Feature

Time for Ange to act in a case of trial and error

Sometimes in life it's best to quit when you're ahead. Take what you have, be grateful and move on.

Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou on the touchline for Australia Source: Getty Images

It's an adage which has some relevance to the Socceroos today, as coach Ange Postecoglou and his assistants look back on a performance, and new fangled 3-2-4-1 system, which were as unconvincing as each other during the laboured 3-2 2018 FIFA World Cup win over Saudi Arabia.

In the third rolling out of a formation which played to decidedly mixed reviews against Iraq and UAE in March, its gaping flaws were laid bare at the Adelaide Oval.

Rather than utilizing the diverse talents of Postecoglou's squad it seems only to have sewn mass befuddlement.

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Players looked ill at ease and as awkward as tentative teenagers on a first date as the Saudis - particularly in the first half - feasted on hesitancy, indecision and confusion to score twice.



Against more adept opposition (and they lie just around the corner in the shape of Brazil and Germany) Postecoglou will be tempting fate of the worst kind by persevering with a system which seems as baffling to his players as it does most fans.

Ideology is well and good but there must be an end product, and risking a place at the World Cup by continuing on a path which sees his back three at sixes and sevens and wing backs frequently lost in no-man's land is akin to playing Russian roulette.

Australia got away with it, thanks to a late reversion to 4-3-3 against the Saudis after the introduction of Aziz Behich and Robbie Kruse and, of course, the unfiltered brilliance of Tom Rogic and his left foot.

Not to mention Tomi Juric's crucial two-goal contribution.



Whilst it's commendable to attempt to play with verve and adventure, as is Postecoglou's nature, this latest tactical twist has a hint of the kamikaze and is an experiment which should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Seeking to emulate a system best exemplified and exploited by the likes of Barcelona only works if you have the players to execute it - and few teams do.

As things stand, Australia are a goal adrift of an automatic qualifying spot for Russia, tied on the same points as Japan and Saudi Arabia, but with a slightly inferior goal difference.

An away match against Japan is coming up in August and Thailand at home in September.

This is an opportunity for cold reflection and allowing players the platform they enjoy at their clubs, not continuing with an adventure which looks likely to only end in tears.


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3 min read
Published 9 June 2017 at 1:43pm
By Dave Lewis