has consistently requested that the team be judged on their performance in the Asian Cup on home soil and not on their lead up form overseas. As most of the pundits have tim cahillobserved, he has been vindicated.

The Asian Federation is not strong compared to other federations around the world so the friendly coming up in Germany later this year may well give an indication of how far the team has progressed.

Have a great weekend!

Socceroos need to keep winning to earn respect

kruse“We deserve some respect’….so says Socceroo forward Robbie Kruse. Personally, I think Robbie is getting just a little ahead of himself with that comment. Australia, on the back of some poor results over the last eighteen months has slumped to a lowly ranking of #100 of the 209 teams ranked by FIFA. It will take more than a few wins over fellow strugglers to earn recognition from the fans.

If one looks at the results the Socceroos have turned in (not including the Asian Cup currently underway) in the 15 matches played since September 2013, their record is won 2 drawn 2 and lost 11 – goals scored 12 – goals conceded 37. Not a flattering scoreline at all. In that run of matches we managed to lose to Qatar (ranked 92) and Canada (ranked 112). Sure we played some powerhouse teams like Brazil, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and France along the way but that will always be the case in the world game.

After two rounds of the Asian Cup we have beaten up on Oman (ranked 93) and Kuwait (ranked 125). My expectation is that we should beat these teams at home, so I am not getting carried away just yet. Let’s see how we go against the Korean Republic (ranked 69) in our next game and some of the other heavy hitters of the region in the rest of the competition.

If Kruse wants ‘respect’ it needs to be earned on the pitch with the Socceroos performing well against quality opposition!

Friday musing – Socceroos, Tim Cahill, Asian Cup……..

Chris Barwin HillsI was watching the friendly between the Socceroos and Japan during the week and I considered that Australia created the best of the chances in the first half, but didn’t have sufficient strike power or effectiveness to take advantage of those chances.

It would seem that if Tim Cahill is not on the park, we can’t score. I did hear one “expert” suggest that reason was related to the Dutch system of total football which does not produce strikers. I felt like ringing up and offering the names of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben. I think that as a the A League tim cahillimproves and it is improving, more strikers will come to the fore. I raised the name of Tommy Juric last year and I still think he has the most potential of the younger brigade. Watching the game also got to me to thinking about how many of the current national squad would make it into the 2006 World Cup squad. Putting aside Tim Cahill, I think perhaps only Mile Jedinak could justify inclusion.

The next big test is the Asian Cup and it is on home soil so there will be no excuses.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – World Cup, Suarez, AFL & more

Chris Barwin HillsWell the biggest sporting event in the world continues to throw up great games, great drama and now teeth grating! Well we all like a little Italian, being one of the world’s great cuisines, but Luis Suarez clearly likes his Italian fresh. What is it that makes him want to bite opponents? In a sporting sense the only comparisons I can remember are Peter Filandia biting an opponent in the nether regions and My Brown Jug biting Manikato when he realised he was going to get beaten by the champ one day at Sandown. The Suarez suspension has now been handed down and in some ways given he is a repeat offender, is quite lenient.

Continuing the World Cup theme it is interesting to note that England, Spain and Italy who represent three of the four biggest leagues in the world have all been eliminated. Is this just bad luck or is it a symptom of the leagues not promoting local talent in deference to established players from other countries? I would certainly think that is the case with the EPL, but I am not familiar enough with the Italian and Spanish leagues to know if the same problem exists. Germany has made it through and my feeling is that the Bundesliga retains a high German content, but again that is speculation not based on facts. English cricket suffered a similar fate to the EPL and County Cricket reduced the number of overseas players eligible for each team to improve their national team. Is it time for the EPL to place a restriction on the number of eligible overseas players?

I was a little disappointed with the Aussies last game against Spain. It probably went to script and the Socceroos without Cahill and Bresciano were undermanned, but a 1-0 or a 2-0 result would have been a little more satisfying given the performances earlier in the tournament.

The Bombers face the Cats tonight and the Cats are coming off their fourth loss of the season from their fourth interstate trip. Not only have they been beaten interstate, they have been comfortably beaten. That being said, they have not lost a game in Victoria and as a result I will be going against my team and picking the Cats, but barracking hard for the Bombers.

