Rooing Poor Results: Where The Socceroos Can Improve in 2015

With the 2015 Asian Cup on the horizon can the Socceroos turn their form around and win the tournament on home soil?

Perhaps we knew this year was going to be tough for Socceroos before it even began. A rough patch in 2013 saw Australia receive a harsh World Cup Draw, then shining light Robbie Kruse was sidelined through injury and there’d be no Mark Schwarzer to produce heroics in goal. Take into account coach Holger Osieck’s sacking in October and 2014 wasn’t looking promising. And so it proved, despite a gallant effort in Brazil, Australia exited at the earliest stage while other results throughout this year raised eyebrows. Now with the 2015 Asian Cup on the horizon can the Socceroos turn their form around and win the tournament on home soil?

A Shocking Stat for the Socceroos

WARNING: The following statistic doesn’t read well for the Socceroos, proceed with Caution:

‘In 2014 Australia only managed one win from 11 international matches, recording 2 draws and 8 losses. ‘

While that record is ugly, one does have to take into account some of the opposition the Socceroos faced. 5 of their opponents are currently ranked among the top 20 in the world, and 3 of them reached at least the second round of the World cup.

While the 3 World Cup games were competitive matches the remaining 8 fixtures were friendlies, and while those match-ups don’t’ exactly mean nothing, you also don’t get 3 points for winning. Playing friendlies can somewhat be used as another excuse for the Socceroos shocking stat, but some of those games should have been victories. Australia was up 3 nil against Ecuador in the first match of the year before going on to lose 3-4; while they and their army of followers would have expected to beat the likes of the UAE and Qatar.

Goals Win Games – Too Many Socceroos Shutouts.

Here’s a few more scary statistics that will leave Socceroos’ supporters shaking.

Australia averaged barely above a goal a game this year, netting just 12 times, while they were kept scoreless in 5 games. Captain Mile Jedinak scored 3 goals, defender Bailey Wright once, while Tim Cahill bagged 75% of Australia’s tally with an incredible 8 strikes. But while we all marvel at terrific Tim, he’s now 34 and while he’s an Asian Cup certainty he won’t be around forever.

You might see where this is going…. The Socceroos NEED GOALS! Under coach Ange Postecoglou Australia is developing a possession and patience approach. The build-up play is becoming pleasing on the eye but the final third is where it falls down. Barring Cahill an Australian striker didn’t score this year…. That is alarming.

Nobody can say the boss isn’t trying to find Australia’s best team; in fact Melbourne City’s Aaron Mooy became the 42nd player to receive a cap under the coach’s reign. Ange’s experiment of giving everybody a chance hasn’t been frowned upon especially after most accused the last man in charge of doing the opposite. But with the Asian cup approaching Postecoglou will need to begin the culling process to find the players capable of delivering success the Socceroos so badly crave.

Which Socceroos Stars Can Deliver?

While he’s still around we’ll always be reliant on Timmy Cahill, and the former Premier League star has proven time after time he’s still the man for the big moment. (The Netherlands can vouch for that, after Cahill’s stunning World Cup Volley). The New York Red Bull also managed a goal in Australia’s final game of the year, despite only playing the last 10 minutes against Japan.

Mile Jedinak is sturdy and steady in midfield without being a game breaker. The Aussie captain does battle for every ball and he will fight hard to turn the team’s fortunes around. Robbie’s Kruse’s comeback from injury has come in time for him to be a force at next year’s Asian Cup. If he re-finds some of the form he had pre-injury Australia’s attack will be better. While Mathew Leckie has stunning speed and if he adds composure to his play he may have a breakout year in the Green and Gold.

So it’s onto the competition we always expect to win and yet still haven’t claimed the Silverware. It’s pretty easy to figure out what the Socceroos’ New Year’s resolution is ahead of the Asian Cup in January.