UPDATED: Jun 16
Well who would have thunk it? Netherlands, which was thought to be Australia's best chance of winning a world cup match has come out with a dream start thrashing Spain 5-1. Tip #3 below has been turnned on its head - but we now know exactly what to do. Australia's sterling effort to reverse it's shell shocked start in the Chile game has attracted acclaim. Now for the next move! Lets hope they can mirror the Men's Hocket success overnight.
In Australia there is a term called "block burster burnout" whereby in a "blockbuster" between two top teams, the victor climbs a massive hill to exact revenge only to crash to a lesser team the following week. This is most notably observed in the AFL where Geelong is often vulnerable the week after they play Hawthorne. One commentator has already observed that Netherlands could not possibly play any better than their dream "grudge match" against the winners of the last world cup. Can they back it up? If they give away a penalty to Australia with their muscular defence like they did against Spain, Australia won't need a second invitation to apply maximum pressure. There have already been some massive upsets - don't rule out one more!
Breaking with tradition and leaving the astronomy to one side today, I'll take a risk and give some HOT TIPS for the world cup.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE Australia in the world cup! We might be 59th in the world and bumped to 62 just as the cup starts, but Australia is a sports mad nation that will play above its weight, as we do in Astronomy, Medical research, and many other persuits.
TIP #1: Ange Postecoglou is a master coach. Any coach who is 2-0 down with ten minutes to go and still leads the Brisbane Roar to win a flag is a potent force. He has the respect of the players, he is now on the world stage, his moment has come!
TIP #2: The hungry will always beat the comfortable and entitled! (who are often carried off on a stretcher after someone breathed on them). Australia were the first team to arrive in Brazil, they have been training hard and are a very fit side. The older players playing on past glories and valuable experience have been moved aside to media commentary assigments and been replaced by the young and hungry. Everyone on the park knows if they don't perform it will be their last match.
TIP #3: Australia will know exactly what the need to do before they even take the field. Spain plays Netherlands 2 hours before Australia's first match. So within three hours we will likely know the battle lines of the so called "group of death". Spain will beat Netherlands 2-0 and go straight to the top of the group, unlikely to be headed. If Netherlands can't beat Australia they are gone. Which makes the Australia - Chile match the defining match. Australia will double down and go for broke!
TIP #4: Matt Ryan will frustrate some very good strikers, and may be one of the best keepers of the tournament. Mark Schwarzer kept Australia in the hunt in 2006, and if he has been replaced after his sensational form in the English Premier League - then this kid is good!
TIP #5: Australia's answer to the barmy army, the Socceroos fan base have already been spotted around Rio De Janeiro, school students and soccer clubs have been flown in for training sessions with their new heros, the aussies have been training in front of big crowds.
The only tip I have ever made previously was that: Australia has never lost a world cup match that Archie Thompson played in. A tip which will sadly stand the test of time. Despite getting us to 3 world cups, he never got game time, despite holding the world record for 13 goals in an International Match. If Thompson was on the park with Postecoglou at the helm, I would be even more confident. However, he will be there in spirit encouraging the younger players.
As we can't be robbed by an Italian play actor taking a dive in the penalty box with three minutes to go, I expect this time a little luck may go our way, Matt Ryan will keep with a clean sheet until we meet Spain.
Go Aussies - don't under estimate them.
(.....and you already know not to understaimate us in the Hockey!)