Back in last 2013, when they drew the teams for the group stages, I couldn’t help but feel that we would get a decent group this year, one with some lower and less experienced teams. Boy was I wrong. We got hit with the group of death. Chile, Spain AND Netherlands. From this point onwards, everyone dismissed Australia completely, and they were right to, we are no match for those three teams with Spain and Netherlands picked to advance through, especially when we are missing some key players. Kruse, Williams and Kennedy all out injured, and Schwarzer deciding it was time to hang up his international boots. Everyone new this was just going to be experience for our next golden generation, a chance for the players to show that they deserve to be representing Australia.
Match 1: Chile v Australia (3-1)
The two teams met in Cuiaba, after their first meeting in the 1974 World Cup, where Australia gained their first ever world Cup points. Some poor defending and mistakes gave Chile a 2-0 lead after just 15 minutes, but Tim Cahill did what he does best and headed one into the back of the net before half time. After conceding a final goal, Chile finished the game winning 3-1. Admittedly, it wasn’t the best game for our defenders, but the pressuring and tactics that Ange had put into place was fantastic.
Match 2: Netherlands v Australia (3-2)
This game was Australia’s best performance in this World Cup. The high pressure Ange placed against the Dutch worked effectively, and we looked like the team on top for most of the game. Netherlands opened the score, and the one and only Tim Cahill responded within the minute with one of the best goals in his career, and certainly one of the best goals of the World Cup. Australia then later went into the lead after Jedinak converted a penalty, but it didn’t last long as the Dutch scraped together two goals to win 3-2. Some poor defending from Davidson which lead to Robin Van Persie’s goal, but other than that, I think Australia deserved to win that game.
Match 3: Spain v Australia
For the first 30 minutes of the game, I honestly thought Australia was going to smash Spain. Again we had a very good high pressure and the Spanish were making plenty of mistakes. Although we were missing Tim Cahill, we have Taggart up front, and he finally had his time to shine. Unfortunately he seemed to enjoy hugging the grass after slipping over more than actually playing the game. It was a depressing end to our campaign, because although we looked very confident and played very well, it was again that one mistake in our defence that lost it for us. In this game, it was McGowan, who must have thought David Villa was invisible, because we was never marking the major threat that he is. It was a shame that Franjic was injured and couldn’t play, because he played very well in the first game.
Although we came last in our group losing all three of our games, we definitely played well, and have improved as a team. There are definitely some stand out players in our squad after the world cup, Taggart has been bought by Fulham and they are also reportedly interested in Davidson.
Matthew Leckie (Aged 23):
Matthew Leckie was one of, if not the best performing Australian at the World Cup. His sprints and runs down the wing were a major threat, and his aggression and excellent pressuring was one of the reasons why Australian’s can hold their heads high after this World Cup.
Tim Cahill (Aged 34):
As expected, Tim Cahill was majestic in this World Cup. Adding two more goals to his tally of World Cup goals, he become the one of very few players to play in three consecutive World Cups Finals. He was a constant threat to every opposition, with Chile and the Dutch resorting to fouling and pulling on his shirt for every cross, most of which were ignored by the referee.
Ange deserves a big round of applause for his work in the World Cup. No one expected us to do anything big at the World Cup, no one but Ange. Even with our backs to the wall, Ange come out fighting like a true Australian and gave us a performance we would all be proud of. The tactics and formations he put in place were carefully planned and thought out, and worked very effectively. Even with several major injuries, resulting in Ange picking players that had only several caps under their belt.
Even though we didn’t get a point on the table, we still played some very competitive games, and we have started nurturing our new golden generation. Every single one of them put 110% into every game, and that’s all we could have asked from them. Now we have to look forwards to the Asian Cup, and how to combat the major Asian teams that we’ll have to face. But i’m sure Ange has a plan. #InAngeWeTrust
David Moyes has recently broken ANOTHER record by being the first manager fired since 1986. On Tuesday night for us Aussies, we received the not so shocking news of David Moyes getting the axe from Manchester United. Over the last few Months, Moyes has faced some harsh comments towards his management at the club, and losing to his old team, Everton, was the final blow for fans. As there are always two sides to an argument, there a two sides towards his sacking. There are the majority of people that demanded his sacking, and those that were more sympathetic and were open to him managing for another season. And probably one of the saddest things about his sacking, is that it happened just three days before his birthday. Spurs are apparently interested in signing Moyes, and I think he’ll flourish there, as long as he is given time.
Moyes originally signed on with United for a 6-year contract, and the board backed him up with a long-term plan and stating their faith in him, because rebuilding after the departure of arguably the best manager in football wasn’t going to be easy. So why wasn’t he given the long-term chance to rebuild United? Because if we look at his past club, Everton, he brought them from near relegation, to a top 6 team. And if he could do that with the minimal funds Everton had, surely he could do it for the reigning champions? Unfortunately, there’s more than one answer.
