In the short term, it means that Verbeek will have to make changes to his team for the second match, that he would be reluctant to have made otherwise. One is forced, with Cahill suspended, but at least 3 or 4 should be made. The defence was too slow and were outclassed all night. Beauchamp or Milligan should come in for Moore, and although Chipperfield is good going forward, he is lacking pace, and Carney could come in at left back. Grella is not the player he was 4 years ago either, and he should be replaced by Jedinak, or Valeri can be pushed back into the role he has been groomed to play for the last 2 or 3 years.
A more attacking line up is needed. Kewell has to play, even if not fully fit, even more so now Cahill is out. He should play off either Kennedy or the lively Rukyavystka up front. In midfield Bresciano could possibly be recalled, but Holman did well when he came on, and could be pushing for a starting spot along with Dario Vidosic, who would bring some much needed energy to the line up.
Ausralia were always likely to lose the match the Germany, but the manner of the victory has given them a massive wake up call. They were completely outclassed by a superior side. Had we only lost 1-0 to a lucky goal or bad decision, changes wouldn’t have been made and the cracks only papered over. We need to rebuild the whole house.
For the long term, it shows just how far the game has come in this country. Everyone seems to be devastated by the loss and people are now starting to realise that while Australia have the potential to consistently qualify for World Cup’s, they have a long way to go before they can match or better the performance of 2006. Expectations have generally have been too high for this tournament. They have done really well to get there, and the team and the coach need to be commended for that, but this time around, for the Australian people, that doesn’t seem to be enough.
There has been a growing demand that Verbeek plays a more attacking style of football, with the biggest question being why he hasn’t picked any flair players? The answer to that is that Australia, with the exception being Kewell, hasn’t really produced any top quality, exciting, creative attacking players. The country is very good at producing top quality athletes, who work hard and are strong, with a good technique, but a lot of the football is without real thought, and breaks down at the final pass all to often through a lack of creativity.
This is primarily due to the absence of a proper Football culture here in Australia. That takes time to establish. We are still trying to develop one. As is a problem for a lot of countries, our players are sometimes over coached, and it shows with a lack of imagination on the pitch most of the time.
We need to show our young players what it means to play Football for the other people in the world. Football here is still considered just another game, not a way of life. If Australia does indeed win the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, something drastic needs to be done to ensure that we can produce a team that can compete with the best, and permanently put Football at the top of Australia’s sporting landscape.
I propose that we set up an extensive talent search program, to find the most talented players between the ages of 6 and 16, and then send them away from Australia, to live in South America, Africa or Europe. It doesn’t have to be forever, but even as little as 6 months can start to change a players understanding of a game. I’m not talking about sending players to academys overseas, as we can make them here with foreign coaches, I’m talking about going into poor communities, playing on beaches and roads.
I have done this myself having spent 6 months in Brazil, and it was an amazing experience for me. I have learned to study and understand football in a way that I could never have learned in Australia. It is unlikely to happen though, and until something drastic does, Australia will only ever be a team that qualifies but does nothing more.
Pele was inspired by Brazil’s defeat of Uruguay in 1950, when the whole country was in mourning. Germany won in 1954 only 9 years after losing World War 2, with the country still suffering and in ruins, they helped to rebuild a sense of national pride and reshape the future of Germany. Through adversity comes greatness. This is Australia’s worst ever defeat, but it is in the long run, the best thing that could have happened.