Moscow: A devastated Ange Postecoglou has lamented the opportunity passed up by the Socceroos at the Confederations Cup.
Considered rank outsiders to progress to the second round, Australia were within touching distance of the feat on Sunday night in Moscow.
Socceroos draw to exit Confederations Cup
The Socceroos proved they can come up against the best in the world, drawing with world number 4 Chile and exiting the Confederations Cup in Russia.
The Socceroos led 1-0 against South American champions Chile and spurned a number of golden chances to increase their lead.
The world No.4 side hit back, scrambling a goal home to earn a share of the spoils and progress to the next phase
The Socceroos leave Russia after finishing third in their group, losing 3-2 to Germany and drawing 1-1 with both Cameroon and Chile.
Postecoglou credited his players for their effort but couldn’t shake the feeling it could have been very different.
“It’s definitely a missed opportunity. We wanted to come here and at least get out of the group and we haven’t,” Postecoglou said.
“If you look at the context of the three games we were in every game [so I’m] disappointed that we couldn’t get through.
“That’s me setting the highest possible benchmarks which I think we have to if we want to consistently compete at this level.
“For the boys to do that tonight, I think they’ll get a great amount of belief out of it.”
The Socceroos saved their best performance of the tournament for last.
Led by Tim Cahill in his 100th game, Australia played with confidence and dare against a side 44 places above them in the FIFA rankings – and that beat the Socceroos 3-1 at the last World Cup.
Mark Milligan kept Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez at bay. Jackson Irvine and Massimo Luongo were composed and sharp in the middle. Trent Sainsbury was a tower at the back and James Troisi took his chance well. Most impressively, the entire side executed the game plan for the entire 90 minutes.
“We played them four years ago and we thought we gave them a good game that day but they were just a little bit better than us,” Postecoglou said.
“Today I thought we were the better side and deserved to get something out of it. ”
Australia produced a passionate, powerful, and tactically smart performance against the South American champions Chile in their final Confederations Cup match.
It wasn’t enough to secure them the win they needed to get through to the semi-final.
But the performance, if not the result, illustrated what Ange Postecoglou has been trying to achieve with a group of players who will have to produce such performances on a regular basis if they are to achieve the lofty standards their coach, and the Australian public, demand.
James Troisi celebrates after his goal against Chile in the Confederations Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Had their finishing been sharper they might have pulled off what would have been a stunning upset.
While there was great disappointment in the immediate aftermath of this game, the reality is that Australia can take plenty from their performance and use it as a template for what will be required over the next 12 months, to qualify for the World Cup and to perform in it when they get there.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is building a squad towards competing in the 2018 World Cup. Photo: AP
The game illustrated how boldness in selection and philosophical approach can work. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose it’s worth just going for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail anyway.
But there is always the chance that the gamble might come off.
When Australia lined up against Chile early Monday morning few, even among their supporters, would have given them much of a chance.
Postecoglou and his team have beencastigated in recent months for their adventurous approach, particularly since he changed his team’s tactical shape and opted to play with three at the back.
Chile’s Paulo Cesar Diaz Huincales challenges for the ball with Australia’s Jamie Maclaren. Photo: AP
The coach believes that his team must take risks and get men forward – hence a five-man midfield which, in theory can quickly become a five-man defence – and take the game to their opposition.
He has been criticised for inflexibility and for failing to be realistic about the quality of his players and their ability to implement his game plan.
But he has stuck to his guns, committed to a high tempo, aggressive approach he believes is emblematic of the way Australians should approach sport.
At times the Socceroos have looked very shaky, coughing up crucial goals in vital World Cup qualifying matches against the likes of Iraq, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
They have been left reeling in the face of an onslaught by superior opposition – especially in their 4-0 friendly defeat to Brazil at the MCG and their opening Confederations Cup game against Germany, when the world champions’ second 11 threatened to run riot in a first half when they might have scored four or five times. The 3-2 scoreline definitely flattered Australia on that occasion.
They were markedly better in the second match against Cameroon, even though they were let off the hook somewhat by the African champions’ poor finishing in a 1-1 draw.
But Postecoglou has always said that his team is a work in progress, building towards the World Cup.
Against the Chileans he made six changes to his starting line-up, leaving out players most would deem crucial – Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic – and starting with the evergreen Tim Cahill, who was earning his 100th cap for his country.
His aim is to create a squad where no one is a guaranteed starter, where every player can operate within the structures he demands and do a job to replace a teammate with a minimum of fuss.
Jackson Irvine and Massimo Luongo, two players who had not been very impressive earlier in this tournament, came in and stepped up, their workrate and enthusiasm vital to Australia’s forward press. Ryan McGowan was given a chance in a backline which also featured captain Mark Milligan.
Robbie Kruse, whose output is so often diminished by injury, showed he could not only play the full 90 minutes but make a major contribution in a wing-back role. It was his pressure in midfield that helped win the ball for Australia’s opening goal when he slid the pass through to Troisi, whose clever chip added to the important goals he has netted for his country.
The hard work remains to be done. A result against Japan in the penultimate World Cup qualifier is vital if the Socceroos are to make it to Russia 2018.
