Socceroos spray: ‘It’s time we give up’
DESPITE Australia's World Cup campaign coming to an end after finishing bottom of their group, fans haven't lost faith.
The three game campaign saw Australia walk away with only a solitary point as the only two goals scored came from the penalty spot.
Criticism of the Socceroos' performance came in thick and fast with Craig Foster delivering an extraordinary attack.
Bert van Marwijk even copped heavy criticism for his role in the disappointing showing in the group stages.
Neil Mitchell decided to join in the chorus of those taking shots at the Socceroos after their 2-0 loss to Peru.
"It's time we give up," Mitchell said on 3AW Mornings.
"Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk says this shouldn't be viewed as failure.
"Well then what the hell is it, and who are you kidding?
"Every four years we invest emotion and optimism in failure. It is expensive and continually disappointing.
"We say the Socceroos are brave but time and again they capitulate, so I think it is time to give up.
"It's time to cut our losses, concentrate on the domestic game and forget international soccer.
"Perhaps we should increase our focus on basketball instead. We do have international champions in that sport.
"Focus on the A-League and kids playing the game in this country."
And while some of the criticism from Mitchell may have been fair and just, that didn't stop people leaping to the sides defence and slamming the radio host for his stance.
"That would have to be the most un-Australian thing I've ever heard, so we get beaten and we just give up?" An agitated caller stated.
"You cannot give up on international soccer, the game is international."
Mitchell was quick to hit back with "culturally it's not our game", but that only angered the passionate fan.
"Well hang on, more people are playing football than any other sport in Victoria at the moment so how can it not be our game?" the caller bemoaned as he raised his voice.
"Get it into perspective, we can't just give up."
As the calls continued to roll in with the majority of them all gunning for Mitchell, one went after his allegiance to the Melbourne football club.
"When was the last time Melbourne won the Grand Final?" the caller quizzed to which Mitchell answered "1964".
"Does that mean you close down the club, you give up on the club? No."
The Socceroos latest dismissal from the World Cup wasn't what we'd hoped it would be, but as the old saying goes; the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
JURIC PLAGUED BY KNEE STRUGGLES
Tomi Juric showed glimpses early against Peru in the Socceroos' pivotal group game clash, but he faded out of the game before being subbed out for Tim Cahill.
The Socceroos continually struggled throughout the World Cup to find the back of the net and didn't score a single goal during open play.
It has now been brought to light that Juric, who was a substitute in the opening two games before starting against Peru, was dealing with a meniscus injury prior to the tournament.
"I was playing on one leg for a lot of the time. It settled over the last few weeks," he said.
"At the start it wasn't great.
"It definitely wasn't how I wanted to come in and go about the World Cup.
"(So I have) mixed emotions.
"I'm here and I'm part of something special (but) I feel like there was this little thing holding me back, to unleash, to do my best preparation and put my best foot forward.
"I couldn't change it. I had to go on with it."
The news is sure to cause some unrest among Socceroos fans who slammed the decision to leave out prominent striker Jamie Maclaren
Maclaren wasn't initially named in Bert van Marwijk's 23-man squad, but earned a last minute call-up to the team.
Unfortunately he failed to see the pitch during the Socceroos' three group game clashes and with news of Juric's injury coming out, the questions will be raised.
Maclaren's potency in front of goal could have proved the difference Australia required in their games against Denmark and Peru.