Mega Thread 2022/23 Off-Season Sports Thread

Remove this Banner Ad

Piggy Smalls

Unofficial SFA Fantasy Pig
Nov 30, 2018
4,847
11,647
AFL Club
Fremantle
The tour match between PM’s XI and West Indies is heading for a good finish. Windies only need another 90 odd runs with 5 wickets in hand but Aussies are almost due the new ball.
 

stax on the mull

Premiership Player
Dec 26, 2010
4,662
6,186
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Matildas
I’m in a hotel room about to leave to watch us play Tunisia. We start as underdogs against a country most on here probably haven’t heard of. That’s reality regardless of what the Aussie media want to say.

Agree with everything above. Think France could pick more than 52 players (two squads) before you pick an Australian player tbh. Whether the first player player picked gets in the 3rd, 4th, 5th squads or even further back than that I don’t know. Reality is no one in our squad is good enough to play in France’s Ligue 1, which has 20 teams made up of players from right around the world but a lot of French players.

FIFA has expanded the WC to 48 teams next tournament. Little of those spots have gone to Europe unfortunately. They’re going the opposite way instead and diversifying where the teams are from. It’s criminal Italy (champions of Europe) can’t make to this World Cup and little is being done to rectify that sort of thing happening yet teams like Jordan, UAE or even Qatar (as a non host) are in with a decent chance of making it next time.

Its not criminal that Italy isn't there. They f--- up and couldn't win enough games in a not too difficult group to qualify directly and they got knocked out by North Macedonia.

There's just as many minnow teams in Europe now as in any of the other zones for qualifying for the World Cup - and it is the World Cup, not the European Cup.
 

estibador

purple haze
Mar 2, 2007
42,308
57,581
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Liverpool, Scorchers. Packers
But I have found the games BABS. Hopefully the further into the competition, the better the games will get.

I haven't seen any stats on this so I could be wrong, but I feel like there's been more 0-0 games this tournament than in recent iterations. It felt like the last few WCs were higher scoring than we've seen so far in this one.
 

Log in to remove this ad.

Dockeroo

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 1, 2019
6,032
14,948
AFL Club
Fremantle
Quick query Dockeroo.

Back in the early 2000’s, we had a large number of the players in the Aussie team, playing in overseas leagues (some top grade). From memory, there was only 2 or 3 coming from the local league.

From my understanding, in the current team, very few play in overseas league’s.

Why has this occurred ?.
I think the others have answered this question quite well in the comments since you asked. However I would also add that is quite true that back in the 2000s there was probably 3 or 4 Australian players that you could call well established, key players in teams in the top 5 or 6 in the English premier league.
They included Kewell, Viduka (an excellent player that was perfectly suited to British football and very underrated in my opinion) and Tim Cahill. Mark Bosnich played for Manchester United too it’s easy to forget and was brilliant at Aston Villa in the late 90s. He couldn’t stay professional enough off the field however. Schwartz we was also a very good EPL goalie in the 2000s
There was another batch of solid pros for the lower half of the EPL like Kevin Muscat, Tony popovic and John Aloisi, and then quality players like Brett Emerton in good European club teams.

I think a lot of those guys were first generation sons of European migrants and maybe there was a closer link to the motherland for kids born in the 70s and early 80s than there is today.
I didn’t live here back then but have heard lots of stories about how fiercely parochial the Melbourne knights and others likely that were in the 1990s.

Another factor is that the EPL is a lot stronger now than it was in the early 2000s.
Big European countries have invested in academy’s to raise standards across the board and It was actually the French who first showed how powerful that approach was with Clarefontaine in Paris that produced so many superstars and drove them to World Cup and European championship glory at the turn of the century.
 

