Monday, November 06, 2006

Bummer, Young Socceroos bow out....

SUCH a pity this 'best generation of players since 1991', as they have losely been described by no less than the national coach, won't be getting a chance to showcase there stuff on the world stage, out in the quarter finals of the world youth cup qualifiers to South Korea, who march on a semi-final and a spot in the world cup.

Given the lack of TV (SBS has packaged some highlights on Toyota World Sports and The World Game) and mainstream press coverage, it is terribly hard to dissect the tournament, but thanks to those like James Brown watching through their broadband connections, we have had the odd independent report.

Otherwise, we have had to rely on the official comments filtering through from Ange Postecoglou, and even he has admitted the play has been poor in the main.

Even out of this quarter final, the early reports suggest the team were totally outplayed by a more efficient (there's a Melbourne Cup tip) and incisive South Korea.

Indeed, even the two wins, against Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, are said to have been far from impressive.

Which is a real concern given the team contains the likes of Kaz Patafta, Nathan Burns, Dario Vidosic, David Williams, Shaun Ontong and Matthew Spiranovic, all highly rated kids, a highly thought of generation. Burns has certainly been a revelation at A-League level and must have been missed tonight, but he learnt a harsh lesson in succumbing to the temptation of kicking the ball into the back of an empty net after the whistle had been blown. Silly silly boy.

But ultimately, this team was undone by a first up loss to China, confirming that he who underestimates the depth in Asia will get stung. Already we have lost to Laos at youth level, been taken apart in Kuwait City at senior level and now this.

Perhaps we were kidding ourselves for thinking that we could waltz through Asia as we have strolled through Oceania, simply turn up and win? Especially with a bunch of kids given little or, in many instances, no regular action.

Once again the kids have been under-sold, and, while it's fair to say there have been other priorities, this latest result confirms urgency of the governing body's moves to address the development/youth issue.

Earlier tonight I had the good-fortune of catching up with Anthony Crea, the current strength and conditioning coach at Sydney FC and man reponsible for flogging the Socceroos before and during the world cup.

We spoke of the meticulous preparation and planning that went into the success, of how Hiddink spent weeks sitting down with him, mapping out a fitness regime, doting the i's and crossing the t's. The players weren't always happy, but it worked.

It re-inforced that success can only be achieved through thorough planning, so it's time the youth teams were given similar attention, for the good of the future of the game.


Blogger Simon O'Toole said...

Tony, I think what you're saying here is that Ange needs to go. He's had 7 years, and had no success, to be kind. Lots of people rave about kids like David Williams, Kaz Patafta and Nathan Burns, but one gets the feeling that they aren't playing to their potential in tournaments. I think you're spot on with your comments on team fitness. To really challenge at this level, we need to be 100% fit, as was shown during the World Cup.

Tue. Nov. 07, 09:15:00 am AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello , wake up!
By all accounts the young “ roos” were thoroughly outplayed by South Korea.
The solution is not to “flog” our youngsters to higher fitness levels, but to increase their levels of skill and technique.
When will this message sink in?
We need a TD........ yesterday!
Further , as suggested in some circles replacing Ange P. with Steve O., would be as effective as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Tue. Nov. 07, 09:51:00 am AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Simon, thanks for the comment.

I agree that the manager has to go, but I'm not entirely sure it's the only solution. It's just part of it.

It is much deeper than that in my opinion, and it starts from the top.

By all accounts we were totally outplayed, so i'd be looking at the big picture, which is a review of the system which produces the players, the system which selects the coach, the system which is responsible for providing the best possible preparation. I understand that at least part of this is already under way, and this result will re-inforce the need to do it asap.

You can do nothing by halves and expect to succeed, particualrly now we are in Asia. Preparation and planning are the keys as we saw with the world cup campaign, and it starts from the top.

Tue. Nov. 07, 10:15:00 am AEDT  
Anonymous Colo Trifti said...

Efficient is out of the Cup just like the Young Socceroos!

Tue. Nov. 07, 02:07:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger Mike Salter said...

...I think you're spot on with your comments on team fitness. To really challenge at this level, we need to be 100% fit, as was shown during the World Cup....

As I recently commented on my own blog, this was (IMO) Guus Hiddink's finest contribution to our WC performance. Forget all the blathering about tactics.

We were the fittest team in the tournament bar none, as were the Koreans in 2002 (not coincidentally).

Hiddink has a degree in physical education IIRC, and it showed.

Tue. Nov. 07, 08:58:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This stereotype of Aussie footballers as a bunch of 100 percent'rs, has not served us well at youth level.
A footballer with excellent technique will always prevail over a fit plodder.
Hiddink played the fitness card in WC coz that was the only card he was dealt.
We are beholden to our youngsters to increase their technical levels or we are condemning them to more heartbreak.!
Der Ball ist Rund!

Wed. Nov. 08, 01:32:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Mike, honestly, I think that fitness was just part of the whole Hiddink equation, albeit a crucial one.

The point I was making with it is that it just highlights how much attention to detail needs to go into being successful.

I'm not sure this same attention to detail was given to the Young Socceroos, or the Joeys before them.

Fitness is one part of it, but there are many others includng tactics, selection, harmony and the players' own desire to do well, which I believe was right up there as a key ingredient in the Soocceroos success.

Deep down they wanted to paint Aus football in a positive light, and Hiddink and the hierachy gave them the ingredients to do it.

Not convinced the Young Roos have been afforded even a fraction of that attention.

Wed. Nov. 08, 05:56:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Der Ball ist rund....thanks for the comment.....

....A footballer with excellent technique will always prevail over a fit plodder.....

I'd love to agree with you entirely cause I'm all for technique, but the reality of the modern footballer is that the best combine good technique with the physical attributes, strength and fitness.

But I agree with you in principle. A young kid should always be taught sound technique first and foremost, as the physical stuff can follow.

It's just that the realities of the modern game mean that technique alone isn't enough, and for me that's a shame, but we have to roll with the times.

.....We are beholden to our youngsters to increase their technical levels or we are condemning them to more heartbreak.!......

I agree, football is a simple game. S/he who can hold the ball the longest, share is around, invariably come up trumps. If you have the fundamentals, kids with good habits, the tactical and physical discipline can be instilled. From a development perspective, I understand it is much harder the other way around, to teach an athlete to become a footballer.

Wed. Nov. 08, 11:42:00 pm AEDT  

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