Socceroos: performance versus results

Do we judge the Socceroos on performance or results? It's a philosophical question that can only be answered with proper perspective. Do you sacrifice results in order to play to a particular style and philosophy that will eventually get the runs on the board as the players and team develop and progress? Or is it a case of 'forget about how it looks as long as you win'!

It is a debate that in reality has no definitive conclusion because football, after all, is a game of opinions. It is certainly a big part of the bureaucracy of the coaching system in Australia.

The Socceroos are as much a part of this debate as any A-League club, NPL or suburban junior club run by volunteer mums and dads. It's part of the reason why Ange Postecoglou and not Holger Osieck led Australia in Brazil.

In fact our national team is synthesizing from a team playing for a result to one that will play with style to get a result. Postecoglou has made no secret of that fact and he's patient and perceptive enough to know that it won't happen overnight.

So how did we fare in the World Cup? No points – three goals for, nine against. On paper it doesn't sound so good but the stats belie reality. If that happened here in Brazil - where I'm writing this - there would be riots around the country.

Scolari would be pilloried and the players would be in hiding. Fortunately life is not like that in the Land of Oz and this is where we need proper perspective. I've had quite a few chats with some supporters and they were disappointed we didn't get a result against Spain. Just to qualify that, there were many more that were proud of the performance. And although disappointed, they understand that despite their demise as world champions, Spain are still a superb football team and it would have been a miracle if we had beaten them.

In perspective then, despite the stats we should consider that we have had a great World Cup.

We are ranked 60+ in the FIFA rankings with Spain first, Chile and Holland 14 and 15 respectively - so it was always going to be a monumental task to even get a point. Spain showed us that realistically we have a long way to go and I don't say that to be critical.

Our game has improved out of sight otherwise we could not have performed as we did against Chile and Holland. Even the first 15 minutes against Spain were good but we couldn't break them down and didn't look like we could.

We lacked penetration and we are not the kind of team that can play around the box. But we needed to create scoring opportunities other than balls into the area looking for Tim Cahill...unlike Spain who played their way in and scored three (and could have had more).

But then we don't have an Iniesta, a Koke or Villa and Alonso and neither do too many other countries - not to mention Spain’s substitutes Fabregas and Mata.

Postecoglou has revamped, rejuvenated, it what you want the team and the signs are good. The camp and the campaign put players under pressure; to train, to perform at their peak, day after day. This is what we need.

The teams we played against have players that are battle hardened; they play up to 70 games a season and you've got to be tough, mentally and physically to survive those kinds of demands. Where else could any of the younger, newer players have experienced that before and that is the benefit.

The outcome of this was not about the results, it was always about the long term.