- The high expectations left by Alex Ferguson
- The attitudes of the players
- The complete switch in back-room staff
- The philosophy of Manchester United fans
- Age of our starting squads
- Growing lack of talent
When Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, the tickets for his last game were going for sale online for almost £3000, that’s almost $5,500 AUD. When ticket prices are that high, it’s safe to say that the man was one of a kind. He’s the reason why United are as successful as they are. So being the man to replace him would be suicide. The fans would have continual high expectations for him to achieve, as if Fergie never left, and the problem with that is, most of the fans don’t know what’s going on with the club. They just shout and cheer for United, then attempt to blame someone when their club is losing. And unfortunately, for those die-hard United supporters since child-hood like myself, it’s painful to be stereotyped with those people.
It’s come to light that a lot of the players were not happy with the new management, some of them even betting on ‘how long until he was sacked’. There was so much bickering going on behind the scenes that they managed to keep quiet for a while, that i’m ashamed. If I was Moyes, and a player made a negative comment about me, I would shout down at them until they fall in line. Bickering like a bunch of teenage girls and then blaming Moyes because they played poorly reminds me of saturday-league football. They should really think about what they’ve done before they find another scape-goat.
Another point I made was the age of the team. The likes of Ferdinand and Evra in our starting team, I found was a poor decision throughout the season. Ferdinand is still a good player, but he has the turning circle of a truck, and the speed of a sloth. Multiple times while watching games, I would scream at my monitor when he moved out of position, and it would usually lead to conceding a goal. And Evra was summed up in the second leg against Bayern Munich. Great offence, terrible defence. Both of them should be dropped immediately. They were world class in their prime, but with our captain Vidic leaving at the end of this season as well, it’s time to start a new legacy. They are no longer United Quality.
So what now? We’ve sacked our manager and we still have games left! Ryan Giggs is what happens now. Ryan Giggs has stepped in as Manager on an interim basis, which basically means he is to be Manager until they contract a full-time manager. During his first team talk he said that “we will go back to playing like Manchester United”. I have the same confidence in Giggs as I did in Moyes, which is a great amount. Giggs knows how everything works, he’s basically the living embodiment of Manchester United. The man breathes trophies.
But what about long-term? A lot of names are in the air, including Jurgen Klopp, Van Gaal and even Jose Mourinho. Most of them are just hopeful rumours, but some of then are quite good candidates. I personally would love to see Van Gaal manage United, he has the perfect personality to control the egotistic players, and know-how to win seasons, and continue our reign of success.
But why would Jose Mourinho be rumoured to join us, he just joined Chelsea. Well there were rumours at the end of last season that Jose wanted to take over after Fergie, and perhaps they’re just journalists making up stories to write about. But wouldn’t it be great if he joined us? He has quite the resume. There are rumours that he is trying to get himself fired so he can manage United, but again, i’m going to assume their false rumours.
Van Gaal would be the better fit for United I think personally. He is currently managing the Netherlands international team, and managed the likes of Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich before looking onto the international stage. He’s won countless awards for his clubs, and multiple personal awards. His ‘no one is bigger than me’ personality is exactly what we need at United to keep everyone in line, and for everyone to perform at their maximum potential again. There’s an in depth analysis here on reddit. One story that I particularly like about Van Gaal, is when meeting Pique, Van Gaal, without warning, pushed the 14-year old Pique over and said, “You’re too weak to be a Barcelona defender.” We need that kind of attitude.
Even when we sign a new manager, we still need to make some crucial signings. We need some new defenders, and some new midfielders. We really need to make it rain this transfer window, we have a lot of players leaving, and we already have too many holes in our team. We need to totally reshape our team. So who should we buy? (All values in euro’s from TransferMarkt)
Ivan Rakitic 20M: The 16 year-old Croatian footballer currently playing for Sevilla in Spain, plays in a central midfield or attacking midfield. He has magnificent passing and vision, which we need in our team. He’s also quite the dribbler. While we don’t need another attacking midfield, he can play out wide, and he’s worth the investment. His move and pass play can would be dangerous if lined up with Kagawa and Mata. He would most likely be suited on the right-hand side, leaving the middle for Mata.
Luke Shaw 30M: An 18-year old Left-Back for Southampton, he’s one to keep an eye on. He’s already in the starting squad, and plenty of top clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea have him in their scopes. He’s like a young Gareth Bale, with a great attacking style with good decision making. Apparently Manchester United are to beat Chelsea with a 30M bid for the youngster this transfer window.
