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The Socceroos Thread

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The Socceroos

Qualification

Under the previous manager Holger Osieck, Australia qualified in rather dismal fashion. Australia's first three results in the Asian Group Stage Qualifiers were disappointing to say the least, with a 0-0 draw against Oman, a 1-1 draw at home against Japan (not terrible to be fair) and a 2-1 loss to Jordan. Whilst things finally picked up in the fourth match of qualifying with a 2-1 win against Iraq in Qatar, Australia continued to regress with a home 2-2 draw with Oman and an away 1-1 draw with a Japan side who were focused on the Confederations Cup. Australia therefore required two wins from their final two matches and achieved it with a 4-0 win against Jordan and a rather fortuitous 1-0 win against Iraq thanks to a Joshua Kennedy goal.

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Manager

After these lacklustre results the Football Federation Australia finally developed the cojones required to sack Holger Osieck, replacing him with the successful domestic manager Ange Postecoglou. Postecoglou, Australia's first manager from Australia since Frank Farina in 2005, despite having disappointing results with Australia's youth national team, the Young Socceroos in the early part of this century has been the most successful manager in domestic Australian football. Back in the old National Soccer League (NSL), Postecoglou won the competition twice and indeed back to back in 1997/98 and 1998/99 seasons. Ange Postecoglou has also achieved results in the A-League era, at Brisbane Roar Postecoglou got rid of the old guard opting for youth and he developed a possession-based style of football which had not been seen before in the A-League and it was incredibly successful. The Roar under Postecoglou recorded a 36 match unbeaten streak, not only an Australian football record but a record across all Australian codes of football, breaking a 74 year old record set by the Rugby League side the Sydney Roosters (then Eastern Suburbs). At Brisbane, Postecoglou won the Championship (playoff series) on two occasions in 2010/11 and in 2011/12 and won the Minor Premiership (top of the table) on one occasion, in 2010/11. Postecoglou then left to implement a similar style at the Melbourne Victory and whilst they qualified for the finals as expected last season Postecoglou had not won anything with the club before leaving to manage the Socceroos.

Problems

The ultimate legacy of the Holger Osieck era is a lack of legacy. Osieck was too afraid to bring in young players, indeed if Osieck had remained in charge Australia would have brought to the World Cup the oldest squad and indeed one of the oldest squads in the competition's history. Postecoglou has dropped some of these older players and indeed both Lucas Neill and Brett Holman have retired from international football. Ultimately Postecoglou has been left with a group of reasonably talented younger players who lack experience at international level. Furthermore Australia have suffered some injuries heading into this tournament. Arguably Australia's best player, the Bayer Leverkusen winger Robbie Kruse has suffered a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament and he will miss the tournament, the Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams will also miss the tournament through an achilles injury whilst a groin injury on the final day of the Premier League season for the newly appointed Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak also puts him in doubt.

Friendlies

Australia will play two friendly matches before the World Cup. The first will be at Stadium Australia in Sydney against South Africa on the 26th of May whilst the second friendly will be against Croatia on the 6th of June in the Brazilian city of Salvador. It has also been rumoured that Australia will face a yet unnamed Brazilian club side in a closed doors friendly.

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2014-world-cup-logo.jpg

The World Cup

Group B

For the upcoming World Cup, Australia has been given the group of death being drawn with the reigning World and European Champions Spain, the previous World Cup runners up, the Netherlands and a strong Chile.

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Australia vs Chile, 14th June, 8AM, SBSHD

The first match for Australia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be against Chile at the Arena Pantanal in the capital city of the state of Mato Grosso, Cuiaba. An inexperienced Australian side face an incredibly difficult challenge up against Chile.Chile, who reached the Round of 16 at the previous World Cup under 'El Loco' Marcelo Bielsa are managed by his ideological successor, Jorge Sampaoli. Despite the injury to their key midfielder, Juventus' Arturo Vidal, Chile's aggressive style is likely to cause problems for the Socceroos and it's difficult to see them picking up any points in this match.

