Posts tagged ‘Italy’

Finding Her Identity

Last week’s result by the Socceroos securing a draw with World Champions Germany n Kaiserslautern was another feather in the cap of national team coach Ange Postecoglou. It was also a wonderful result on the back of the team’s Asian Cup victory.

Despite these successes there is something that Ange Postecoglou has managed to achieve that no other Socceroos coach has achieved, and for that the game should be eternally grateful.

Rale Rasic back in the Seventies awoke the nation with is team of part-timers making it to the World Cup in 1974 being one of just 16 teams that participated in the finals. It was almost a surreal experience according to those who remember it.

Guus Hiddink broke the jinx, and in truth had some luck in seeing the team qualify for Germany in 2006; in a penalty shoot-out the result can go anyway, unless you are playing Germany! Yet when the tournament started he showed his tactical acumen and managed to steer the team past the group stage, and almost past eventual Champions Italy.

Pim Verbeek achieved the remarkable steering the team to the 2010 finals conceding just a single goal against Japan in the final round of qualifying, with a team that was clearly on the wane. His mission was accomplished. He has suffered major criticism for the 4-0 defeat against Germany, yet the same team went on to beat England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0 before bowing out to Spain in the semi finals.

No one except the FFA and Holger Osieck will ever know what the total brief was at the time of his appointment. One key factor was another qualification for the World Cup which he achieved. He was criticised for not blooding enough young players, yet he achieved the task that he was set.

What all of these failed to do, that Postecoglou has managed to do in his short time as coach, was play a style of football that taps into the Australian psyche.

In the past week this writer has spoken to three people who confessed they never watched the Socceroos before ‘because they were boring.’ They still admitted they did not watch most of the game but they would tune in because the current team is ‘exciting to watch.’

There is no doubt that the Golden generation featuring the likes of Schwarzer, Viduka, Kewell, Bresciano, Grella, Neill and co, were technically more gifted than many of the current crop of players. There were also more of them playing football at a higher level than most of the current crop. Yet the team never managed to achieve what Postecoglou’s players have achieved.

Postecoglou is without doubt one of the best home grown coaches Australia has produced. Like many of the great coaches an injury curtailing his career – just as happened to Brian Clough – saw him enter management at a very young age. Success in the NSL was a regular achievement. When the A-league started he was coach of the national Youth team, which proved with hindsight to be a great learning experience. Back in club football in the new A-League with Brisbane Roar he again created a team that played attractive football and won championships. When he became national coach many wondered how he would fair and early results were not promising. Yet during those games a pattern was evolving.

A pattern that has seen Australia for the first time have a football team with an identity. By that we mean an identity in terms of the style of football that the national team plays.

Australian football under Frank Arok was again blessed with extremely talented players, many who were still forced to be semi-professional. The team was always combative, the team never ever gave up, but the style frequently changed depending on the opposition or the importance of the match.

It was the late Spurs and Northern Ireland captain Danny Blanchflower who once said “Our tactics have always been to equalize before the other team score.” It may sound crazy but one feels the sentiment is there in this Australian team.

Postecoglou has tapped into the Australian sporting Psyche, that Australians in every sport like to be the aggressor. Look at the Cricket team, the Wallabies, the Kookaburras, all are teams that are immediately on the front foot against their opposition. All of them like to take it up to the opposition and make them know that they are not in awe of them. Previous Socceroos coaches have focussed on trying to limit the scoring opportunities of the opposition and therefore tended to play very defensive football. It appears Postecoglou realises that currently Australia’s defensive stocks are not world class, and therefore the team is bound to concede against quality opposition. However rather than sit back and try and limit the damage, his teams go on the attack. The theory being that Australia will score more than their opponents. It is a style that has resonated with many Australians who have never followed the game, and he may well have finally given the nation a style that becomes synonymous with the Socceroos.

Japan knew they could never compete physically with the bigger European players, so they developed a fast paced game based on speed touch and fitness in order to be competitive and it has paid dividends to their national team and is now a style that is expected from their teams. They focussed on their strengths and improved their weaknesses.

Postecoglou has done exactly the same. He has tapped into Australia’s desire to be the team on the attack and a new style of football has evolved. A style that seems to have captured the public’s imagination. Hopefully is a style that can be maintained, and will just like Japan become synonymous with the Socceroos.

