Socceroos have to look forward
It was a disappointing performance from the Socceroos, where again we had to rely on our most decorated players and weren’t positive enough with the ball.
It was a disappointing performance from the Socceroos against Oman, where again we had to rely on our most decorated players and just weren-t positive enough with the ball.
Holger Osieck touched on the disappointment of playing pedestrian football. We kept possession well but wasn-t a positive kind of possession.
We were getting the ball wide but it happened too slowly and very few times did we get the likes of Brett Holman or Robbie Kruse in between the lines, where they can turn and get at defenders.
Instead our fullbacks were getting too high too early, which took away any space or threat for Kruse that we look to use. The ball movement was too slow and the choice of passes was good for Oman, because they had two banks of four who were nice and compact and good positions to defend.
We needed to get the ball into central area with players drifting in and getting between the lines, positions where you-re posing questions of the defenders.
The one thing that Australian teams are trying to produce is a game-changer, that creative player that can take up the right positions in the final third, play the killer pass and score goals.
With the new curriculum and over time, I have no doubt we-ll produce these type of players but at the moment we-re still workmanlike - which is a strength of ours - but we lacking the speed of the passing and not being positive enough.
I looked through the whole campaign and when we-ve tried to play football against these teams, we-ve had good possession but we-ve not caused teams problems. The times we-ve looked at our best in this campaign is when we-ve been physical and direct but there lies my concern.
That might be enough for us to get to Brazil but at a World Cup that-s not enough. Tim Cahill had five or six headers last night; he-ll have one of those against Germany, Spain or France. Good teams can handle that physical aspect but going forward they can hurt us.
We-ve seen defensively that we-re not getting tested at the level in this group we will if we get to a World Cup.
Matty McKay was sleeping for the second goal - I don-t blame him, he-s not a defender - and Thwaitey got caught napping for a split second for the first goal. We slept twice last night and got punished for two goals and better teams are going to cause us far more problems and have far more opportunities.
Again, some have raised the question if the players coming through are good enough yet?
The wash up from last night was Mark Schwarzer didn-t have a great deal to do, Tim Cahill was our main player and you could see how frustrated he was in the first half in regards to how deep he was having to come to get the ball, so you-re looking at one of our more decorated players being the star of the night.
Mark Bresciano is one of those players that can get between the lines and play positive balls - whether or not he was ready to start but he-s one player we can rely on to play that position, as can Brett Holman.
But we-ve got to be positive. Cast your mind to that Suncorp game against Japan - did we think Japan were better in the way they played? Yes? But how did we cause them problems and get back into the game? By being direct, getting the ball forward, chasing pushing, contesting every ball, winning the second ball, that-s how we got back into that game.
I-m not saying being direct is the only way but we have to look forward, get balls to feet and unless we move the ball quicker, wide and behind the opposition, we-re going to find whoever we play against harder and harder to break down. You-ve got to cut the boys loose.
Holger-s not a curriculum man; he-s playing a system he thinks suits our team. The preparation would have been there, it-s all very meticulous and everyone knows their roles.
But we didn-t start well last night and then when you concede a goal, the whole dynamic of the game changes.
So what do we need from our next three games? If I think back to two games I played in the last campaign, when we beat Oman and Qatar 3-0 - it was because we exploded out of the blocks in the first half.
It-s about energy from the first whistle, the first pass is positive and crisp. There was no tempo or intensity from us in the first half last night. It-s almost as if we-re waiting to see how it goes, and then finding ourselves in and even harder position - then showing what spirit we-ve got.
But we need that from the first minute. Instead of us talking about how much Oman are up for the game, that-s what we should be saying about our boys.
We didn-t have that buzz last night. And until we went 2-0 down we didn-t look likely to change that pattern and when we did we were physical and direct - but that won-t be good enough to make an impact at a World Cup.
Saying that I-ll take results in these next three games however we get them. It-s nice to get a performance as well but we need the results to get to the World Cup because if we don-t, that will hurt us quite significantly.