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Australia vs Netherlands, 19th June, 2AM, SBSHD

Australia's next match comes against the Netherlands at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Despite their status as the reigning World Cup runners up and despite the managerial skills of Louis van Gaal this match probably represents the best opportunity for Australia to pick up a point. In saying that in such a difficult group that doesn't mean much and it certainly doesn't mean Australia will get the point although Australia have a strong record historically against the Dutch.

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Australia vs Spain, 24th June, 2AM, SBSHD

Australia's final match of the group and indeed final match of the tournament barring an impossible miracle will be against Spain at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, the capital of Parana. Spain are, of course, the reigning World Champions and are again, of course a very good side. Australia may have a modicum of hope considering Spain at this point are likely to play a rotated side. A side that will still be better than virtually anyone else at the tournament.

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Squad

GOALKEEPERS

Mark BIRIGHITTI (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

Eugene GALEKOVIC (Adelaide United FC, AUSTRALIA)

Mitchell LANGERAK (B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY)

Mat RYAN (Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM)

DEFENDERS

Jason DAVIDSON (SC Heracles Almelo, NETHERLANDS)

Ivan FRANJIC (Brisbane Roar FC, AUSTRALIA)

Curtis GOOD (Dundee United FC, SCOTLAND)

Ryan McGOWAN (Shandong Luneng Taishan FC, CHINA)

Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, AUSTRALIA)

Alex WILKINSON (Jeonbuk Hyundai FC, KOREA REPUBLIC)

Luke WILKSHIRE (FK Dinamo Moscow, RUSSIA)

Bailey WRIGHT (Preston North End FC, ENGLAND)

MIDFIELDERS

Oliver BOZANIC (FC Luzern, SWITZERLAND)

Mark BRESCIANO (Al Gharafa, QATAR)

Joshua BRILLANTE (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

James HOLLAND (FK Austria Vienna, AUSTRIA)

Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND)

Massimo LUONGO (Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND)

Matthew McKAY (Brisbane ROAR FC, AUSTRALIA)

Mark MILLIGAN (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Tommy OAR (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS)

Tommy ROGIC (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Adam SAROTA (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS)

James TROISI (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Dario VIDOSIC (FC Sion, SWITZERLAND)

FORWARDS

Tim CAHILL (New York Red Bulls, USA)

Ben HALLORAN (Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY)

Josh KENNEDY (Nagoya Grampus 8, JAPAN)

Matthew LECKIE (FSV Frankfurt 1899, GERMANY)

Adam TAGGART (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

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Australia's final match of the group and indeed final match of the tournament

Such optimism :D

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Here's some more optimism courtesy of former Australian captain Paul Wade.

As Ange Postecoglou prepares to name his preliminary squad for next month’s World Cup, the former Socceroos captain Paul Wade has delivered some heartening news for Australia’s opponents in Brazil.

"We are going to get absolutely smashed," Wade said on Tuesday. “It's a massive step up for them, it really is,” he added of a squad that is likely to include players with limited international experience, such as Adam Taggart, Osama Malik, Luke Brattan and James Troisi.

The Socceroos face Spain, Holland and Chile in arguably the hardest group at the World Cup, and Wade says Australia’s team spirit will help them. Up to a point.

"As a footballer, we talk about the green and gold,” said Wade. “As a footballer, you have pride in yourself and your performance and helping your mates out. That all comes into play. But right now, without doubt, we're going to get hammered."

Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Mark Bresciano, Matt McKay and Eugene Galekovic are likely to be the oldest members of the squad with most pundits tipping Postecoglou to go with players who will feature in the 2018 World Cup campaign.

Wade, however, sees the lack of expectation as an advantage for Postecoglou. "There's no pressure on him because we're not expected to get out of the group," he said. "A lot of people are saying we won't even score a goal or get a point."

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/may/13/socceroos-world-cup-2014-brazil

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Here's some more optimism courtesy of former Australian captain Paul Wade.

Not much pressure put on them then :D That can be an advantage.

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Will Bresc be eligible due to his CAS suspension?

