First opponent of the Blues, Australia on the downward slope

The new generation of Socceroos appears less experienced and talented than the one who was narrowly beaten by the Blues four years ago (1-2).

Behind its apparent relaxation, Australia, too, has its worries. Insufficiently recovered from a knee injury, his right winger Martin Boyle (29 years old, 19 caps, 5 goals) had to forfeit the day after that of Karim Benzema. The similarity between the Socceroos and the Blues ends there. She also wants to be daring. If Benzema evolves in Real Madrid, Boyle is content to defend the colors of Hibernian, in Scotland.

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This observation sums up the gulf that separates the two teams. It has even widened since their last confrontation in the World Cup, in Kazan (2-1, June 16, 2018). « The big problem is that there aren’t many more who play in the Premier League, notes Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 40, former Tunisian international (17 caps, 2 goals from 2008 to 2011) who came to end his career in Australia in 2014, before living there since. It is a question of state of mind. The quality of life in Australia is « phew », and the players earn a good living there. Some go to Asia, South Korea or Japan, in less competitive Championships than in Europe, where they earn a very good living. »

The difficult succession of CahillBen Khalfallah points to another problem: “Clubs are trying to set up academies, but the training system remains bogus. You train three to four times a week and the coaches aren’t great for the youngsters. »

Aware of the problem, Graham Arnold, upon his appointment as head of the Socceroos, on July 16, 2018, obtained the combined functions of coach of the A, the Hopes and the Olympic team. Despite a historic victory against Argentina, at the opening of the Tokyo Olympics (2-0, July 22, 2021), the Olyroos did not manage to get out of the group stage. Arnold still incorporated eight into his list of twenty-six. “They are brave, nothing affects them and they bring great energy. And the most experienced give them their support. »

Present in 2018, Mile Jedinak (retired) and Tim Cahill (now manager) are no longer there to supervise him. The last captains are called Mathew Ryan (30), goalkeeper and irremovable captain, midfielder Aaron Mooy (32) and declining winger Mathew Leckie (31). However, the Socceroos remain convinced of being able to overcome their technical, experience and leadership deficit, through their physical and mental strength. That remains to be seen.

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