By John Miller
Saturday the 2nd of December, 2017
The bad news first. Soccer Australia fired Postcode without having his replacement ready to go. At a vital stage of preparation for the tournament, when the players learn who they are going to play, and the attention of the nation turns to soccer-ball, our team looks leaderless. That’s a bad look. Can Ned Kelly and Timmy Cahill save us from the ineptitude of Steve Lowy?
Like many sports, soccer-ball is a confidence game, where a sequence of events can set the mood in the dressing room, and amongst the fans. Soccer Australia, get your game together.
Spoilers: Video contains profanity laden spray directed at Soccer Australia.
And now the good news. There is nothing about a group of France, Denmark or Peru that should scare any team that qualifies for the world cup, and has its game together.
FFA, the fans, the ex-coach, and the soccer-ball media may not believe that we can win our group. This is neither here nor there.
There have been plenty of maladministered leagues and national teams that have won trophies, fans are notorious for hating everything until they love it, we will surely have a new coach soon, and the soccer-ball media are a bunch of cliché spewing twats with 20/20 hindsight, so they can go get stuffed as well.
What matters: belief in the players’ dressing rooms. And why not be confident? They haven’t failed any tests that matter yet.
France is expected to win the group, but they are nothing special. When la France are great, Arsenel are great, because Arsene Wenger plays the whole French team at the Emirates every week. Arsenal were flying high twenty years ago, but now they are merde, and so are France.
Not in the sense that they are terrible, they will still routinely smash lesser teams, and even teams on the up and up, but there is just something not quite right about them. If you can get a foot in on their tikkky-takky, and get them on the counter, just watch them fall to pieces.
These Frenchmen don’t have the gritty will that their countrymen had two decades ago. They don’t deal with pressure very well. Having said that, they are extremely talented, and if you let them play their game, you’ll lose.
Arsenal still jag the odd FA or Carling cup, and France MIGHT well win the tournament, but only if everything goes their way. We can smash their dreams, and we don’t even have to win.
Australia ought not fear the French. We can still win the group if we beat them 0-0, and this will be considered a stunning achievement by the wallys in the soccer-ball press, who would in turn tear the French to pieces and cause the nation and team to fall into tears and recriminations.
Alternatively we could go there with stars in our eyes and get beaten 5 -1, and see our players acting like little fanboy jersey swappers after, because this French team is full of big names.
Bautheac recently told L’Equipe he doesn’t see les Bleus losing to Australia, and indeed it would be a foolhardy man who wagered his house on Australia winning a high scoring match against the French in the first game. But we can still keep them scoreless with patience and focus, and even beat them if we put them right off their game.
Hugo Lloris is an excellent Goalie, especially after Heurelho Gomes. But watching him keep the nets for Tottenham I’ve seen him let through more than one, and he’s only as good as the organisation of his defenders. One guy running straight at him won’t do much. He’s that good. But if we catch their defence on the break and get two guys coming at him from different angles and an unselfish pass he’s not made of rubber.
Right now, all things are possible.
Australia’s first group match will be next year on a Saturday night, against the French on June 16. If you are going over there, the boys will be playing in Kazan. Australian fans are the best in the world. We’re friendly, we’re loud, and we’re probably drunk.
French football fans don’t seem to have a bad reputation. Expect them to be cocky before the match, but probably in a smug way rather than a hostile way. They will be expecting a rout, and if they don’t get one they’ll boo their guys off the pitch at half time. This is the kind of merde that picks apart mentally weak players, and there are plenty of those in the French side
I could focus on the big names in the French side, but I choose to focus on the Australian Team and the fans instead. Fans make all the difference, so start booking your holidays now lads, and don’t shut up or sit down until you hear 3 whistles at the end.
Kazan Arena is in Kazan. Stands to reason, but where the bloody hell is that then? Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, which may be where they make some kind of sauce. The French should turn up in decent numbers, so it’s probably a good idea to make your reservations early.
If you’re up for a spot of shopping, the city bazaar has been open since 1438, when it was rebuilt after the city was burnt down to the ground by the Golden Horde. Slavery was legal in the Kazan Khanate until the city was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who emancipated the local Russians. Hold off on the bants about reparations until you have won over your hosts with your superior Aussie drinking skills and larrikin charm though lads.
