NEYMAR has been ruled out for TWO MONTHS – putting him in a race against time to be fit for the World Cup.
Five Premier League swap deals that may still be done including Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal
Man Utd owners the Glazers can sign both Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo for £64m
Australia vs Egypt, Olyroos, Graham Arnold, Daniel Arzani, Mark Bosnich, result, reaction, football 2021
The Olyroos’ Olympic campaign kicked off in stunning fashion but ended raising even more questions of coach Graham Arnold after a dejecting 2-0 loss to Egypt.
Needing just a point to progress through, Arnold and Australia were accused of playing far too defensively, particularly given the situation their opponent found itself.
Egypt were in need of all three points and lifted in a far superior performance to that of the Olyroos, whose shock 2-0 win over Argentina faded to become a distant memory.
That brilliant performance and the arrival of generation next that came with it will provide a source of comfort to some – that Australian football is in good hands for the future as the likes of Nathaniel Atkinson, Marco Tilio and Daniel Arzani continue to develop.
But questions were asked as to whether the latter two’s development was stunted by not getting more time playing together.
After all, the two thrive when playing alongside each other.
One of the more contentious decisions Arnold made in Wednesday’s defeat was the reluctance to unleash Arzani off the bench, only doing so once the team was a goal down.
At that point the Olyroos were in desperate need of spark in attack but some will argue that should have been the mindset from the start.
Arzani’s energy off the interchange could have worked in their favour against tired legs and given his lack of match fitness it may have made sense to play him on limited minutes.
It was the youngster who came closest to scoring in the second stanza.
But to look at the side’s campaign more broadly, in the opening game against Argentina they played like they had nothing to lose.
Yet when it all went on the line the Olyroos shied away from that approach and instead decided to embrace a defensive mindset while Egypt capitalised on poor passing.
There is little doubting this was a tough group for Australia and that in reality, prior to the tournament one win and two losses would have been an acceptable result.
But given the opening score against Argentina it instead ended up feeling like a missed opportunity.
“So in the end the opening game was wasted, congratulations Egypt,” Mark Bosnich posted on Twitter.
“Just a small observation… setting up defensively against a team who hadn’t scored yet all tournament is a recipe for sowing seeds in your players minds that ‘we cannot be our true selves’. It leads to doubt.”
Arnold himself though hinted post-game that the lack of energy and firepower in attack may have also come down to fatigue from the two prior matches.
After all, Atkinson, Riley McGree and Mitch Duke were all missing through suspension.
“Did those two games take it out of us? Maybe,” Arnold said.
While the Olympic campaign may have ended in heartbreak, Arnold added that he walks away with something more valuable than a medal.
“I couldn’t have been prouder,” he said.
“In the past, the Olympics have developed and created a lot of national team players for the Socceroos and that was the reason I took this job on.
“It was to do that and I do feel I walk away from here with much more depth now for the Socceroos.”
Whether Australian fans accept that conclusion remains to be seen, though the reaction online on Wednesday night suggests questions will continue to be asked of Arnold’s reign at national level.
Soccer7 days ago
Jack Grealish transfer door could be open to Man Utd or Man City after Aston Villa move
Cricket6 days ago
Recent Match Report – Australia vs West Indies 2nd ODI 2021
Soccer6 days ago
Tottenham fans have Harry Kane conspiracy theory as Son Heung-min signs new contract
Soccer5 days ago
Man Utd announce Jadon Sancho transfer as new signings speaks for the first time
Soccer5 days ago
Romelu Lukaku 'would relish Chelsea transfer return' as 'very good' offer made to star
MLB4 days ago
Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer scratched from start at Baltimore Orioles due to triceps injury
NFL3 days ago
Pittsburgh offensive lineman Trai Turner ready for ‘new era’ on Steelers’ rebuilt offensive line
NFL3 days ago
How NFL training camps will work in 2021