On the never ending supplements saga, it was interesting to hear Tim Watson make a comment on Talking Footy on Monday night. Given his position he has been very circumspect with his comments regarding the whole affair. In a obvious support for his son he finally made a comment about the use of AOD9604 and the lack of retraction or apology from the accusers, which was obviously directed at the time to Jobe.

I was interested to see Daniel Giansiracusa get 2 weeks for his late bump on Polec over the weekend and I ask the question, what was the difference between that bump and Adam Goodes bump on Joel Selwood? Not much, the ball had just left the area, he jumped in the air and hit him high and dazed him. I am not saying that Giansiracusa should have got off, but why wasn’t Goodes charged?

I omitted to make a comment last week about the State of Origin game. What a contrast with the first game which was one of the best rugby league games I have seen. Last Wednesday’s game was probably one of the most boring I have ever watched. The only constant was Queensland’s handling errors which again cost them the game.

Speaking of boring games, what about the Tigers and the Swans last Friday night! I think that is the stye of game that Mick Malthouse was referring to when he commented on the state of the game yesterday. That was the modern game at its worst and contrast that with the Bombers and Crows on Saturday night which was one of the best games I have watched all year.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – World Cup soccer & hockey, AFL…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell what a big week in sport!

Starting with the soccer World Cup, I must say my prognostication from about a month ago concerning Australia’s chances have come to fruition. I did suggest that while the Socceroos were unlikely to win a game, they would acquit themselves a lot better than most of the pundits and the public were expecting. As it stands after two games we have been highly competitive and very unlucky not to have secured a point from either game. The table for Group B at the moment has the 59th ranked Australian team ahead of the 1st ranked Spanish team. Not a bad result in that group. Save for Tim Cahill, who is not really a striker, we have lacked a world class finisher with several chances not being put in the back of the net. It is a bit of a shame that Robbie Kruse has been injured, while not being top shelf, he is still probably Australia’s best man up front. Hopefully he will be fit for the Asian Cup. It would be great to secure a draw or better against Spain.

Great to see Patty Mills and Aaron Baynes being a part of the NBA championship winning San Antonio Spurs. Mills really made a contribution and is now on the radar for several big NBA franchises. I read during the week that he only secured an AIS scholarship when Scott Pendelbury knocked it back. Who knows what might have 954743-patty-millshappened if he did not get that opportunity. He could be playing for the Sydney Swans!

Other Australians to be successful at the highest level this week were the Kookaburras, who beat the Netherlands easily in the World Cup of hockey. I am not a big hockey fan, but those that love the sport, really love it. It always good to see Aussies successful even if it is an area that you don’t have a great deal of interest.

The Essendon supplements saga is dominating the airwaves again and while I do not want to spend too much time on it, there was one comment that I could not resist responding to. On Saturday night Sam Lane confirmed that she had seen one of the show cause notices served on the Essendon players. Luke Darcy then asked her if she would take the six months that was offered. She responded in the affirmative. How can she possibly put herself in the shoes of the Essendon players and make judgement based on a “show cause” notice! It beggars belief. When asked the same question by Bryan Taylor later in the show she was a bit more circumspect, but if this type of dribble continues how are the Essendon players and the club going to get a decent hearing in the court of public opinion. Don’t forget that last year Jobe Watson was persecuted for his revelation that he may have been administered AOD9604. ASADA have now confirmed that this preparation only became banned after April 2013. Have any of his persecutors like Tim Lane (Sam’s father) apologised to him? I think not.

I was also bemused that Collingwood played the Western Bulldogs at Etihad as a home game and conversely, Essendon played Melbourne at the MCG as their home game. As fate would have it, both “home” sides lost. I am not suggesting that this issue cost Essendon the game on Sunday evening, the Dees did very well and how the Bombers let the last goal through means that their lapse against Hawthorn earlier in the year has not improved their capacity to think under pressure.

Have a great weekend.