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Preliminary squad announced:

GOALKEEPERS

Mark BIRIGHITTI (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

Eugene GALEKOVIC (Adelaide United FC, AUSTRALIA)

Mitchell LANGERAK (B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY)

Mat RYAN (Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM)

DEFENDERS

Jason DAVIDSON (SC Heracles Almelo, NETHERLANDS)

Ivan FRANJIC (Brisbane Roar FC, AUSTRALIA)

Curtis GOOD (Dundee United FC, SCOTLAND)

Ryan McGOWAN (Shandong Luneng Taishan FC, CHINA)

Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, AUSTRALIA)

Alex WILKINSON (Jeonbuk Hyundai FC, KOREA REPUBLIC)

Luke WILKSHIRE (FK Dinamo Moscow, RUSSIA)

Bailey WRIGHT (Preston North End FC, ENGLAND)

MIDFIELDERS

Oliver BOZANIC (FC Luzern, SWITZERLAND)

Mark BRESCIANO (Al Gharafa, QATAR)

Joshua BRILLANTE (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

James HOLLAND (FK Austria Vienna, AUSTRIA)

Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND)

Massimo LUONGO (Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND)

Matthew McKAY (Brisbane ROAR FC, AUSTRALIA)

Mark MILLIGAN (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Tommy OAR (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS)

Tommy ROGIC (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Adam SAROTA (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS)

James TROISI (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)

Dario VIDOSIC (FC Sion, SWITZERLAND)

FORWARDS

Tim CAHILL (New York Red Bulls, USA)

Ben HALLORAN (Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY)

Josh KENNEDY (Nagoya Grampus 8, JAPAN)

Matthew LECKIE (FSV Frankfurt 1899, GERMANY)

Adam TAGGART (Newcastle Jets FC, AUSTRALIA)

Nothing particularly surprising, perhaps lacking in experience. Disappointing Kruse is injured, he's a great player to watch and one of our best. Rhys Williams will be a big loss in defence too, the selected centre-backs will have a big job on their hands.

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I'm happy with the balance. Bringing through youth is the right decision.

Also very happy that Newy players Brillante, Taggart and Birraz made the squad

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today Matt Ryan was named GK of the year in Belgium

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Is Federici injured?

not that I'm aware of. Ryan and Langerak are better keepers and the other 2 get more regular football

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So who are we looking forward to seeing/who will be our best performers?

Personally looking forward to seeing how Tommy Oar has improved. Despite being a bit overhyped when he was in Aus it's good to see him playing regularly in the Eredivisie.

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I'm looking forward to see Rogic, Leckie and Oar. It should be interesting to see if the young pacey trio succeed

I also am looking forward to see Taggart and Brillante if they get on the pitch

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Oar did do pretty well at Utrecht, his best season since coming to Holland. Sarota was pretty poor though.

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Tommy Oar is pretty decent. Sarota is terrible.

Should have caleld up Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle) instead.

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Langerak seems to be injured. Probably out for 3 weeks.

hopefully this means birraz gets on the field against south africa

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Holman's in the Panini album :/

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FourFourTwo Australia have taken pictures of a training session and have revealed some squad numbers.

1 = Ryan

2 = Franjic

3 = Davidson

4 = Cahill

5 = Milligan

10 = Rogic

11 = Oar

13 = Sarota

14 = Troisi

16 = Holland

17 = McKay

18 = Galekovic

21 = Luongo

24 = Taggart

25 = Brillante

28 = Birighitti

Looks like Taggart, Brilliante, and Birighitti will be dropped with Ivan Franjic and perhaps Tom Rogic in the preferred starting eleven (wouldn't be surprised to see Rogic on the bench).

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Tommy Oar is pretty decent. Sarota is terrible.

He was poor before he left for the Netherlands, lots of people wondered how he was making a rubbish Roar team.

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The Socceroos farewell friendly next week is facing a major crisis with opponents South Africa hit by a mass exodus of players.