Next up, Samara. We’ll either be walking on sunshine or just where everyone expected us to be. This and the next match are the ones we must win, to assure progress to the next stage of the tournament.
Demark are a middling team of European football. If European football is strong, they seem better than they are, and if European football is in crisis they don’t look like much. Christian Eriksen plays for Spurs, so I’ve seen him play on multiple occasions. He’s a very good player, a playmaker, but Pochettino has diagnosed him with mental fatigue, as part of the inquest into the slump at Tottenham.
In April Poch was calling Erikson the Special One. Eriksen will have something to prove, and he may well be playing for his next contract. These kinds of players can be deadly.
On his day in a Denmark shirt Eriksen can and will rip you apart. Witness what he did to Ireland with his hat-trick.
Getting through France and then taking Denmark lightly would be a fatal error, and this could easily turn into 5 -1 against us if any member of the squad switches off.
France will be cock-a-hoop, but may just spit the dummy if we deny them their rhythm and their fans desert them. Denmark will scrap it out from beginning to end. This is who we want to be. When I said middling that was comparatively speaking, and we will have to be on our best form.
Unless we have pinched a win against France, this is do-or-die for us. We must come up with a plan to beat the Danes, and that will be the job of our next manager. Get your game together, Soccer Australia.
This match will be played in the middle of the night on a Thursday, or very early on Friday morning over east, at the Cosmos Arena, Samara. I’m sure it will be up on the big screen at the Cas, but remember not to be a degenerate gambler and waste your kids’ inheritance. Actually, screw those ingrates. I like the two-up. Do they still have that? Also your boss will probably fire you if you go to work drunk, so don’t think you can stay on drinking like some carefree backpacker or student, mang.
For those lads and ladettes making the voyage to Russia, Samara is in the Samara Oblast. Sounds about right. They have a goat on their crest and they wrote the name of their city on their flag. I’m pretty sure if I went to Russia I would get stabbed, so it’s just as well I can’t afford trips on the Trans-Siberia Railway right now. But seriously, get over there.
Danish fans are some of the best in football. Roligans are cheerful before, during, and after the match. This should be a match to enjoy, and if your life is going nowhere right now, or even if you’ve got it all together but are always wanting more, why not go and barrack for your country? When is the next time you are likely to hang out with Russians and Danes in an exotic city?
Samara like most Russian cities is full of people who are proud and cultured, it has an opera and ballet theater, a philharmonic orchestra hall, and five drama theaters. There is a museum of natural history, and a city art museum. Or why not just catch a flick with the missus, if she wouldn’t let you go to Russia without her? LOL what a poof.
If you like space, Samara is all about cosmonauts. Far out, Doctor Spock. It also has a zoo and a circus, if you had to take the wife AND kids.
And NOT finally, think positive thoughts lads, it’s Australia versus Peru in beautiful Sochi. This will be another middle of the night match, on a Monday night, on June 26.
Drinking on a Monday is degenerate, unless you are on holiday, so why not go take this match in live?
I don’t really know anything Peru that you can’t find out by Googling them, and I can’t say I know much about Peru football, but I’m assuming this is the weakest link in our group. They’ll also be assuming that we are the weakest link, and you know what they say about assumptions.
I asked my friends in South America what they thought of Peru, and by all reports these guys are good, but beatable. They are currently ranked one slot above Denmark, but rankings mean nothing until the first matches are played.
Of the ten South American teams to qualify, Peru came fifth. Never mind that, the Socceroos mindset must be that we are going to Sochi to win. Once again, this is going to take a plan that every man on the squad understands and is fully committed to. Soccer Australia ought to ask every candidate manager what their plan is for shutting down France, and for beating the Danes and Peruvians.
We’ve got the talent in the squad, and now we need a manager who can use the pieces that he has on the board.
And if everything doesn’t go to plan, there is always Sochi. Sure you’ll be in a famous ski resort during the Summer, but that’s party time on the Black Sea, and Sochi has plenty of nice beaches to work on your Winter tan on. Don’t forget to pack your budgie smugglers, men.
Full disclosure: John Miller’s IRL name is Frank Faulkner. I’m an Aussie and when I’m not obsessing about Conservative politics or defending Trump I also enjoy various sports and Christian activities.