Square Peg

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 20, 2014
7,587
16,885
Fremantle WA
AFL Club
Fremantle
Such an intelligent header from Duke! As the saying goes, that goal was as much from the inside of his head as the outside
Let's go boys
 

Dockeroo

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 1, 2019
6,032
14,948
AFL Club
Fremantle
I think this game is very winnable as long as the Australian team don’t keep dropping too deep and defending further into their own Half it’s going to be hard to defend the entire half from the 18 yard box
 

gaskin

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 19, 2009
27,668
30,935
F*** Alabama
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
LFC, Glory, Wests, Seahawks
I think this game is very winnable as long as the Australian team don’t keep dropping too deep and defending further into their own Half it’s going to be hard to defend the entire half from the 18 yard box

The extra midfielder coming on at HT for Tunisia has changed things. They look a lot more composed on the ball.
 

gaskin

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 19, 2009
27,668
30,935
F*** Alabama
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
LFC, Glory, Wests, Seahawks
That was tough to watch but we did what we needed to do. If only that cross from Goodwin that Leckie just couldn't reach had have gone in. 2-0 would have been so comfortable.
 

estibador

purple haze
Mar 2, 2007
42,308
57,581
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Liverpool, Scorchers. Packers
Great win!

Tbh, between scoring a great goal against France and now getting a win, we've already exceeded my mediocre expectations regardless of what happens from here.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

May 5, 2022
84
256
AFL Club
Fremantle
Essentially the lack of developmental pathways. The removal of the FFA Center of Excellence (national youth academy) is the really big one but also the lack of opportunities for young players to gain experience in the A-League. Teams have been reluctant to play kids over the last decade or so and the teams that do are really only doing it because they are near the bottom of the table and have nothing to lose or because they have a young player that is just that damn good they can't not play them (Garang Kuol at Central Coast for example). If you look at the old NSL, a lot of the great names of the past came through the NSL and gained a lot of experience before moving overseas. These days, young players that show some ability are moving at 18/19 years of age with little experience then coming back a couple of years later with their tails between their legs. They are having their heads turned by the prospect of moving to Europe long before they are ready.

Another reason if we look at junior level is the cost. The cost to play for kids is ridiculously high at quite a lot of clubs (some clubs it is in the thousands of dollars per year) as they use the junior fees to pay for both their senior mens team and maintenance and upgrades to the facilities. The sport has the highest participation rate of any sport in this country by a large margin yet gets a miniscule amount of federal funding compared to the other sports. These clubs have to come up with money somehow and the only real avenue they have is charging higher fees. We have a ridiculous number of immigrants in this country (especially from countries where it is their national sport) and we should be encouraging them to get their kids playing but a lot of them are priced out of it.


Those are 2 big reasons why the talent is lacking but there are so many more I could have listed as well.
Well covered. And to add a few others:

* Inflation of the number of foreigners in the top European leagues in recent decades, as the game becomes more globalised (more talent from Africa and South America in particular - far more competition for young Aussie players).

* Players from our Golden Generation such as Culina, Viduka, Popovic and Emerton spent their formative years at ethnic NSL clubs, which provided a far better development environment than the current A-League academies.

* Kewell joined the Leeds academy around 16 years of age. FIFA has since banned academies signing overseas players before they turn 18.

* Loss of grassroots talents due to exorbitant costs. Australia must be one of the only places where the grassroots game largely funds the professional game (FFA). It’s an absolute drain on our talent.
 
May 5, 2022
84
256
AFL Club
Fremantle
Anyway, tonight is about celebrating a win at the World Cup!

After the France game I was critical of us choosing the wrong moment to play out from the back (which led to France’s second goal).

Well tonight our goal came from stretching them vertically by maintaining deep possession and drawing a press, so it’s worth acknowledging when it leads to a goal.

Realistically, we’re performing near or at our maximum level. It’s great to win but Tunisia were poor. It’s still a huge task to get out of the group. Even if we do, we don’t have the weapons to challenge any half decent team that we’d meet in the knockouts (unlike the 2006 side, which wouldn’t have looked out of place in a World Cup semi final IMO).
 

