Our World Cup journey may be over, but I am immensely proud of our national team and the way they played against the likes of world class opposition in France and Denmark.
We have shown to the rest of the World (and part-time football ‘fans’) that the Socceroos have heart, desire and passion for this beautiful game and our country.
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and these have not just come up because we didn’t progress or win any games over in Russia. As we all know, football in Australia needs improvement starting from the bottom – it starts from grassroots and our youngsters. Like Adam Peacock wrote, we need our kids to be playing against even better kids or ones at the same level. I have seen too many results go 10-0, 15-0. How will these players learn or progress? These kids could potentially be our future stars.
One question posed was the fact we weren’t lethal in front of goal. We scored one goal from open play in five games (friendly matches included).
Andrew Nabbout looked very promising but was unfortunately injured during the tournament. This left BVM with a choice, and that was to either call up Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric or Jamie Maclaren.
In my opinion, Cahill should’ve come on against Denmark to try and conjure up some magic in the second half.
Juric was not 100% fit, hence the call to Maclaren who was on holiday. Juric played against Peru which left people asking, why not Maclaren?
Maclaren proved his worth in the A-League and was scoring for fun with Hibernian. There was nothing to lose and maybe Bert didn’t rate JMac as much as we all do but when you have an injured player on the field and a fully fit one waiting to come on and possibly score, what more is there to ask?
As Graham Arnold steps in, we can only hope that he gives Maclaren a shot. Without one, he’ll never be able to prove what he can do on the national stage. He might not have it yet, but with time and an opportunity, I believe that he is our answer up front.
Massive thank you to the teams at both SBS and Optus Sport for their dedication to the World Cup, and the world game. The insight and analysis is always brilliant.