Wednesday, 18 June 2014
World Cup 2014: Positive attitude could help Australia to one of the great World Cup shocks against Holland
Despite being 2-0 down 14 minutes into the contest, the new version Socceroos fought on courageously to take the game up to their South American opponents and earn the respect of many Chileans and Australians alike.
Outstanding performances by forward Mathew Leckie and central defender Matthew Spiranovic showcased to the world the fact that Australia possess the necessary football DNA required to perform at the highest level.
It was a signature header from Tim Cahill that delivered the Australia goal on the back of a delicious pinpoint cross from Ivan Franjic. The Socceroos had many chances to equalise but left without a solitary point for their fine display.
Rather than speak of the great effort shown by his players, coach Ange Postecoglou saw it rather as a missed opportunity in the short history of his young charges.
The relentless weight and strength of the Chile attack proved too much as Australia leaked a late added-time goal from winger Jean Beausejour.
Plenty has been spoken of the giant disparity in values between the Socceroos and the star-studded squads of Spain and Holland, however the performance should raise their stock price by the end of the tournament.
The newly appointed captain, Mile “Mike” Jedinak, led a spirited comeback that supporters have became accustomed to over the years. The assignment now gets even tougher after the one-sided Holland demolition of Spain.
A serious question is whether Holland will rest on their laurels and take a more conservative approach or sharpen the scalpel towards another clinical attacking display against their much less fancied opponents. One important statistic giving hope is that Australia have never lost to Holland.
OK, so we have played Holland only three times in friendlies, with one win and two draws, but, hey, we stick to the power of positive thought.
It is this positive attitude adopted by a young team of perennial underdogs that may just help them pull off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. The match kicks off in the early hours Australia time, but a cold morning and a high probability of a crushing defeat will never dim the enthusiasm of fans keen to see their footballing heroes face a challenge.
Cahill is arguably the most popular and successful Australian player and his trademark boxing celebration always entertains despite sparking fear into fragile corner posts worldwide.
The main point of difference to the three preceding World Cup campaigns is the high expectation for team success. Most base it on the belief that, as Mark Twain wrote, “it is the size of the fight in the dog rather than the size of the dog in the fight that counts”.
The physical style and heart displayed by the team against Chile has left many feeling optimistic for a bright future under Postecoglou.
Given Australia is not a footballing superpower, the country always punches above its weight in terms of its FIFA world ranking.
This is clearly evidenced by its fourth successful World Cup qualification to the final 32 and onto football’s ultimate stage.