Docker82

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 21, 2013
6,684
10,276
Perth
AFL Club
Fremantle
It's hilarious watching Qatar stink it up, so far off the level and get the free entry pass. Getting what they deserved, the first team eliminated from their own tournament.

Never really been a fan of giving the World Cup to a team that wouldn’t have made it anyway. Having said that Qatar beat Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Australia to win the last Asian Cup. Who knows they may have qualified anyway!
 

Docker82

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 21, 2013
6,684
10,276
Perth
AFL Club
Fremantle
Its not criminal that Italy isn't there. They f--- up and couldn't win enough games in a not too difficult group to qualify directly and they got knocked out by North Macedonia.

There's just as many minnow teams in Europe now as in any of the other zones for qualifying for the World Cup - and it is the World Cup, not the European Cup.

Agree with break up of teams now tbh but if you’re going to expand to 48 teams a similar amount teams per region should be maintained with a consideration also given to the quality of the teams likely to make it.

There’s upsets with qualifying all the time. Italy did **** up for sure.

Very true there’s some real minnow teams in Europe. I think when doing profiles for the San Marino team they literally listed what job the players do.

It’d be harsh to consider say Jordan, UAE etc as minnows tbh. They can’t compete consistently with the good European teams but they give a contest. Amateurs vs global superstars does not.
 

Dockeroo

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 1, 2019
6,032
14,948
AFL Club
Fremantle
Agree with break up of teams now tbh but if you’re going to expand to 48 teams a similar amount teams per region should be maintained with a consideration also given to the quality of the teams likely to make it.

There’s upsets with qualifying all the time. Italy did **** up for sure.

Very true there’s some real minnow teams in Europe. I think when doing profiles for the San Marino team they literally listed what job the players do.

It’d be harsh to consider say Jordan, UAE etc as minnows tbh. They can’t compete consistently with the good European teams but they give a contest. Amateurs vs global superstars does not.
European football has a few tiers. There’s the elite tier - France, Spain, England, Italy, Germany. The home of the 5 biggest football league in the world where the vast majority of the worlds top players play club football. No matter how bad these teams are they are still contenders at every World Cup. Italy not qualifying this time was a freak event, I think they have qualified for every World Cup tournament but one before this.
Just below this tier is a batch of teams that have world class players but maybe not as much depth as the big 5. Here you have Portugal, Croatia, Netherlands, Belgium. If these teams turn up to a World Cup with a good team, they can win it. But even if they have a relatively weaker team than normal they are still better than every other team in the world outside Europe apart from Brazil and Argentina. They always have at least 2 or 3 world class players but unlike England or Spain the 11th man could be more of a journeyman type. Still, you currently have ronaldo, modric, DeBruyne, van Diik, all absolutely world class playing for these teams. Their domestic leagues are just a little off the big 5 and often are feeder leagues for the EPL and La Liga, especially the Dutch and Portuguese league.
The third European tier contains a large bunch of very decent teams. Over a 20 or 30 year period, all of these teams will produce a couple of world class players. As only 13 teams from Europe qualify, these teams are usually fighting hard for the last 4 or 5 spots after all the big boys are qualified in every World Cup qualification campaign. Australia at their best, back in 2006 when Cahill, Viduka, kewell and Emerton and co were at their peak, could compare to this tier of teams. But probably not the current Aussie team, they are a little off that level. Teams in this tier in Europe would be:
Switzerland, Serbia, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine, Russia (if they were allowed play), Sweden, Norway (definitely a coming force in world football, they have the arsenal captain Odeegard and the arguably the best player on the planet right now in Erling Haaland), Greece, Wales (though I sense they are waning back to a slightly lower level now).
Those are probably the best sides in the third tier now. Very closely behind is a 4th tier, these are teams that were good in the past 25 years at various stages and if a generation of top players comes though they can rise as high as the counties in tier 2. Here we have turkey, Bulgaria, Scotland, Ireland, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Bosnia, Israel, Slovenia and Iceland. I think any of these teams would qualify for the World Cup if they were outside Europe.
There is a bunch of about 5 tiny nations that are amateur, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Gibraltar, Malta.
But then even historically weak counties like Georgia, Montenegro, Albania, Armenia, Finland, can produce technically gifted footballers from time to time and while they dont usually qualify, they do trip up big teams very occasionally. North Macedonia v Italy a case in point.
 