But this performance means they will travel to Tokyo with self-belief and the knowledge that if they stick to their guns, work hard and concentrate for 90 minutes they can get the points they need.
JEDDAH: The Saudi Embassy in Ankara has denied reports that it warned Saudis wishing to visit Turkey to wait or go elsewhere.
“The statement was false and was not issued by the embassy,” it said in a statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday reportedly rejected a demand by Saudi Arabia and other major Arab states to withdraw Turkish troops from Qatar as a step toward ending the Gulf crisis.
Meanwhile, a picture of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) aircraft landing at an Israeli airport has gone viral on social media.
“The picture posted on some social networking sites of a Saudia airplane at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport is fabricated and false,” said Saudia spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Tayeb.
There are entities and anonymous accounts tirelessly spreading lies, rumors and exaggerations to offend and defame the airline as a Saudi national symbol, he added.
These are retweeted by people without investigating or fact-checking, which makes them liable to punishment under the law, Al-Tayeb said.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is running close behind Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike’s fledgling party in the race to be the leading party in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly in the July 2 election, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.
In the telephone survey conducted in the capital over the weekend, 26.7% of respondents said they plan to vote for Koike’s Tomin First no Kai (Tokyo Citizens First party) while 25.9% said they support the LDP. Some 57.2% said they have not decided yet.
Recent polls have showed a plunge in popular support for the cabinet headed by LDP leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, due to the ruling parties’ steamrolling of a controversial “conspiracy” law, as well as allegations of favoritism against him in relation to a veterinary school construction project.
One of the key issues in the assembly race is the Tsukiji market relocation plan the governor announced last week. Koike said the metro government will transfer the famed fish market to a nearby waterfront district while redeveloping the market site in around five years, after the initial relocation project had stalled over concerns about pollution at the new site.
Currently, the LDP holds 57 seats in the 127-seat assembly, followed by the Komeito party with 22 and the Japanese Communist Party with 17. The main opposition Democratic Party has seven and Koike’s Tomin First no Kai holds six.
The latest Kyodo News poll showed 13% said they plan to vote for the Japanese Communist Party, 12.3% for Komeito, 8.4% for the Democratic Party and 1.8% for independent candidates.
The survey also showed the support rate for Koike remains high at 66.5% while her disapproval rate came to 21.7%.
The survey covered 1,521 randomly selected households with eligible voters in Tokyo, of which 1,028 responded.
Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.
The company announced the expected action Monday morning Tokyo time. Takata confirmed that most of its assets will be bought by rival Key Safety Systems, based in suburban Detroit.
Takata was done in by defective air bag inflators that can explode with too much force, spewing out shrapnel. They’re responsible for at least 16 deaths and 180 injuries and have touched off the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. So far 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide including 69 million in the U.S., affecting 42 million vehicles.
Rival Key Safety Systems, based in suburban Detroit, will buy most of Takata’s assets for $1.6 billion and take over its manufacturing operations to make seat belts, air bags and other automotive safety devices, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Some remnants of Takata will be folded into an entity with a different name to keep manufacturing inflators used as replacement parts in recalls, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the bankruptcy terms have not been made public.
The recalls, which are being handled by 19 affected automakers, will continue.
At the end of April, only 22 percent of the 69 million recalled inflators in the U.S. had been replaced under the recalls, leaving almost 54 million on the roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. This means more inflators will likely explode and more people will be hurt in the future, lawyers say.
At least $1 billion from the sale will be used to satisfy Takata’s settlement of criminal charges in the U.S. for concealing problems with the inflators. It was unclear what the rest of money paid by Key will be used for. Key is owned by Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp of China.
One of the people briefed on the filings said that Key would get Takata’s assets “free and clear” of past or future liabilities. That makes it unclear whether anyone injured by inflators in the future would have any legal recourse against either company.
Takata’s troubles stem from use of the explosive chemical ammonium nitrate in the inflators to deploy air bags in a crash. The chemical can deteriorate when exposed to hot and humid air and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister.
In February, Takata pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to the $1 billion settlement. Lawyers acknowledged in court that the company would have to be sold to fund the settlement. Automakers would get $850 million in restitution for recall costs and a $25 million fine would be paid to the government. Takata already has paid $125 million into a fund for victims.
Attorneys for those injured by the inflators worry that $125 million won’t be enough to fairly compensate victims, many of whom have serious facial injuries from metal shrapnel. One 26-year-old plaintiff will never be able to smile due to nerve damage, his attorney says.
Takata wouldn’t comment on a bankruptcy filing. As recently as last week it maintained the possibility of keeping the company in operation. A committee set up to explore restructuring has made a recommendation with Key as a suitor, but Takata’s board had not decided on that last week, Takata said in a statement.
Key, which makes inflators, seat belts and crash sensors for the auto industry, would not comment on reports that it would purchase the Takata assets.
The Takata corporate name may not live on after the bankruptcy. The company, founded in 1933, says on its website that its products have kept people safe, and it apologizes for problems caused by the faulty inflators. “We hope the day will come when the word ‘Takata’ becomes synonymous with ‘safety,'” the website says.