To quote the inspirational Danny Blanchflower again ” The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.” It would appear that Postecoglou shares those sentiments.

Blanchflower was a part of a Tottenham team that won the double and also steered Northern Ireland to the quarter finals of the 1958 World Cup in the same year he lost his brother Jackie in the Munich Air disaster. Spurs with him in the side played an attractive brand of football, a brand of football where they believed if the opposition scored one, they would score two.

It would appear the Socceroos under Postecoglou have the same sense of belief. It certainly appears that they have found a style that resonates with the people of Australia. Let us hope they continue to win fans over playing football in this manner and like Spurs and Northern Ireland with Blanchflower in their side are rewarded with success. Most of all let this be the style of football for which Australia is known.


March 30, 2015 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

Football Must Unite for Change

It is refreshing to witness that Football appears to be finally be awakening from a slumber that has lasted almost four decades.

The BBC and Sky Sports have cleverly offered to host a live television debate amongst the candidates for Football’s top post the Presidency of FIFA. As they quite rightly state the current incumbent Sepp Blatter has frequently claimed that the rille is the equivalent to that of a head of state, so why not treat the run in for the Presidency in the same vein and have a televised debate, where all candidates get to air their views on key issues?

For too long Blatter and his acolytes have ruled with a complete air or arrogance and untouchability. Their lead has sadly been followed further down the pecking order by individual national Federations. On occasion FIFA has pulled them into line despite the hypocrisy of such actions, and on other occasions they have let sleeping dogs lie. On both occasions the game has been the one to suffer, along with those who support and participate outside of the professional game.

FIFA’s mission statement has been “For the Good of the Game.” Yet such a statement is ridiculous when one looks at the actions of the men in FIFA and insults the intelligence of those fans of the game. “The Football Family” is another annoying and equally condescending mission statement, especially when only the head of the family has a say.

News that there may in fact be a breakaway from FIFA is refreshing and long overdue. When you are unable to change something from the inside, that is if you can in fact get inside, then it is time for change.

The awarding of the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar may well be the tipping point for change. How can a country where racism is endemic, as is the case in Russia host such a global party? How can a tournament traditionally played at the same time of year be moved and hosted by a nation built on slave labour and where the stadia construction has resulted in hundreds of deaths?

To show just how much FIFA does not care about due process, Secretary General Jerome Valcke has effectively admitted that FIFA bought off the threat of legal action on the timing of the 2022 World Cup by awarding the USA television rights to the 2026 tournament to Fox and NBC- owned Telemundo without going through the usual tender process. Compensation to all of the European Football leagues that will be disrupted by the 2022 World Cup being run in the lead up to Christmas will no doubt be settled in a similar way, because money talks. Greed saw the World Cup awarded to Qatar and greed will see many Football Federations roll over and have FIFA tickle their tummies with wads of cash, when it comes to compensation for a December tournament. Although Mr Blatter has assured his member nations the tournament will not run past the 18th of December; the final day of the tournament no doubt, as this is also coincidentally the National Day of Qatar!

Should the European and South American nations boycott the 2022 World Cup? Many fans believe that they should. Whether they do will be a different matter altogether, although momentum for such a move is building.

Germany, Spain and Italy are believed to be strong supporters of a new world order, and they have the support of the home nations in the United Kingdom. Emerging power bases in Asia, Africa and South America are also said to be aligning themselves with these nations. The question is are all of these nations prepared to get their own houses in order, and crush the corruption within their own Federations?

This is a great opportunity for Football to act, the time has never been better. If Football fails to act it may well get left behind.

This may sound a strange statement for a game that dominates world sport in terms of participation and spectators, but other sports are changing the way they operate in order to survive.

Rugby Union is looking at a similar closed shop operation that sustains Baseball and American Football so well in the USA and sees both of these sports with strong and healthy bank balances. Cricket is going through a metamorphosis as its commitment to traditional Test Cricket is being eroded by commercial necessity driven by Indian administrators and ably supported by England and Australia. Even the Olympic Games market is being manipulated to try and pull in a younger average age of viewer, this is being done courtesy of new sports being introduced and traditional ones being thrown out.

Fans across the globe are no longer happy funding multi-millionaire players who behave abominably and fail to perform. With more and more internet viewing, and some via illegal streaming, football has to change. Just as the music industry has had to adapt, so too does football have to change.

