The Professor, Mark Fiorenti and Paul Dalligan talk Women’s World Cup, review the Matildas trip to the semi-finals, look at the surprise packets of the tournament, discuss whether the tournament has been a success and preview tonight’s final between Spain and England. Mark Fiorenti previews the Premier League season predicting who will finish in the top 4 and bottom 3 and talks about Ange Postecoglou’s start at Spurs. Paul Dalligan reviews round 5 of the NRLW and round 25 of the NRL.
I read that Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive, David Gallop said there had been ‘huge’ amounts of interest in the
Socceroos coaching position from local and overseas candidates. One wouldn’t need to be a Rhodes scholar to understand such a level of interest in the position recently left vacant with the resignation of Ange Postecoglou. After all, the hard work has already been done given that the Socceroos have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup.
With at least fourteen candidates on the list of potential coaches, I note there are only two Australians – Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic. Aside from Postecoglou, the Socceroo’s recent past is littered with International coaches such as Guus Hiddink, Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck. The difference between Postecoglou and the other three is that Postecoglou cared about the future of Australian soccer, the Socceroos and the A League. To the others is was just a job with one simple task – to qualify for the World Cup with no real interest in much else.
Talk has it that Dutchman, Bert Van Marwijk is a short priced favourite for the job. Van Marwijk’s recent claim to fame is coaching Saudi Arabia to qualification for this year’s World Cup. He is back on the shelf after the Saudi Football Federation couldn’t agree with him on the terms of a new contract.
For Australian soccer’s continued growth, the FFA need to appoint a
local person and Graham Arnold would be the perfect choice. He has the qualifications for the job. For a start he has already been in charge of the National squad back in 2006 and 2007. He has gained more experience in the intervening ten years and is currently the coach of the very successful Sydney FC. Postecoglou proved conclusively that Australian coaches are up to the task of coaching at International level so there should be no impediment to appointing Arnold.
However, I have no confidence that the FFA will get this most important of decisions correct. After all this is an organisation that squandered $45.6 million of Federal assistance in an ill fated (some would say impossible) attempt to convince FIFA to award the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to Australia and we all know how that turned out.
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.
One of things I want to discuss is the tragic passing of Drew Morphett. Drew was one of those classic ABC commentators who was comfortable commentating on anything from football to athletics to tiddlywinks. He was always interested in presenting the picture to the audience and not pumping up his own tyres. In a pretty cut-throat industry I think he was universally liked by his peers. He will be missed.
I was also pleased that Nathan Buckley was reappointed as Collingwood coach for another two years as this will consign Collingwood to another two years out of the finals. It has to be good for the competition.
It was interesting to see that three of the banned Essendon players made the All Australian team with Hurley the only player to have made the team previously. Unfortunately for Essendon, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) and Michael Hibberd (Melbourne) no longer play for the club. What it does show is that a year out of the game is not fatal for a player in his 20’s, but perhaps once you get to thirty it is not a positive experience.
Chris Scott took Geelong into another finals series last night and his fellow coaches recently voted him as the hardest coach to coach against. He certainly has had a lot of success since taking over from Bomber Thompson, however, his finals record needs some scrutiny. Since the 2011 finals series where Geelong won three games, including the premiership, but with the loss to Richmond, he has now contested a further nine finals for only two wins and one of those wins was over Hawthorn last year when Isaac Smith had a shot after the siren that could have taken the game away from Geelong. I think a few questions need to be posed as to Scott’s finals coaching record.
Speaking of coaches I cannot believe that Ange Postecoglou has come under so much pressure recently. He got the Socceroos an Asian Cup and in the current qualifiers the Socceroos have only lost one game. They do have an issue with scoring, but I put that down to personnel, not system. His system creates scoring chances, but we don’t seem to have the quality of strikers to put the goals away and this was no more evident that the recent game against Thailand. I think Tommy Juric is a good developing striker in the Mark Viduka mould, but we need a Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill at his best to compliment Juric. This is not Postecoglou’s fault, he has tried to develop players, but Australia just does not have genuine strikers playing at the highest level. Let the World Cup campaign pan out and reassess at the end.
Have a great weekend!
Whilst there was not all that much to tweak my interest this week, I did think Tom Hawkins was dead set stiff for copping a suspension when his hit was quite minor compared to the Cotchin, Cunnington & Jones hits of the previous few weeks. Having said that, you would think with all the publicity attached to those recent hits, he wasn’t using his brains to grab a jumper and then punch someone. The AFL were going to make a stand at some stage and Hawkins was the first one to be subject to the Match Review Panel’s crack down.
I was pleased to see that Josh Schache re-signed with Brisbane. Brisbane have coughed up a lot of players over the last couple of years and it is good to see one of their top draft picks choosing to stay. It’s about time things started to run their way.
It was also good to see the Socceroos succeed against Saudi Arabia on Friday night. Despite an indifferent performance they got the win and evened up the points with the Saudis and now only trail by goal difference. The pressure is on this team to make the World Cup finals and, if they make it, it will be a testament to the coaching of Ange Postecoglou. From what I see this current Australian team is a bit short on talent compared to more recent World Cup campaigns and while they have not yet confirmed qualification for the World Cup, they are still the only team in the group to be undefeated. Clearly, the match against the Blue Samurai in Japan in August will be crucial to qualification for both teams. Japan has the harder draw as they then play Saudi Arabia away in their last game while the Socceroos play bottom of the table Thailand in Australia.
Have a great weekend!
Sure it was a friendly, but, in 2013 the Socceroos played ‘friendlies’ against Brazil and France and suffered 6-0 defeats in both games – that was enough to get then coach, Pim Verbeek his marching orders. Wind forward eighteen months under the tutelage of Ange Postecoglou and we now see a different more attacking and exciting football team.
The result was even better considering the Socceroos main
attacking weapon, Tim Cahill, missed the game due to injury. In times gone by, Australia would have struggled to put together attacking moves without Cahill in the team. Now, not only are there attacking moves, but we have also put two past the German keeper and led for a period of the game.
A lot to like about where this Socceroos team is going. The other football codes in Australia should be sitting up and taking notice given the much improved fortunes of the national team.
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 observed, 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!
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 consider 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 appears 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.
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 third 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.
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.