It was a night of acute pain for Australians - fans and players alike - as the Socceroos were outplayed and out classed by Germany. The shortcomings of our squad were exposed and amplified by a bewildering team selection by Verbeek, then the despair was completed with the harsh sending off of strongest outfield player Tim Cahill.
If Verbeek has been known for one thing it has been his blind devotion to players and formations. Thus it was a major surprise to see Richard Garcia given an attacking spot alongside Cahill, and for Bresciano and Kennedy to be dropped to the bench. Verbeek stated the latter two hadn't shown good from in the lead-up games, but then neither had Garcia. As it turned out Garcia had a great opportunity in the opening minutes to put Australia ahead, a half-chance that perhaps a Scott McDonald may have taken, but that chance was spurned.
One thing Verbeek can't be blamed for was the very poor performance of Lucas Neill at the back. His attempt to catch the German attackers offside ahead of their opening goal was poorly judged and naive. He gave Klose too much space for the German striker to make it no.2 later in the half, and Neill seemed more occupied with berating the officials than on lifting his team. Reflecting on Neill's pre-match extolling of the German's superiority, one wonders if he had the fight for the contest. Whatever his motivation, like several of the ageing Aussies his form is a fading shadow of 2006.
Brett Emerton provided a rare bright spot for Australia on his return from injury, but apart from Wilkshire and a good second half performance from Holman, the Socceroos were very poor. The options for Verbeek are limited. We simply don't have the depth in the squad to try a lot different to what we saw last night. Kewell and Bresciano will surely play some part going forward. Australia can still make the second round with wins in its remaining games, but the chances of success appear remote.