Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeNewsAussie Rules football at crossroads ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifiers

Aussie Rules football at crossroads ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifiers


By Mike Rice.

As the South American Qualifiers for the World Cup drew to a close, Peru secured their place in the qualifiers by finishing 5th in the Conmebol table, but they will have to wait to find out their final opponent in their bid to win. reach the final tournament in Qatar.

They must face the Asian representatives who are yet to be determined. With two groups of six teams in the AFC second qualifying phase, the two third-placed teams – UAE and Australia – will meet in a draw for the chance to face Peru and to qualify for the World Cup.

The United Arab Emirates finished behind Iran and South Korea in their group, scoring just seven goals in 10 games and also conceding seven. They finished with 12 points, Iran on 25 and South Korea on 23.

In Group B, Australia finished behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, scoring 15 goals in 10 games and conceding 9. They finished with 15 points, Saudi Arabia had 23 and Japan 22.

Australia have been competing in Asian qualifiers since their last World Cup qualifying campaign in the Oceania federation in 2006, when they beat Uruguay in the playoffs. Their decision to switch to the Asian qualification system for 2010 was due to the lack of an automatic World Cup place in OFC.

They have progressed to the World Cup each time since making the switch, now challenging for their fifth straight appearance since.

This will be their second straight playoff campaign, having beaten Honduras to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The level of competition in Asia is undoubtedly stronger than Australia was used to, which partly explains their decision to switch and gain more experience at a higher level and hopefully be better prepared for the World Cups.

New Zealand have made it through the OFC 2022 qualifiers again and will face Costa Rica in their qualifiers this time around.

Australia, however, are showing worrying signs about their future after this campaign.

Questions were asked following Bruno Fornaroli’s call. It’s not that his ability is in question, as much as the lack of competition from young players.

He is a 31-year-old striker born in Uruguay, who recently became eligible to represent Australia. He has been among Australia’s most prolific A-League strikers since joining Melbourne City in 2015 and is now in his third season with Perth Glory.

Former players fear that with each passing generation they will move away from the quality of the golden generation which included the likes of Tm Cahill, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka.

The FFA Center of Excellence that helped create these players has long since closed and the national team are looking to domestic clubs to produce the next big stars, even though that just doesn’t seem to be happening.

Interest in the home league seems to have been disappointing considering the average attendance. Taking all teams in the league into account, average attendance was at its highest in 2007–08 at 14,610, although it dropped dramatically in 2010–11 to just 8,429.

Interest slowly increased again over the next three seasons, reaching 13,041 in 2013-14, although it has steadily dropped year on year since even to just 10,411 in 2018-19.

The numbers after that have a pretty big caveat, though that gradual and steady decline in attendance numbers over those five seasons is telling.

Former Wigan Athletic and Stoke City midfielder Josip Skoko says the league is going nowhere until there is relegation. He accuses the teams of lacking passion and needing a second league to introduce promotion and relegation.

There is the National Premier League which consists of a number of state leagues which contest finals every year.

Although oddly, this league does not run at the same time as the A-League and there is a crossover in start and end dates.

There is no progression to the A-League or relegation to the NPL, which can make it difficult for young players from A-League teams to gain experience in these leagues.

This is in some ways similar to the system used in Major League Soccer. The United States national team has qualified for the 2022 World Cup and its young players appear to be reaching higher levels, moving from MLS to Europe – something the A-League is desperate to do.

Graham Arnold, the current Australia manager, knows his job will only last if they reach the World Cup. The side he has is what’s available, and the former Sydney manager knows what it’s like for other managers in the A-League.

They have their own job to worry about, perhaps more than figuring out how to further develop young players to complete the national team. Foreign players can be recruited immediately to compete at the desired level, and they do not have to risk their future, as well as that of young players, by registering them too early.

The men’s A-League needs to consider how it will bring fans into the stadiums and deliver a more entertaining and higher quality product.

The development of young players cannot be left to clubs and the FFA alone [Football Federation Australia] needs to look at a long term plan of how they are going to deal with this crisis.

Japan, whose 2-0 win over Australia confirmed their direct route to Qatar, have spent decades making their J-League what they want it to be.

After bringing in big stars in the past, such as Gary Lineker at Nagoya Grampus Eight and Arsene Wenger as manager, Japan suffered an economic crisis in the 1990s that forced the J-League to restart and rebuild.

They did this by creating opportunities locally to help produce players and develop clubs to continue to compete.

The vision was supported by a second and then a third tier of the J-League, with 58 professional teams currently competing.

There is the Japan Football League below the third tier and the regional leagues below, all with promotion and relegation as part of a pyramid.

It looks like Australia are considering how to recapture the optimism that once reigned around the Socceroos.

They have MLS and J-League football to use as guides for player development domestically, and time will tell which routes they take.

For now, however, the qualifiers with the United Arab Emirates, who defeated them in the 2019 Asian Cup, are next.

If they succeed, a meeting with Peru is announced, which eliminated their New Zealand neighbors to gain their place in the World Cup 2018.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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