Apart from crushing corruption football needs clear thinkers to be driving the game forward at this point in its history. If key nations do boycott the 2022 World Cup, there will be a great deal of shouting and posturing from those at FIFA unwilling to relinquish control, they will try and issue bans but guaranteed new similar competitions will spring up and will thrive, history has shown that. It just takes the courage of a few to stand up and be counted.

Maybe it is time that UEFA President Michel Platini did follow through on making the European Championships the biggest tournament in the world and just like the Copa America invite the top nations from South America and Africa to perform as guests at their tournament. (World Cup By Invite Only).

In football there are too many top dogs for whom the game is not their true passion. It is a job, a steeping stone to big money illegal or otherwise, as well as free tickets to plush events. Administering sport should be more than that, as the great Bill Shankly believed, it must be a passion. Then you can guarantee the person will go the extra yard for what is best for the game, and they will be happy to do so and put in that time. They will never want to harm their club or the game itself.

There is a line in Don Quixote that reads “Tragedy is to see life as it is, not as it should be.” This is how football is at the moment. Yet through times of difficulty come opportunity. The question is will those nations with the power to make change grasp that opportunity. Hopefully they will try, and when they do they would do well to remember the words of Martin Luther King, “Right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” Something Mr Blatter will hopefully be beginning to realise, along with many others in the game who are not there for the real ‘good of the game.’

March 3, 2015 at 10:20 am 1 comment

Viewer’s Choice

As we prepare for another show it seems unbelievable to think last week a young lady was imprisoned for watching sport, or so it would appear. Sport should be for all and should never be segregated due to race, colour or religion.

Ghoncheh Ghavami was sentenced to a year in prison in an Iranian jail for trying to watch a Volleyball match. The 25 year old Iranian-British student from London was arrested in June of this year for trying to watch an International Volleyball Federation World League match between Iran and Italy. She was among a group of women who were protesting peacefully asking that females be allowed in to watch the match. They were arrested instead.

The arrest ironically happened at Azadi (“freedom” in Farsi) stadium in Tehran. Ms Ghavami was released within a few hours after the initial arrest but she was rearrested days later.

Ghavami was tried and given a year’s sentence for “spreading propaganda.”

Her arrest has led to worldwide condemnation and even British Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken to his Iranian counterpart on the issue. However it has been reported that Iran does not recognise her dual nationality and being a British citizen. A petition on the site has generated more than 725,000 signatures calling for Ghavami’s release.

Having claimed three days ago that no charges had been laid against Ms Ghavami, in the last 24 hours Iranian authorities have said that that Ghoncheh Ghavami is being held on charges of sedition, unrelated to sport.

This may well be an incident where sport has become embroiled in politics, or politics in sport, but either way hopefully a resolution can be found soon. In the meantime we should be grateful that we are able to play and watch sport until our hearts content, or unless someone takes the remote control!

November 19, 2014 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

Champions to Receive Top Billing

An impending rule change in the European Champions League is set to make fans happy and also many of the successful clubs who are not necessarily one of the big name clubs in their national leagues.

Top seed status will only be given to the winners of the highest ranked leagues and titleholders. Currently UEFA ranks clubs based on five years of results which meant that national Champions such as Manchester City in the EPL Juventus in Serie A and Paris St Germain in France were placed among the teams seeded Number two.

Whereas clubs like Arsenal and Porto who finished fourth and third in their respective leagues in the season just past were seeded in the pot as number one ranked teams. This in turn meant that they avoided other top ranked teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was a case of the successful teams being protected and ensuring continued success and revenue.

The leagues that saw their teams given top seed status were Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia.

The rule change that is due to be ratified by UEFA’s executive Committee in December has come about as fans failed to understand how the Champions of one of these top nations was in a lower seeded pot than the teams that came third or fourth.

Some would say UEFA could easily have resolved this problem by once more making the competition open only to those teams who are in fact crowned Champions of their respective leagues. However that is never likely to happen with the Champions League now generating more income than the World Cup.  This is however a step in the right direction and may prevent a lop-sided and almost predictable outcome.

October 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Re-Cycling Players and Ideas – A Bad Pathway.

As The Hyundai A-League celebrates its 10th Anniversary, the success of Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers overnight reaching the Asian Champions League finals has many sitting back and claiming that all is well with the game.

