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Jun 14, 2014

Mission accomplished as Australia avoid humiliation in Cuiaba

By Nick Mulvenney

(Reuters) – Relief might be an unusual reaction to a 3-1 defeat to open a World Cup campaign but the low level of expectation surrounding Australia meant that was exactly the response of many Socceroos fans to Friday’s loss to Chile.

In disarray eight months ago after successive 6-0 hidings at the hands of Brazil and France, Australia sacked German Holger Osieck and brought in Ange Postecoglou with firm instructions to rejuvenate the squad.

Jun 14, 2014

Soccer-Mission accomplished as Australia avoid humiliation in Cuiaba

June 14 (Reuters) – Relief might be an unusual reaction to a 3-1 defeat to open a World Cup campaign but the low level of expectation surrounding Australia meant that was exactly the response of many Socceroos fans to Friday’s loss to Chile.

In disarray eight months ago after successive 6-0 hidings at the hands of Brazil and France, Australia sacked German Holger Osieck and brought in Ange Postecoglou with firm instructions to rejuvenate the squad.

Jun 13, 2014

Soccer-Peralta strike gives Mexico win in Natal rainstorm

NATAL, Brazil, June 13 (Reuters) – Mexico got just rewards for their attacking intent when Oribe Peralta’s 61st minute strike gave them a 1-0 win over Cameroon in their World Cup opener at a rain-saturated Dunas arena on Friday.

The Mexicans had two Giovani dos Santos efforts controversially disallowed in the first half but Peralta’s goal means they will now feel they have a good chance of progressing from Group A, which also includes hosts Brazil and Croatia.

Jun 13, 2014

Peralta strike gives Mexico win in Natal rainstorm

NATAL Brazil (Reuters) – Mexico were rewarded for their attacking intent when Oribe Peralta’s 61st minute strike gave them a 1-0 win over Cameroon in their World Cup opener at a rain-soaked Dunas arena on Friday.

The Mexicans had two Giovani Dos Santos efforts controversially disallowed in the first half but Peralta’s goal means they will now feel they have a good chance of progressing from Group A, which also includes hosts Brazil and Croatia.

Jun 12, 2014

Cameroon no longer the ‘Germans of Africa’ says coach

NATAL Brazil (Reuters) – Cameroon now offer more than just the physical power that defined their play at previous World Cups and it is unfair to continue to describe them as the “Germans of Africa”, coach Volker Finke said on Thursday.

The Africans take on Mexico in their opening match on Friday and Finke bristled when asked to explain how he would be able to make up for the deficit in skill levels compared to the Mexicans and their other Group A opponents, Brazil and Croatia.

Jun 12, 2014

Soccer-Cameroon no longer the ‘Germans of Africa’ says coach

NATAL, Brazil, June 12 (Reuters) – Cameroon now offer more than just the physical power that defined their play at previous World Cups and it is unfair to continue to describe them as the “Germans of Africa”, coach Volker Finke said on Thursday.

The Africans take on Mexico in their opening match on Friday and Finke bristled when asked to explain how he would be able to make up for the deficit in skill levels compared to the Mexicans and their other Group A opponents, Brazil and Croatia.

Jun 11, 2014

Mexico and Cameroon out to ride their luck in Natal

NATAL Brazil (Reuters) – Mexico and Cameroon would be prime contenders for the title of most fortunate qualifiers for the World Cup but both will fancy their chances of progressing from Group A if they can win their opening encounter on Friday.

Hosts Brazil and Croatia round out the group so traditional early tournament caution could be thrown to the wind at the Dunas arena with both teams knowing that a draw is unlikely to much help their cause.

Jun 11, 2014

Soccer-Mexico and Cameroon out to ride their luck in Natal

NATAL, Brazil, June 11 (Reuters) – Mexico and Cameroon would be prime contenders for the title of most fortunate qualifiers for the World Cup but both will fancy their chances of progressing from Group A if they can win their opening encounter on Friday.

Hosts Brazil and Croatia round out the group so traditional early tournament caution could be thrown to the wind at the Dunas arena with both teams knowing that a draw is unlikely to much help their cause.

Jun 5, 2014

Cahill still a talisman for rank outsiders Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Tim Cahill still belies his diminutive stature with his ability to leap above defenders and get his head on the ball and Australia hopes he will similarly help the Socceroos confound their lowly standing in Brazil. The hard-tackling attacking midfielder will be playing inhis third World Cup but Australia go to the 2014 finals as rankoutsiders in one of the toughest first-round groups with worldand European champions Spain, Netherlands and Chile. At 34, Cahill is winding down his career at the New York RedBulls after spending 14 years in England, first with Millwalland then Everton, but he remains a talismanic figure for hiscountry as well as Australia’s most prolific goal-scorer.

When Ange Postecoglou was appointed coach in October andpromised to give a new generation of players their chance,nobody for one second thought that Cahill would be among the oldguard dispatched into retirement. Two goals in a friendly against Ecuador in London in Marchmade him his country’s top marksman and he added another in the “farewell” warm-up game against South Africa in Sydney to give him a tally of 32 in 68 appearances.

Jun 5, 2014

Pride in Australia drives Socceroos coach Postecoglou

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is not heading to Brazil looking for excuses despite being handed the reins just eight months before the World Cup with the Socceroos apparently in disarray. Any reasonable observer would think he could claim a few ifAustralia disappoint, not least because they are the lowest-ranked team and have been grouped with world championsSpain, 2010 runners-up the Netherlands and Chile. To look for explanations of failure before a sportingcontest is distinctly un-Australian, however, and although hewas born in Greece, Postecoglou is a “true blue” Aussie. After the three-year reign of German technocrat HolgerOsieck, the fact that the 48-year-old was home-grown was a keyfactor when Football Federation Australia gave him a five-yearcontract last October. “My hope and my belief is that we can restore pride to thenational team and our national team jersey,” Postecoglou said atthe news conference on his appointment. “I really want to sell hope to people who love football, butmore importantly, love our nation.” Another factor in his appointment was the reputation he hadearned over 17 years in coaching for rebuilding teams andgetting them to play in an adventurous, attacking style.

LURED AWAY

The Brisbane Roar squad he overhauled won successiveA-League titles in 2011 and 2012 and he had started a similarrejuvenation project at the Melbourne Victory before he waslured to the Socceroos. Postecoglou’s overseas experience is limited to a shortstint at small Greek club Panachaiki and he has described hisseven years in charge of the Australia youth team as his “PhD incoaching”. He embraced his new job with bullish enthusiasm, promisingto give Australia’s youth its chance after Osieck was perceivedto have failed to oversee a transition from the generation thattook Australia to the last two World Cups. With just a handful of friendlies to turn around thefortunes of a side hammered 6-0 by Brazil and France last year,Postecoglou could be forgiven for preferring to focus on winningthe Asian Cup on home soil next January. That, however, would be to underestimate his competitivedrive. “This could be my only shot at a World Cup, I’m not going togive it away for anything and I don’t think we should as anation,” he said after the draw in December. “If we want to do well in the Asian Cup, then we need astrong World Cup to build a foundation and give our players theright kind of experience.”

    • About Nick

      "Nick recently moved into his new role in Sydney after five years in China, where he covered the run-up to the Beijing Olympics and the growth of the world's most populous country as a sporting superpower. In more than a decade at Reuters, Nick has reported on a wide variety of events, from the sedate confines of the All England Club to the rarified atmosphere of Everest Base Camp for the ascent of the Olympic flame."
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