Enough is enough, Ange Postecoglou

Look Australia, more specifically the Socceroos, or more specifically Ange Postecoglou, we have to have a chat because enough is enough. Unless you are Andy Harper, it was evident our performance against Japan was abysmal, and our efforts against the last placed Thailand was unacceptable. Football in this country needs success to thrive, the Asian Cup is history now and qualifying for the World Cup is all that matters, which begs the question of why we are taking it so lightly. 

The Socceroos have won three times in their previous 12 matches including victory over Thailand at AAMI Park. We missed out on automatic qualification and are facing the difficult route to Russia. The facts are facts, it doesn’t matter if we had a million shots again Thailand or hit the post multiple times versus Japan. We lost games that we needed to win, there should be no excuses in international football. Yet Socceroos fans are waking up to our national coach, stating the style of play is what works for us? What game was Postecoglou watching?

We won the Asian Cup playing an attacking brand of possession based football, we also witnessed Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory dominate the A-League under his leadership. However, like we said earlier, that has passed, it is just history. Football has developed immensely over the past couple years, look at Barcelona for instance, they move the ball around a hell of a lot faster than when “tiki taka” was taking off, and the same could be said for Spain. As it stands, Australia are playing an outdated and experimental type of football.

Love him or hate him, Mark Bosnich hit the nail on the head in a rant following the Socceroos victory over Thailand. We will include his words below if you didn’t hear them. Switching to three at the back during the World Cup qualifiers is utterly ridiculous, constantly experimenting and tinkering with personnel and combinations is ludicrous and being so proud of your style to not take a backward step is quite selfish, which is exactly what came across the table at Postecoglou’s press conference on Wednesday.

Making the World Cup every single time is crucial for Australian football, so experimenting with the national team in World Cup qualifiers is a short path to destruction, and it starts at the top. To that point, we are not hurdling all of the blame onto Postecoglou, however, if the problems are evident to the majority of Socceroos fans and your national coach insists this is the style that will lead to success than it is worth getting a little direct. Not to mention some of the poor performances from the squad could come as a result from the constant alterations.

Ange Postecoglou is a risk taker, he is bold and brave, and in a way that resonates with Australians. However, there is a time and place to take risks, and tempting that in World Cup qualifiers is not one of them. There will be plenty of time to play around with all the pieces of the jigsaw in friendly games during the build-up to Russia, once the Socceroos are safe and qualified. But the fact of the matter is the Socceroos are not in the World Cup at the moment, and are by no means favourites to progress through the playoffs, so why take the risks?

Before concluding, we just want you to consider one more thing. Bosnich mentioned this as well, and it is quite an interesting view. What if Postecoglou was German, Italian or French? Would the Australian public be so supportive of the Socceroos’ performances over the past few months? Doubt it. Holger Osieck walked a constant tight rope but managed to get us to the World Cup, Pim Verbeek also copped plenty. Different situations call for different reactions and outcomes, but this is the grand stage and sometimes we need to put previous successes behind us and focus on the present. Tough love hurts, but it is the modern landscape of football, ask Claudio Ranieri about it.

We are not calling for Postecoglou’s head, he has improved the squad, but we have lost our way. What is frustrating is the lack of responsibility for it. We can talk all day about the good things the Socceroos did against both Japan and Thailand, but until we accept the negatives and take a step back and look at the bigger picture, can we then make any real developments. We can’t continue to use the typical excuses of luck, or it just takes time, because it really doesn’t. We have to win two games otherwise it is all over.

The style Australia play is attractive and effective, but it needs to be faster and lethal. That is the next step. Possession football is meaningless without speed, and goal opportunities are worthless without conviction. Postecoglou’s football philosophy needs to be tweaked from the foundation, it needs to be simplified and brought back to the basics. Swapping personnel and changing formations is not going to magically solve the issues at hand, but some hard work and an ego downgrade may just lead to an ambitious future.

Time is running out for the Socceroos and Ange Postecoglou.

Write a Reply