Western Sydney Wanderers achievement is truly remarkable and a credit to Popovic, his back up team and the players. For a team that is about to enter its third year in existence to make it through to a final to decide the best club team in Asia at the first time of asking is astounding. They become only the second Australian side to make it to the final following Aurelio Vidmar’s Adeliade United in 2008, who lost the final 2-0 to Gamba Oskaka.

They say one swallow does not make a summer, and neither does the success of one team make a League. Football Leagues around the World are littered with competitions that are ultimately between only three or four teams. That is not great news for fans in a league with 24 teams, let alone one with only ten.

Many will tell you that the A-League is in the best position it has ever been in, Others well tell you that the product started to lose its way after the fifth season. There is also now a groundswell of support claiming that the standard is inferior to its predecessor the NSL. Everyone has and is entitled to an opinion.

The interesting thing to do is make a short comparison between the two leagues, and mistakes made.

The National Soccer League was launched in 1977. Fourteen teams contested the first season, all on the East coast of Australia. Sydney Hakoah were the first Champions shading Marconi on gaol difference.

At the end of the first season Mooroolbark were replaced by Newcastle KB United. It took two seasons of the A-League before the first side dropped out, The New Zealand Knights; and this was in an 8 team league.

By the fourth year of the NSL with crowds steady but not growing to expected levels, discussions were held as to how the game could gain a bigger place in the consciousness of the Australian sporting public. Suggestions were to move to a Summer competition, which the A-League is. Another idea was to adopt a Franchise model and ease the financial pressure on the clubs. The A-League is a Franchise model, yet the financial pressures still exist. Many will argue that the Franchise model chosen was flawed, as it saw the clubs in the hands of private owners rather than clubs being owned by Corporations and businesses. There is also no chance of input from the fans. The financial losses eventually becoming too much for individual owners; hence so many changes of ownership around the league in ten years.

Just as the NSL had done in its early years the A-League looked to try and attract media attention by bringing in big name imported stars. It added a bit of glamour to the league and the success of Dwight Yorke at Sydney FC and Fred at Melbourne Victory overshadowed the not so successful other signings from Europe, of which there were far too many. It almost seems that clubs feel obliged to fill their foreign quota of players even though a great number hardly play.

By the ’80’s the performance of these imported stars in the NSL was in the main fleeting. They grabbed the attention for a few weeks, but their performances at the ends of their careers failed to keep the attention.

The same is true today, but now the cost of these stars on the wane is far greater. The spin is the big name players will bring in the crowds, the statistics say otherwise.

For Sydney FC’s first home game after signing Juventus and Italy legend Alessandro del Piero an amazing 35,419 went through the turnstiles. Yet in round 4 against the Glory – their next home game – a large number did not return, and only 22,128 took their seats. The following weekend the figure went down again to 21,531 against arch rivals Melbourne Victory. A drop of 13,291. This was never given any media coverage. Not mentioned by the club or the FFA, as obviously it exposed a flaw in their promotional strategy.

Sydney FC were not alone in these crowd drop-offs, the Marquee effect on crowds shows a definite trend. Perth Glory went from 16,019 to 12, 031 in their first two games with Robbie Fowler their highest two crowds that season. Melbourne Victory had 40,351 to Harry Kewell’s first game in their colours. There was only a small drop in the next game, most likely because they played cross town rivals the then Melbourne Heart (39,309), but more telling was their next home game when only 24,820 turned up!

Alessandro Del Piero has been hailed as a huge success for the A-League, but was he really? Sydney FC won nothing while he was there, and during his time he ended up seeing two coaches shown the door.

Many would challenge that the signing of del Piero was purely and simply aimed at trying to keep the A-League profile up when it was starting to wane, the same tactic Chairman of the FFA Frank Lowy used when he was involved in the NSL.

Del Piero’s salary is believed to have been a shade over AUD$4 million per annum. Sydney FC were not left to pay all of this with the FFA lending a hand – which in itself raises a myriad of questions of conflicts of interest – as well as a few other parties. However Not the Footy Show has been advised that accommodation for the family was paid for by the club and that did not come cheaply.

Sydney FC boast about the number of replica shirts they sold with del Piero’s name on, however they do not reveal that their star import also received sizeable royalties on those shirts and any other apparel sold with his name on.

