Dim Pim Costs Socceroos Dear

Australia have to go back to the drawing board following their 4-0 drubbing by Germany last night, and Neil Sherwin believes that the buck stops firmly with the manager on this one.

Yesterday’s radiant winter sunshine in Perth has been replaced by a dark and dreary morning that perfectly sums up how the mood of Australians has changed so dramatically in the past 24 hours.

There was great optimism and excitement heading into the World Cup opener with Germany but a football lesson from a youthful side brought everything crashing back down to earth with an ear shattering thud. Pim Verbeek’s decision to abandon the tried and tested formation that got the Socceroos to the finals in favour of an ultra defensive, forward-less 4-6-0 backfired spectaularly as the German defence cruised through 90 minutes without ever being put under any pressure.

When the news broke on Twitter that Richard Garcia was to lead what little of a forward line there was, you could almost hear the groans through the computer screen. The Hull City man has never excelled at international level and is very much a squad player, yet he was given the nod ahead of the usual target man Josh Kennedy who has been amongst the goals regularly.The idea behind the switch was to presumably pressure the Germans and not allow them time on the ball, yet the complete opposite happened as their back four was given far too much time and Philipp Lahm in particular was given the freedom of the ground to do whatever he liked to devastating affect.

A suicidal offside trap further contributed to the downfall, with the Germans’ first goal coming after Lucas Neill inexplicably stood yards behind his fellow defenders, allowing to Thomas Mueller to break free down the right and cross for Lukas Podolski to finish with aplomb. Further defensive frailties were exposed as Miroslav Klose stole in to head a second and effectively kill the game before half an hour had even elapsed.

The first substitution arrived at half time but instead of turning to Kennedy or the supposedly fit Harry Kewell and Mark Bresciano, we were treated to the sight of the sub par Brett Holman who offered absolutely nothing new other than an effort which he dragged wide of the post. At least he had a shot I  suppose.

Tim Cahill’s dismissal eleven minutes into the second was more than questionable but, while it did make things more difficult for those remaining in the pitch, the damage was already done two hours before kick off when Verbeek’s line up became apparent. Two further German goals compounded a night of misery in Durban.

Ghana’s win over Serbia means that the final group game game between Australia and the Eastern Europeans could well end up being the wooden spoon game, and with an already horrible goal difference, a win will be imperative if there is to be any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

However, unless someone has a strong word in Verbeek’s ear, it’s hard to expect anything more than an early flight home.

Don’t forget you can follow Neil on Twitter.

Author Details

Neil Sherwin
Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of BackPageFootball.com. Writes mostly on Premier League and A-League with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

6 thoughts on “Dim Pim Costs Socceroos Dear

  1. emmm…. you sure about that serbia result then.

    True that we were spineless, however by far the worst thing that happened last night/this morning was the late pen for Ghana. That result provides the Ghanaians with the confidence that they don’t need to push too far forward in the next game to get a result, and we understand how toothless our strike force is if we can’t somehow pinch something on the break.

  2. serbias win over ghana ? not in the game i saw mate ! and dont be too harsh on the aussies,germany played some great football.

  3. Sure, the red card was a little harsh on Cahill, but didn’t this ref come with a reputation for being happy to go the straight send-off more than your FIFA average? I expect the players would have been told that before the game. And didn’t Cahill LEARN HIS LESSON after the NZ game? Pim said he told him; Tim said he listened. Perhaps, but obviously he did not LEARN. I am glad he was in tears after the game. So the bloody idiot should be! Now he just has to suck it up, hope his teammates can turn the ship around against Ghana, then come back and score the winner V Serbia. (I’m thinking it will be a one-game suspension; that’s all it really deserves). How we are ever going to get a result against Ghana I have no idea. Based on that performance only Wilkshire, Schwarzer and Emo and Culina (in his correct position) are worth keeping. On Pim: isn’t it strange yet predictable, your classic oxymoron, that our super conservative coach, decides to gamble big time ….. by being even more super conservative, ie: playing in effect a 4-6-0. As great as he has been for us throughout World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying, I don’t believe he is the coach for a game like this Ghana one. And after that performance, is the team? What is Plan C, if Plan B got us here?

    1. Cahill did dive in alright and when you doubt you’re looking for trouble. I think a combination of card happy referee and his own reputation were a recipe for disaster.

      Looking forward, it really is grim. Kennedy simply has to play now, with Kewell, Emerton and Bresciano as a three in front of Grella and Culina.

      The Ghana game is a must win affair now, but I think we’ll again be disappointed.

      1. That’s a good front four but Grella? Valeri has been better than him in the warm-up games and this morning. And what about someone to bring in for Chipperfield? I suppose we can’t drop the captain. Was that Lucas Neil’s worst performance for Australia? Worse even than that first game in the Asian Cup in Bangkok, against Iraq was it? Amazing that four years ago he would have been a good bet for a spot in the back four of the team of the tournament if we had have had another game in us and knocked out the Italians. The only things that can save us is a complete change in ideology from the coach; the team, individually and collectively, dig deep and drag out that renowned fighting spirit; and a heavy dose of the silly luck that we have been having more than our fair share of with Pim. We must have won a half dozen games with him that we didn’t even deserve to draw. Think of the 1-0 in Tashkent, same score in Bahrain, beating NZ, and Denmark and there’s probably others that I can’t recall right now. Throw all those three things together, and we have a fighting chance.

  4. Patricio/Paul Trent – You are indeed correct, and I’ve edited accordingly. It’s amazing the tricks two hours sleep will play on your memory!

    The point still stands though about us being effectively screwed unfortunately.

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