Socceroos forced to face facts

A LOSS to Canada on Wednesday morning (AEST) at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground in London would equal the Socceroos' worst run of consecutive defeats of five set way back in 1995.

A loss to the Canadians would be a major shock as the Reds are ranked 106 in the world and, despite the Socceroos recent run of outs, not for one minute do I expect them to be beaten.

Still, the football pundits and public in Australia have to take a good hard look at the Socceroos and realise it is no longer 2006 and the so-called Golden Generation is no more.

Of the squad that former coach Guus Hiddink sent to the World Cup in Germany, only 10 are still around and they are all seven years older and not necessarily playing at the highest level.

Only three - Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano and Luke Wilkshire - were part of the team that crashed 6-0 to France, while that French team was bristling with world-class players including Franck Ribery, Samir Nasri and Karim Benzema, who could only find a place on the bench.

Of course, a defeat at the hands of the French following on from the 6-0 drubbing by Brazil is hardly ideal preparation for the upcoming World Cup, especially as those losses came after a poor showing at the East Asian Cup.

But what people have to remember is that Australian players are not necessarily playing at the highest level in world football and those who are at English Premier League clubs, or playing in the German Bundesliga are not regulars for their club sides.

Back in 2006, Hiddink's squad featured a number of players who were at the top of their game and they were all top stars across Europe and beyond.

That also was the case in 2010, although the writing was on the wall in South Africa that the Socceroos might not be quite what they used to be.

Three years on from that the Socceroos are certainly on the slide.

Their performances during the qualifying campaign for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil were hardly the most inspiring for fans across Australia.

Of course Holger Osieck, who was axed immediately after the loss to France, should take some blame for their uninspiring efforts.

But as FFA chief executive David Gallop said, the players have to take some responsibility and take a good, hard look at their own work.

FFA officials are apparently seeking guidance from leading European coaches - believed to include former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier - as to who should replace Osieck.

Hiddink has been mentioned as a possible replacement but he is not the answer as you cannot get back what was once there.

I also don't think Australian hopefuls Graham Arnold, Ange Postecoglou and Tony Popovic are the right men either, although there is no doubt their heart and soul would be put into the job.

Sadly, there seems to be a rocky road ahead for the Socceroos and only hard work will get them out of it.

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