Star players including Crystal Palace-based midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi and FC Rostov defender Siyanda Xulu have pulled the plug on the tour with a host of others following suit.

Players from domestic Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, in particular, have been late withdrawals.

South Africa is due to play Australia on Monday and New Zealand on Friday (May 30) but Bafana Bafana is struggling to assemble a squad.

The game was scheduled to leave fans and players with a good vibe before the Socceroos fly out for the World Cup in Brazil. Australia will face a much sterner test when they take on Croatia on June 7 in the lead-up to the tournament kick-off.

“I can't give any details right now,” Bafana coach Gordon Igesund told IOL Sport on Monday.

“We are trying to solve the problem and we'll be in a position to give details of the situation at a media conference at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday morning.”

Igesund, who was banking his future as national team coach on good results against the Aussies and Kiwis, indicated there were unlikely to be enough players to hold a training session on Tuesday.

Increasingly it looks like the best case scenario will be a hastily cobbled together side from a mish-mash of domestic clubs to face the Socceroos.

IOL Sport quoted an unnamed official as saying: “At this stage, we have more officials and invited media booked to go to Australia than players. It's a disaster if something can't be sorted out.”

The team is due to leave for Australia on Wednesday.

Dikgacoi withdrew from the squad to undergo an operation on his leg but other players are blaming an exhausting season for pulling out of the tour.

Other reports suggest at least seven of the players are injured after the PSL ended on May 10.

According to Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, Bafana’s preferred goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, striker Bernard Parker and midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala need surgery.

"All three of our players will go for surgery," Baxter said on Monday.

"Parker's knee looks like he should not be playing. We gave them painkillers in our last matches. We have spoken to Igesund and their technical team and he understands the situation.

"Look, it's the doctors who made these decisions not the coaches. We have always supported Bafana by making our players available whenever they were needed."

At least four from the Chief’s bitter rivals, Orlando Pirates, are said to be injured, also withdrawing from the tour.

Both clubs finished in the top four of the PSL this season and will leave a significant hole in the Bafana ranks.

The games fall outside FIFA-sanctioned international match days and players cannot be compelled to go but the SA Football Association (SAFA) officials are said to be in desperate negotiations with local clubs to try and broker a speedy resolution.

South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup but failed to qualify for the 2014 global showpiece.

Read more at http://www.fourfourtwo.com/au/news/socceroos-friendly-crisis-south-africa-players-snub-tour#mJSWSquhzkRZh3Rm.99

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Bafana coach Igesund makes wholesale changes for Aus, NZ friendlies

The two international friendly games - against Australia and New Zealand - do not fall under the Fifa calendar dates, meaning clubs are not obliged to release their players

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has confirmed that 11 of the 18 players that he initially selected for the two international friendly games next week have pulled out.

The South African senior national team will take on Australia and New Zealand on May 26 and 30 respectively, and Igesund had to quickly make wholesale changes from the 18-man squad that was supposed to play in the two friendlies.

"I can confirm that players that are out are Oupa Manyisa, Thabo Matlaba, Itumeleng Khune, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Tsepo Masilela, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bernard Parker, Andile Jali, Siyanda Xulu and Sibusiso Vilakazi," said Igesund during a press conference at OR Tambo airport on Tuesday.

"In their place I have called up Hlompho Kekana for KG, Senzo Meyiwa for Khune, Thuso Phala for Shabba, Thato Mokeke for Masilela, Kermit Erasmus for Parker and Eric Mathoho for Xulu.

"I also called up Vilakazi to replace Jali, but then he later got injured, and in his place I've called up Teko Modise instead. I wanted to acknowledge Teko's form by calling him up," he said.

At this stage, it is not clear if the new players that Igesund have called up will be available to make the trip. Erasmus left the country last night and Igesund faces a tricky task to try and convince the Orlando Pirates forward to join the national team.

http://www.goal.com/en-za/news/4666/south-africa/2014/05/20/4829794/bafana-coach-igesund-makes-wholesale-changes-for-aus-nz

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He was poor before he left for the Netherlands, lots of people wondered how he was making a rubbish Roar team.