Although Sydney FC did not have to pay for their trip to Italy on a pre season tour Mr del Piero was still making money, as the income that was generated by charging fans to watch del Piero train with his new club was levied and kept by Del Piero and his staff; this is explained as payback for them arranging the tour.

When one analyses the cost of signing a waning start such as del Piero the figures do not stack up. Sure he still had great vision and could pass a ball exquisitely, but he could not run and if anything hampered the structure of the team. Brisbane Roar have shown that signing a lesser known, but still talented players such as Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha is a far better investment. Yet the FFA still seem to want superstars to try and the reason is to keep the brand of the A-League in the public eye.

After ten years it is time the A-League stood on its own as a League. That it promoted and marketed itself for what it is, and stopped trying to be the English Premier League, because it is not and never will be. It is also time that new marketing techniques were used rather than repeating the mistakes of the NSL. The money blown on players who can no longer perform should be invested in young Australian players, you may be surprised, but fans of the game in this country want to see home grown talent thrive. They may take a few years to mature as was evident with the players given a chance at Brisbane Roar, but when they do the football is worth the entry fee.

October 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm 1 comment

Promoting Relegation

One reputation that Australian sport has around the globe is that the nation is not a good loser. Frequently when beaten, the officials are blamed, the conditions, etcetera, rather than accepting that maybe on the day they were beaten by a better team.

Is this strong hatred of losing, that has embedded itself into the psyche of Australian sports so strongly, the reason for the current aversion to punish teams appropriately by throwing them out of a competition for, for want of a better word, cheating? Is this the same reason why the FFA, and in fact many sports in the country are against bringing in relegation to their league competitions at national level?

With a failure to perform not being punished by relegation elite sport becomes extremely protectionist, a closed shop. CEO David Gallop’s comment last week that the A-League expansion would be based on population rather than merit, was one that disappointed many football fans across the country.

It would no doubt have disappointed the Asian Football Confederation who requested relegation to be implemented, and the fact that the National Premier Leagues is supposed to in the words of the FFA “underpin” the A-League.

Many believe that the Champions of this competition should earn the right to replace the bottom placed team in the A-League. Although there are so many issues attached to such a move.

Firstly as the FFA Cup has so far proved, full time footballers are a lot fitter and stronger than their semi-professional counterparts. That is not to say that the semi-professionals with the same training and commitment could not match, or even surpass those playing at the moment. However it will take time.

Another problem is that the FFA model for the A-League, which involved private investors owning clubs, creates another massive issue when pitted against a community based semi-professional club. If the privately owned club is relegated, the private owner will most likely walk away and the FFA faces either finding a new owner for the club, or an established club folding. What about “Parachute Payments” to the relegated A-League club as per those teams relegated from the English Premier League to the Championship? These are payments to assist clubs in paying higher wages than in the league the find themselves playing in, and assist them to adjust their books to meet their new environment. The problem here is the FFA does not have the money for such payments. Another issue is that most A-League clubs do not have a ground that they can call “home.” So where are they going to play their games and generate income?

Many will say that the players will walk away, but how can a player under contract walk away? If relegation were to come in, and the A-League was to be a league based on reward, then a transfer system would need to be implemented, so that newly promoted clubs could in fact purchase players from the relegated team should that club wish to release them. With the FFA struggling to handle international transfers as it is and still taking a percentage of these, even though FIFA stated that this was illegal (Cashing In), a domestic transfer system is extremely unlikely to happen in the near future. Although there is no reason why it should not occur at NPL level.

What about the Salary Cap? Newly promoted clubs would be faced with making the leap from administering a wage bill in the hundreds of thousands to one in the millions. Could they cope? Do they have the experience and wherewithal to handle such larges sums of money? Many of these clubs are currently run by well meaning committed volunteers, who love football, but many clubs are struggling to make ends meet. How therefore would they cope in a professional environment? Would they be prepared to bring in experts to run the club and relinquish their control? Ultimately this is a decision for each club, but it is a real issue that needs considering by those who advocate the promotion and relegation system.