go_the_dockers

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 11, 2008
11,302
8,091
Adelaide
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Man Utd
Agree with break up of teams now tbh but if you’re going to expand to 48 teams a similar amount teams per region should be maintained with a consideration also given to the quality of the teams likely to make it.

There’s upsets with qualifying all the time. Italy did **** up for sure.

Very true there’s some real minnow teams in Europe. I think when doing profiles for the San Marino team they literally listed what job the players do.

It’d be harsh to consider say Jordan, UAE etc as minnows tbh. They can’t compete consistently with the good European teams but they give a contest. Amateurs vs global superstars does not.
Soccer fees per year are exorbitant.

500 dollars compared to 50 to 100 for football and cricket.

Big difference is probably the lack of money in the top local league. Basketball has the same problem.
 

gaskin

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 19, 2009
27,668
30,935
F*** Alabama
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
LFC, Glory, Wests, Seahawks
Here we have turkey, Bulgaria, Scotland, Ireland, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Bosnia, Israel, Slovenia and Iceland. I think any of these teams would qualify for the World Cup if they were outside Europe.

I would have Hungary in tier 3 at the moment. They have come a long way under Marco Rossi in the past couple of years and finished 2nd in their Nations League group that had Italy, Germany, and England. I may be biased since I support Hungary as well as the Socceroos, but they are definitely at the level of Greece, Wales, Ukraine, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway.
 

stax on the mull

Premiership Player
Dec 26, 2010
4,662
6,186
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Matildas
European football has a few tiers. There’s the elite tier - France, Spain, England, Italy, Germany. The home of the 5 biggest football league in the world where the vast majority of the worlds top players play club football. No matter how bad these teams are they are still contenders at every World Cup. Italy not qualifying this time was a freak event, I think they have qualified for every World Cup tournament but one before this.

Italy didn't qualify in 2018 either...so they've missed 3 times overall, and haven't gotten out of the group stage since the time when they last won the thing back in 2006. In fact they've only won 1 game at a World Cup since 2006. In 2010 they couldn't even beat New Zealand and finished last in their group of 4.

Germany including pre-unification West Germany is way ahead of the other European sides. Since 1974 they've won 3 world cups,have been runners up x 3 and have also won the third place play-off x 3. In my time from watching since '74, England have really only been competitive a handful of times. They've missed qualification 3 times...struggled to get out of the group stage (didn't win a game in 2014) and apart from last tournament in Russia their only other top 4 performance was when they got through to the semis with a slightly controversial quarter finals win against Cameroon in 1990.

Actually can't see on what basis you would have England in the Top Tier of 5 European teams. The 5 you mentioned may have the biggest leagues with the biggest transfer fees for players it doesn't necessarily translate into good World Cup performances.

I Would have Italy way ahead of England, and France maybe on a par with Italy - but France also have had some low points like when they missed the qualification twice in 1990 and 1994 (before they won it as a host nation in 1998) and they didn't win a game in 2002 where they qualified for the World Cup under the now abandoned rule where the previous winners got automatic qualification to compete in the next tournament. Would suggest Netherlands would be a better performing European team than England and Spain too, and would have Spain ahead of England only because their World Cup win is more recent (along with their wins at the Euros) but for a long time in the 80's and 90's they were consistent disappointments who never looked like they could get to the pointy end of tournaments despite the pre-tournament hype.

You're right in saying that teams that you've ranked in the 3rd tier/4th tier of European nations can ocassionally come up with a good side for a tournament. I can rememeber Poland making it to the semi finals in 1974 and teams like Bulgaria and Turkey have done the same since - but then so have South Korea and North Korea with less qualifying chances.

