The past week has bought victories for Australia’s senior side as well as its under-23s who booked a berth at next year’s Beijing Olympics on Wednesday with a hard-fought 1-1 draw in North Korea. The Young Socceroos, the country’s under-20s team, also won three out of four AFC qualifying matches to guarantee a spot in the 2008 Asian Youth Championships earlier this month.
But the heavy shadow darkening Australia’s dreams of reaching the 2010 World Cup refuses to lift.
Australia’s search for Guus Hiddink’s long-term replacement has been rather like watching an English League One relegation scrap. Lots of running through mud chasing endless lost causes only for your star striker to miss a stoppage time penalty with seconds remaining.
This week, after a year-and-a-half’s worth of wild goose chases around the major European cities, Dick Advocaat reneged on his agreement to coach the Socceroos.
Depending on who you believe, a written Bandar Togel Online contract to take charge of Australia from February’s World Cup qualifiers onwards either was or wasn’t broken by Advocaat’s decision to agree a yearlong extension with Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg. Tellingly, though, the Russians are expecting a financial backlash.
“Yes, he will remain here in St Petersburg,” Zenit director Konstantin Sarsania told the Reuters news agency. “The only matter left to resolve is the compensation package to the Australians but we have our lawyers on the case.”
The verbal backlash has already started. More than once since deceitful Dick’s dastardly U-turn, Football Federation Australia has been likened to a jilted lover in the nation’s media.
Under the headline ‘Advocaat turns the stomach’, Sydney-based football writer Tom Smithies went further in penning this diatribe: “In Holland they drink the liqueur advocaat as a digestif, which is highly ironic because the contempt that a coach of the same name has shown for Australia has turned the stomachs of even those inured to the opportunism of top-level football”.
Strangely, the Advocaat affair might actually be one of the few football stories which unites the rival codes in …