first_imgFor a brief moment, the public and media did discuss the game itself – outside of the great debates over the Optus debacle and how to pronounce player names – and how Australia could actually improve on the park, as opposed to the aforementioned issues. Considering the subject and the developmental malaise facing the Australian game, it makes that neglect almost perverse.The nature of tactical discussion both before and during the Socceroos’ time in Russia has nevertheless proved to be insightful, and exposed an overall unimaginative thinking.With this in context, and despite some disagreeable aspects and tone to Postecoglou’s recent piece for Players Voice, he is absolutely correct that football is fundamentally about courage. More specifically, one must be brave enough to accept the ubiquity of risk and volatility in football, both in situational and broader tactical terms. Share via Email World Cup Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp How Australia’s players fared at the World Cup Read more Australia sport Share on Twitter Despite the growing influence of geopolitics and corporate power on modern football, the World Cup has long been viewed as a welcome distraction from the “real” world. Topics Reuse this content Soul searching begins for Australia after World Cup exit Read more No regrets for Bert van Marwijk as Australia depart World Cup Australia Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook In contrast to the laborious spells of possession under Postecoglou, overall response to Bert van Marwijk’s apprehensive tactical plan was positive. It must be noted, however, the opponents Australia faced in Group C allowed them to play that way and have a possibility to progress.As highlighted before the tournament, France, Denmark and Peru all struggle to play with a fluid tempo against embedded defences. Ultimately, progression to the last 16 was dependent on who would play best in a reactive sense.Thus it eventuated. Denmark advanced alongside France having only scored two goals, and Group C had the lowest amount of total goals – nine compared to an average of 16.14 in the other seven – in the entire group stage. Despite fine realisation from Christian Eriksen and Yussuf Poulsen, those two Danish goals both came in quick transition from breakdowns in opposition possession.Amid an international game increasingly resembling futsal at the highest levels – defending in deep blocks and quickly transitioning in numbers – the highly safe nature of play in Group C served as a microcosm for the tournament to this point.Ultimately, the Socceroos could not have received a more favourable group, but still finished the tournament with a solitary point and an opening stage exit. However, there is a sense that Van Marwijk could not have done much more with his squad in context. It comes back to a question posed following the playoff win over Syria last October: how much can fluidity, movement and attacking balance offset a lack of individual talent? Under both Postecoglou and Van Marwijk, Australia displayed very little penetration outside transitional scenarios. This void in talent alone, not to mention a crippling inability to advance play from midfield, has made Robbie Kruse pivotal to the Socceroos. However, vehement criticism of his end product completely ignores his contribution to the overall phase of play. The team doesn’t even come close to threatening attacking positions if not for Kruse’s movement. It also creates a situation where, despite his technical aptitude, Daniel Arzani could be most effective as a substitute in the closing 30 minutes of a match.A collective must to be able to create chances in order to score, thus making the simultaneous clamouring for Tim Cahill and neglect of Massimo Luongo – both in media and public spheres – illogical. comment Starting Cahill does not negate the fact Tom Rogic is the only starter comfortable enough in confined space to beat his primary defender. Aside from Cahill’s absence in the building of play, this issue is only amplified considering Australia cannot get the ball to Rogic with any regularity in threatening positions on the pitch.But logic and process matters little in Australian football with respect to what is actually happening on the pitch. Though it sounds paradoxical in sport, to a detriment, only outcomes matter.Going off evidence with tactical fallibilities at club level, this wider outcome-dependency only seems likely to transfer to the Socceroos with Arnold’s ‘expect to win’ ideology. If this World Cup has taught Australian football anything, it is that we are a nation of blunt football thinkers. And that is unlikely to change any time soon. Share on Pinterest World Cup 2018 For the Australian football public – meaning the Australian football public that actually follows the game in the four years between – this World Cup has oddly served as a distraction from the administrative chaos surrounding the local game.The discourse shifted from Fifa intervention, the standoff between Football Federation Australia and A-League franchises, consequent proposals for A-League expansion, promotion/relegation and most relevant to the Socceroos, Ange Postecoglou’s departure and the hiring of Graham Arnold.A distraction it may be in some cases, but the standard of play on the pitch has arguably been a neglected topic in the Australian game, outside of comparing talent to the so-called golden generation.Sign up to receive the latest Australian sports stories every day Read morelast_img

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