Kevin Strootman 21M: At 24 years old, he’s in the starting line-up in his Italian side Roma as a central midfielder. He’s a tough tackler and has excellent vision, which is exactly what we need in a new midfielder. We don’t need another Carrick that will only bass it backwards. He’s currently injured for the rest of the season, and the 2014 World Cup. His tough tackling would suit the Premier League, and most importantly, Manchester United’s style of play. Plus he has a good relationship with Van Gaal, so if he is to manage United next season, he will definitely look at bringing in the Dutchman.
William Carvalho 7M: A Portuguese defensive midfield player, at 22 years old he plays for Sporting Lisbon. Manchester United have been scouting him for some time, and he’s a perfect fit for United, much like Strootman. And for only 7M, he would be a great investment, and a valued played in our ranks.
Ezequiel Garay 17.5M: A 27-year old defender currently playing for Benfica, would be a great asset to United. With a great tackling ability and some great strength, he surely fit in well for United. United doesn’t really need many CB’s, as we have Evans, Smalling and Jones already, and all of which are good enough to fill the holes of Vidic and Ferdinand. Garay will just add a bit of experience to the defence.
I think the one thing that really needs the change though, the the fans philosophy and mentality towards the next few seasons. Everyone expects us to win season after season, but it’s just not going to happen. We can’t continue to have the strongest ego. We have to accept that we’re going to lose some crucial games along to way, but we’re setting ourselves up for great success in the future, similar to Liverpool. They were once a great team, and it took them decades to contest again.
Everyone just needs to remember that Form is temporary, but Class is permanent.
But until next season, we get to experience Ryan Giggs as a player manager, and i’d love to see him on the side line managing in his kit, and to sub himself on. Especially in the last game. Maybe it’s the start of his next big scheme to win more trophies, to become the world’s next best manager. Either way, i’m behind United, and I have faith that we will eventually bounce back and become champions once again.
Tomorrow morning is the Australia v Ecuador match. This game, even though it’s just a friendly, is actually so important for the Australian manager, Ange Postecoglou. This is because he is bringing in several new faces, and has axed most of the older Socceroos, known as the “Golden Generation”. One of the most notable players missing is Lucas Neill, Australia’s captain. During his prime, Lucas was crucial to their success, and lead from the back to improve Australia’s international reputation. Having no club for many months, he recently signed for Watford FC in England, but his recent form and age has forced Ange to remove him from his squad indefinitely.
So the spot for Captaincy was available. Many people expected Tim Cahill to receive it, because of the impact he’s had for the squad (he even scored Australia’s FIRST World Cup Finals goal against Japan in 2006). But the role fell before the very worthy Jedinak, the Midfielder from Crystal Palace in England.
I think Mile Jedinak totally deserved to be Captain for Australia, even though he scored an own goal when we faced Oman in the Qualifying rounds for the World Cup. His recent performances for Crystal Palace have been amazing (in my opinion), he is alway full of so much energy, and is never scared of a tackle. He leads the team even when he wasn’t the Captain for Australia, and the fact that he is Captain for Crystal Palace already shows that he knows what he’s doing. Plus, Jedinak’s style of play is perfect under Ange, High Pressure. And I’m sure we will be seeing this against Ecuador.
One of the largest threats we face tomorrow, is Antonio Valencia, who plays on the right wing for Manchester United. Now, even as a United supporter, I can admit we’re having a bit of a crappy year. One of the worst for decades. And hopefully this form and morale can stick to Valencia during tomorrow’s game, otherwise Ange will have to mark him closely.
I’m predicting a 4-2-2-2 formation, which Ange used a lot at Melbourne Victory. With Kruse missing, I think he will give Rogic a chance to show his potential with a starting position, and I think he’ll place Leckie and Cahill up front, almost in a False-9 type of formation. He’ll play aggressive with high pressure, and try to capitalise off every mistake.
I’ll be up watching it live before I go to Uni, and I’m sure I’ll do a Post-Match thread later in the week.
Tomorrow I have the UOW Orientation week for my faculty. I’m pretty excited to go to all the events, and to start all my classes. I’ll admit, it’s always a bit nervy on your first day, but I feel excited to start. I’ll be keeping alot more active on my blog during uni, i’ll probably be blogging on all my breaks and uploading alot more pictures. Im buying a new DSLR soon, and i’ve been taking my old one along everywhere I go, so you can expect some more photos too. I recently bought a new book, Alex Ferguson’s Autobiography. It’s a great read. He was THE best manager in the world, and he will be remembered as one of the best managers to have lived. He has won Manchester United 38 trophies over 27 years. I’ll miss him.
So its late January, and soon everyone playing soccer has to register. For some reason every year I seem to organize everyone to make a team of old team mates and friends, and I really love it.
Getting everyone together, and creating a formation that suits everyone. I feel like Im playing Manager Mode on FIFA. Hopefully we get the team together and have an awesome season.