Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well, that didn't quite go to plan...


Tim Cahill suspended for our encounter with Ghana, possibly also not available for Serbia.
The Socceroos humiliated on the world stage.

What went wrong?

A high defence line
Pim has a dilemma. He has two very slow centre-backs, one of them is really getting on in age. He is about to face a fluid attacking outfit. What does he do? Instead of being sensible and playing with a deep defensive line, he tries to play a pressing system which ultimately utilises a very high defensive line. Did you realise how many times the Germans were pinged for offside? This was because we were playing a high line with the offside trap. Worked some of the time, not so much for most of the game.

When SBS showed the line-up at 4:20 in the morning, I was dumb-founded. We have played 4-2-3-1 pretty much throughout the qualification campaign, so why we switched to a classic 4-4-2 formation for the biggest game of the last four year is beyond me. Sure, if one of the Socceroos had netted from the opening corner, and we had held on for a one-nil victory, Verbeek would have been hailed as a tactical genius. But we didn't. If anyone has any suggestions as to why the sudden switch away from the Verbeek defensive system, feel free to comment.

Playing Tim Cahill as a striker
It is easy to criticise this decision with hindsight, but Cahill looked isolated and frustrated up-front. Although we don't know what went through his mind when he made the tackle (and I don't think it should have been a red anyway), it's possible this frustration played a part.

Who didn't disgrace themselves

Luke Wilkshire had a very solid game and combined well with Brett Emerton, who was also good. While Mark Schwarzer would have hoped to have put a hand to Klose goal, it was a 50/50 ball and he was unlucky, otherwise he played decently. Carl Valeri play hard in the midfield and despite being outclassed certainly didn't disgrace himself. Brett Holman looked lively when he came on, and added some attacking spark. Richard Garcia was also solid, while the rest were average to poor.

Despite having a very poor game and being withdrawn at half-time, Vince Grella redeemed himself after the game with this cracker: "F..ck no-one died. It's a game of football. They are very good. We knew they were going to be a tough opposition. We just have to sleep it off and start again tomorrow."

For an excellent tactical analysis of the game, check out one of the finest football sites around, Zonal Marking.

Also check out a review of the game by Half Time Heroes editor Con Stamocostas, or 442 online editor Kevin Airs' view on the game. And if you haven't done so already, our very own Dom of Aus WC Blog had three issues to raise after the game.

Our next World Cup encounter is against Ghana, who were victorious against Serbia in their opening match, and is at 12am Sunday morning (ie very late Saturday night). Watch out for build-up material here during the week. GO SOCCEROOS!


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