There are many who say that new clubs to the A-League should not have to make such a giant step in terms of meeting the current salary cap. That they should instead be allowed to build their club based on a budget that they feel is achievable, and will not put the established club in a financial position that could ultimately see it fold, if it fails on the pitch. There is merit in this school of thought, however yet again clubs need to become professional in the way they operate. At NPL level we need to see contracts back in place, clubs not approaching other players without doing it properly, by asking the President first. Unless these clubs are run along professional lines and employ proper football etiquette, they will never survive in the full time professional environment. Is this an area the FFA should be helping? Maybe, but do the FFA really want any true community-based clubs with history in the A-League? It is unlikely they will invest time and money in helping the clubs they claim are “underpinning” the A-League, as the last thing they want is the possibility of a former NSL club resurfacing. They would rather create new clubs “where there are millions of people not hundreds of thousands,” as Mr Gallop said last week.

There is no doubt that Promotion and Relegation would enhance the football experience in Australia. It is a fact that the AFC want to see it introduced. There is no doubt it would benefit the players immensely as suddenly they know what it is to play in do-or-die games, something many A-League players have never experienced, because they have been cotton-wooled from this environment, by travelling the “football pathway.”

Former Australian coach Terry Venables stated to this writer that his biggest challenge as national coach was trying to teach Australians how to hang onto a 1-0 lead and kill a game. The problem he said, was they did not play enough competitions where they needed to do that, and were happy to continually bomb forward and attack; The Iran game in 1997 maybe a case in point, although Venables was blamed for his tactics. Whatever your thoughts on that, this is where Pim Verbeek’s achievement of having the Socceroos qualify for the World Cup in South Africa without conceding a goal is an underrated achievement. His was the first real change in approach since Venables comments, he built a team that qualified on a strong defence. Now pressure from the media and others has seen Australia revert to type. Ange Postecoglou, who has done a great job since taking over as National coach is encouraging attacking football, but the Socceroos are leaking too many goals, an issue that needs to be addressed quickly. To win or progress in international tournaments you need to learn to kill a game when you have a lead, as unattractive as it may seem, Italy are masters of it, hence their repeated success at the highest level. Sadly the National Youth League is still not teaching this. Fighting for promotion and the prize of a place in the A-League, or the threat of relegation may well help develop this side of the game in Australia. An important part of a player’s development and one that will assist in the national team progressing in major tournaments.

Will we see promotion and relegation happen in the next ten years of the A-League? Hopefully. Will we see it realistically? Unlikely.



The trouble is with A-League clubs being privately owned, most owners would walk away once their club was relegated as few are genuinely there for the game as a whole. Hence the reason the FFA needs to protect those clubs.

September 24, 2014 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

Do as I Do, Not as I Say

There is an old saying one swallow doesn’t a summer make, and it is wise to remember that in sport as one game does not make a great team.

The Netherlands destroyed current World Cup holders Spain in their opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Slotting five goals passed the Spanish for the first time since 1964. It was a joy to behold. Beautiful football played by nation that gave us a total football; a style of play that has been adopted by the Australian Hockey team to great effect. Total football was, and still is, a theory where any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. IN simple terms a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another team-mate, thus retaining the team’s intended organisational structure.

Whereas this cover was still very evident in the Dutch performance against Spain what stood out was the pace of the players and the passing into space for those players to run onto.

The Dutch have for a long time been associated with “Possession football” something that their coaches have tried to force on Australia. The trouble is you can have all the possession you like, but it depends on where the opposition let you have possession.

If they are happy to sit back and let you keep possession then you need pace and movement from the players ahead of the ball, you also need players who can thread accurate long passes either aerially or along the ground into the space that those forward players are running into.

Keeping possession will not win you games, unless you can score. Italy have been proof of that for years. They carve out a goal and then keep obsession superbly to restrict their opposition.

The Netherlands were superb against Spain playing some of the best counter attacking football you will ever see at the highest level. Ange Postecoglou is looking to also play counter-attacking football with the Socceroos. Whether he has the players with the skill or pace to match the Dutch is yet to be seen. It is unlikely based on the leagues the Australian players are playing in compared to their European counterparts, but this is the style of game Australia should be looking to play. Australian teams in every sport are naturally aggressive, so why try and curb that natural asset?

Hopefully Postecoglou as national coach will see that the current coaching curriculum needs tweaking to encourage a style that resembles the one employed by the Netherlands against Spain. If as Football Federation of Australia CEO David Gallop stated the Socceroos brand is beginning to wane, this is one sure way to see it rise again.

For the future of Australian football it is time to do as the Dutch do, rather than the way they say.


June 16, 2014 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

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