Perhaps it was a nice package deal or something. Oar, Zullo.... and Sarota came along with it :D

They are buddies, so I guess that does contribute. That said, Oar is allright, but he's not a phenomenon. Zullo, the same - he's loaned out, they probably could have used him this season. They've looked decent and talented, but I can't say that they will be remembered for years to come, so far.

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He was poor before he left for the Netherlands, lots of people wondered how he was making a rubbish Roar team.

saw an interview on Dutch tv yesterday in which he sees the Socceroos as a strong physical team ... obviously he's the exception confirming the rule?

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We will beat Chile. You heard it here first!

And for the only time.

Wouldn't be surprised if we fail to score a single goal.

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i think the team we will do best against is Holland. Chile is a team I rate very highly

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it seems to me the Dutch lack some creativity and movement in midfield, and with the 5-3-2/3-5-2 style of backs going forward I'd imagine their style suits Australia best at first sight. Having said that, if Sneijder, van Persie, Robben have their day ... Seems Chile is less dependant like that.

Looking forward to the Spain match though, do believe there to be an upset possible in that one.

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it seems to me the Dutch lack some creativity and movement in midfield, and with the 5-3-2/3-5-2 style of backs going forward I'd imagine their style suits Australia best at first sight. Having said that, if Sneijder, van Persie, Robben have their day ... Seems Chile is less dependant like that.

Looking forward to the Spain match though, do believe there to be an upset possible in that one.

Wouldn't be surprised to see Holland abandoning this style of play before the WC, and even if they play that way against Spain, I think 4-3-3 will be the way against Australia.

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throwing sand in the eyes of the opponents then?

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throwing sand in the eyes of the opponents then?

No, just reasonable thought. The 3-5-2/5-3-2 is only applied to use when we're the weaker side. When we need to break down a team, like we have to do against Australia, we would apply a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1.

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No, just reasonable thought. The 3-5-2/5-3-2 is only applied to use when we're the weaker side. When we need to break down a team, like we have to do against Australia, we would apply a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1.

Don't expect us to bus it. Its not in Postecoglu's nature

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don't think you have the squad for that either, to bolt things down at the back. With Ryan in goal you've got a player with great confidence and form after this season though, might become a strong point at the back.

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Don't expect us to bus it. Its not in Postecoglu's nature

Pressuring our defence might be your best shot. Then again, that leaves room for our strikers, who are unmistakenly by far the best line we have.

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An average performance in the farewell friendly against an under strength South Africa. The defence was a worry besides Davidson. We crossed a lot but created few chances. We did best when we broke quickly and pressed high

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Our build up play and passing in general was very good. We have to sort out our crossing and mix it up or we become to predictable.

My question is, that 20 minute period of intensity and energy at the start, how long could we keep it up for in a world cup match?

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Our build up play and passing in general was very good. We have to sort out our crossing and mix it up or we become to predictable.

My question is, that 20 minute period of intensity and energy at the start, how long could we keep it up for in a world cup match?

Build up and pressing was good in first half but I felt it lacked in the second

We wouldn't be able to keep up that intensity for 90 minutes

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Postecoglou has cut the squad from 30 to 27, missing out are Josh Brilliante, Curtis Good and surprisingly Adam Sarota.

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Build up and pressing was good in first half but I felt it lacked in the second

We wouldn't be able to keep up that intensity for 90 minutes

Yeah I was waiting for a period of it in the 2nd, but it seemed we were out of gas. Taking into consideration the Brazillian climate, maybe 5 minutes each half. :/

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We were ridiculously open at the back. Could have conceded many more if they were a semi-decent team. We better not play like that in Brazil or we will legitimately lose 6-0 in every game.

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Australia's squad have landed in Curitiba.

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I think at the end of this we're just most likely to look back and think 'some brave performances, but the squad wasn't ready'. Two things will have done that: the injury to Robbie Kruse, and that abortion of a coach we had who insisted on picking people until they became geriatrics. This squad just has too little experience.

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