Sad Songs Say So Much but Two out of Three Aint Bad.

Two out of Three Aint Bad …

… Just ask Chile.

But their ‘two’ were results. For Chile, pre-Tournament ambition was married long enough with optimum performance, to produce a positive result … As well as the promising outcomes that’ve have been Australia’s ultimate ‘best-case’ conclusion, Chile put together enough of their best work, to get some concrete results … Points on the board.

And that’s the shame of our last match with Spain. While Chile ultimately lost the battle for top spot in the Group, they went down fighting as themselves, their identity intact.

We were lulled, nursed, prodded and ultimately dizzied into relinquishing our own hard won, but still immature identity, by an initially uninterested Spanish team that – make no mistake – entered today’s match with exactly the same expectations as our previous opponents. They expected to be able to harvest a result from our mistakes.

The method both Holland & Chile employed with the identical expectations, suited us down to our toenails. Both those teams’ willingness to employ the naked attack which allowed them to overrun Spain – before & after they had played us respectively – also allowed us to better find our fresh Socceroos dynamic.

It was a symbiosis that produced cracking games. Like going on a date with a conversationally swift woman, willing to engage you on a range of topics that are of course interesting to her. The cracking part is when you realise she is prepared to accomodate topics that are interesting to you. Which eventually leads you both to realise the number of engaging things you have in common.

When you’re conversationally swift AND genuinely interested in engaging … BOOM! Sparks fly and its usually then you find that words are not enough. How good does THAT feel? We got a taste of that with our one-night stands with Chile & Holland both.

Able to engage our preferred tactics optimally, we controlled the flow of each game for sustained periods. Our mistakes cost us … early & late, but we were able to achieve clear moments to make ourselves heard on the world stage.

That was never gonna be allowed against Spain. Rather than being a permissive introduction to a football conversation, Spain’s tactics were the equivalent of the hot blonde curled seductively around the corner of the bar. Seemingly positioned to avoid engagement, but clearly confident she WILL be noticed AND approached.

The problem with facing ‘La Furia Roja’ is if you approach her with any sort of crisis of identity, or compromise in mind, the only likely response you will get is a ‘talk to the hand’ dismissal, leaving you in no doubt about where you stand. How far beneath contempt you are.

Spain have been doing that to teams all over the world for the last six years. It was a pity we got lulled by their languid disinterest as the early minutes ticked by, eventually abandoning our attempts to engage in a conversation of annihilating rhythm.

Instead we waited & waited, looking for a sign that we were ‘in’ … And not being baited.

It was Game Over at that point, as the Spaniards started a one-way harangue of ball-control and domination of positioning. What had started as a quixotically romantic proposition before kickoff, turned into the worst kind of object lesson.

It was only Spain’s lack of ambition that stopped the match becoming an abject humiliation for us. Worse still was the realisation that any metaphoric thoughts of ‘True Romance’ we might have had, were replaced with the indelible impression that the match had turned into a ‘Fathers/Uncles’ vs ‘Siblings/Cousins’ picnic encounter.

You all know the ones. The little whipper-snappers pester their athletic parents for a game. After they manage to succeed in getting a harried assent and start off with the promising enthusiasm of youth, it all comes undone when the initially uninterested adults’ competitive juices start to flow.

And then they start to play. Not just football, but also with their immature opponents’ heads. Whether trash-talking is engaged or not, the eloquence of the disrespect being paid, is a statement in and of itself.

Lets not for a moment kid ourselves. As good as our initial showings have been. As hopeful as they led us to allow our expectations to get. This last game is what our worst fears were made of, before Brazil 2014 started. Not that we would lose, but that we would be toyed with.

Like hopeful suitors for the attention of that curvaceous blonde goddess at the corner bar, we were lip-curlingly rejected, because we were unsure, unable to summon an authentic version of our best selves and hoping to muddle through.

Two out of Three aint Bad at all! Thankfully those first two are still fresh enough in the memory to innoculate us against the viral insidiousness dangerously prominent behind Door Number Three.

The best that can be said for it is, NOW this particular group has concrete examples of the extremes of participation. One which we hope to reproduce continually in method and design, eventually getting to a point where we exceed the positive outcomes with positive results. The other, an extreme the likes of which we work dilligently to never be party to again.

A sad end to a joyous whole. But that’s country music for ya. Not to mention summer romance. Indeed ‘Two out of Three Aint Bad’. I just wish that in the end I wasn’t left singin’ – ‘There goes my Girl, but that aint my Truck’.

Live & learn lads. You showed Australia you have it in you. We showed the world some tantalising pieces of our best selves. The best is still to come. Lets not let today overshadow that. Lets not let them and more importantly ourselves, ever forget.


  1. Beachcrave says

    Bring on the Asian Cup! Thanks Gregor, really enjoy your work

  2. Gregor Lewis says

    Appreciated ‘BC’.
    This time of year is when I miss the beach the most, especially watching so much Brazilian weather, and being so far away.
    Asian Cup!
    Bring it on indeed.


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