Friday musing – Watson, Ponting, Warne & more

Chris Barwin HillsI think I have commented on Shane Watson’s fragile physique before, but watching him come into bowl and do his hamstring re-emphasised this point. I mean the man was hardly charging in like Dennis Lillee on the long run, he ambles in like a park cricketer! Don’t get me wrong I am a bit of a Shane Watson fan because I think he is a genuine all rounder and they do not pop up very often. At his best in both batting or bowling he probably gets a game in the Australian team, but he is so rarely at his best that he does get very frustrating for the fan. Couple this with our captain’s bad back and the continued breakdown of our fast bowlers and it is no wonder we are struggling internationally.

Keeping to the cricket theme I was disappointed with Warnie’s rant the other day about Ricky Ponting. I think you read between the lines and you sense some sour grapes about missing out on the Australian captaincy. He is clearly supporting his friend Michael Clarke, but Clarke is the current captain of the team and can look after himself. Having said that, I never thought Ponting was a great captain, although his record would suggest otherwise, at least he kept the team together. Michael Clarke is a better on-field captain, but seems to lack the other qualities which make great captains like Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell who were both good on and off the field.

Now getting on to the Melbourne Cup and this is a comment through my hip pocket. Leading up to last weekend I had been on Fiorente, but after Dear Demi’s run in the Mackinnon I jumped horse and had a bit each way on her. I still had Fiorente in quinella’s and trifectas. I was never happy with Dear Demi in the run and she never seemed to settle and was gone a long way from home. I was then astounded to read Chris Munce’s comment the next day that he was happy in the run, but she didn’t stay!! My guess is that he stirred her up early to get a good position before the first turn, which she did have, but this was contrary to how she had been running and it ruined any chance she had. A great performance by Fiorente and fully deserved win for Gai Waterhouse.

Not satisfied with stuffing up on Melbourne Cup day I did a similar thing on Oaks Day. I was on Solicit in the Wakeful and changed to Gypsy Diamond for the Oaks. Solicit just gets pipped and runs a good third, while Gypsy Diamond struggled into fourth. The trick is to get onto the horse I was on, but got off and you will have a win!

Good to see the Gunners get up twice since the last Musing. A good win over Liverpool and a very good away win over Borussia Dortmund which extends their away record to eight months without a loss. The big test will be this week against Manchester United.

Sticking to the world game, I saw the A-League game last Friday night between Adelaide and West Sydney and it was a very good standard and it will not be too long before Tomi Juric plays for the Socceroos.

Have a great weekend and go Gunners!!

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 #267.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!14 October 2012 267.2 – The Professor and Daniel talk about their production meeting at the Great Western Hotel on Friday. Daniel assesses the opening round of the NBL season. He thinks Melbourne Tigers could finish last on the ladder. Mark Fiorenti looks at the Socceroos upcoming World Cup tie against Iraq. He says if the Socceroos lose this game, qualification for the World Cup will be very hard. Whilst he is worried about the result, he thinks Australia can squeeze out a one goal victory. He also reviews the A-League and says Melbourne Victory and coach Ange Postecolglou are in trouble after a record loss to Brisbane Roar. Paul Dalligan comes on the show to talk NRL and last night’s test win by Australia over New Zealand. He also says the race is on for getting Craig Bellamy’s signature on a contract for the 2014 season with three clubs in the running.

Sportzfan Radio show #264.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!16 September 2012 264.2 – The Professor and the Gelding talk Davis Cup tennis and the tie between Australia and Germany with the winner to get back into the World Group. They then talk soccer with Mark Fiorenti. He discusses the Socceroos loss to Jordan in the World Cup qualifying tie. He also looks at the Champions League and Premier League. Paul Dalligan comes on to talk rugby league and the NRL finals. Paul tries to keep the lid on after the Rabbitohs big win and into their first preliminary final for some time. His Rabbitohs taking on the Professor’s Bulldogs and he sees a Rabbitohs win! He’s hoping to be at Homebush at the Grand Final in two weeks time. There is a discussion between the Professor and the Gelding on the SFL division one preliminary final between St Pauls and Chelsea Heights. They are critical of the VFL playing their Grand Final on a Sunday at Etihad Stadium.