A lot of the teams that I consider minnow teams of Europe have sprung up in the last 30 years since the break up of the Soviet Union/Yugoslavia/ Czechoslovakia. There were 55 teams from Europe (EUFA) that tried to qualify for this World Cup where 13 ended up getting there - 10 teams qualifying from winning their groups made up of 5 or 6 teams, and then 3 more spots are available that the next ranked 12 teams play off for.

Just to put it into context the other confederations also have difficult paths.

The federations that would have the most concentrated qualification opportunities for there region are in the Americas. The South American division (CONMEBOL) has 4 teams out of 10 that qualify plus an opportunity of a play-off place for 5th, and a when you consider a couple of those 10 teams are Bolivia and Venezuela who are seldom or never qualifiers its more like 8 teams trying to squeeze into 4.5 spots.

The North American/Central American/Carribean region (CONCACAF) had 35 teams but the bottom 30 teams (based on FIFA rankings) had to play off against each other to join the top 5 (based on FIFA ranksing) in a further qualification phase in an 8 team round-robin comp where the Top 3 go through and the 4th place goes to the run-off stage. For this tournament Canada came from outside the top 5 to finish on top of the CONCACAF division.

Africa has 5 teams qualifying out of 55. A team like Egypt with a superstar like Mo Salah can go through undefeated in the group stage until a 2 round knockout stage, then lose their only game against eventual qualifiers Senegal in penalty shootout. Nigeria has a generation of players that won 2 Under 17 World Cups in the last decade, topped their group and drew both of their knockout games against Ghana but were eliminated on the away goal rule.

Our Asian group (AFC) starts off with 46 teams and when Australia enters the group phase there's 40 teams competing. Because Qatar automatically qualified we had one less spot there were only 4 direct qualifying spots available plus the play-off position for the 3rd ranked teams in each of the two final. Given that Japan have beaten Germany and Saudi Arabia have beaten Argentina, it puts a better light on our 3rd place finish - especially considering how we had to play the majority of our home games away.

There's also the Oceania group (OFC) where the group winner New Zealand went to a play-off against the 4th place CONCACAF team Costa Rica and lost.

By dint of those past traditions the European nations have built reputations where they are regarded as world cup quality teams, but as the competition becomes less Eurocentric and teams from other confederations are given more opportunity to compete we should start to get other teams that will spring a surprise and take it all the way to semi-finals stages like some of those lower tier European teams have done.
 
Last edited:

Piggy Smalls

Unofficial SFA Fantasy Pig
Nov 30, 2018
4,847
11,647
AFL Club
Fremantle
I’ve always admired Justin Langer but surely his sudden desire to tell all and sundry about his ‘mistreatment’ by CA has been deliberately timed to undermine the team ahead of the first Test. It would be a shame if his legacy is tarnished by his inability to move on.
 
Last edited:

Purpletown

Club Legend
Sep 22, 2014
1,816
3,714
Restumping
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
SFFC Denver Broncos
I’ve always admired Justin Langer but surely his sudden desire to tell and and sundry about his ‘mistreatment’ by CA has been deliberately timed to undermine the team ahead of the first Test. It would be a shame if his legacy is tarnished by his inability to move on.

Unfortunately men's cricket in Australia is on the nose owing to a number of unsavoury acts over the past few years. Needs a strong administration, coaching panel and would probably benefit from an injection of new blood on the field in the near future.
 

Kram

I'll brik u
May 2, 2007
72,782
90,830
WA
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Chicago Bears, de Boer, Arsenal
11pm on a work night is a bit of a prick of a time to watch Australia v Denmark.
 

Kram

I'll brik u
May 2, 2007
72,782
90,830
WA
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Chicago Bears, de Boer, Arsenal
Thoughts on expanding the 2026 WC to 48 teams?
 

Remove this Banner Ad