Docceroos - The Australian Medical Football Team
Docceroos 1 – Ireland 3
The Docceroos have again felt the bitter taste of defeat, going down 3-1 to Ireland.
The game started at high intensity. There were chances at both ends, but I would say that Australia actually had the better of the opening exchanges. Young Con had a few strikes on goal, along with James (Seamus) and John threatening from distance on two occasions.
The game changed significantly after around 15 minutes when Ireland swapped their entire front four to introduce a lot of pace in attack. This immediately caused big problems for Australia. The first goal was scored off a pinpoint cross from the left following a fast break, and they added a second not long afterwards with a ball over the top.
The game would fairly have been considered in the balance at half time but it was killed off as a contest early in the second half when the Irish added a third. To their credit, however, the Docceroos kept working and created a few chances. In the 63rd minute, Brendan D found Con out wide on the right, who was able to whip a ball in towards the penalty spot. His fellow Irishman James was on hand to divert it in at the near post.
Despite continuing to work hard in attack, Australia couldn’t create any more openings and the match finished 3-1. We now have games against USA and South Korea to try and salvage some pride.
It’s safe to say that the lads are fired up and will not be going down against the USA today wondering what might have been. Talismanic full back Oisin has vowed to score, stating that “you lads know that I used to be a striker?”
Kickoff at 3pm local time.
The tournament went from bad to worse when news filtered through this morning that Australia is leading the Fair Play rankings with just two yellow cards in four games, and a pathetic zero reds. Well done to Kev and Brendan D for their efforts, however the rest of the team needs to pick up some slack. Current leaders are Team USA with three (3) red cards and four yellows.
Semi finals today in the top half of the draw see the Czechs playing Hungary after both sides got through in tight results earlier. The other interesting match is Sweden vs Ukraine – Sweden will go in as favourites with their central midfielder Olof Guterstam, who has been capped twice for the full national team. Although he is now 34, Guterstam is still sitting at the top of the scoring charts with five goals to date.
Docceroos 1 – Russia 2
The Docceroos have qualified for the prestigious 17th to 20th place playoffs with a third straight loss in Leogang. Despite going down 2-1 to Russia, it was probably the best performance so far this week, and Australia will feel unfortunate to not pick up a point after leading early.
We may not have been in contention for the top eight going into the game, but morale was still high and the lads were determined to treat the game like any other. It would be a tough outing given the opponents had only played one game previously, which had been cut short at 60 minutes. Compared to Australia who were coming off two hard-fought losses over the past two days.
The first chance fell to adopted Aussie Con, who hails from Cork, which is said by some to be the most beautiful place in the world. His shot flashed across the face in the third minute.
Twenty minutes later, Andrew P put in a sweet ball from the right byline which fell kindly to Brendan D at the far post. His volley was smashed into the roof of the net to give Australia the lead.
Russia had a few chances to equalize in the first half, and indeed the goal came right in the shadows of half time. Most of their attacking play was going through one fast striker, who was able to turn on the edge of the box and draw contact from the defender. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, judging that the contact came just inside the area. The penalty was slotted home to Terry’s right.
The second half was slightly more open as the Docceroos pushed forward in search of the goal that would take them through to the 9th place playoffs, however were unable to produce many chances of note. Russia were looking more threatening and forced several fantastic saves from Terry. The goal came up the other end as a turnover in central midfield gave one Russian player time to shoot from 20 yards. His pinpoint strike went in off the post, with Terry having no chance this time.
Australia threw everything at them in the last 10 minutes but couldn’t make anything stick. The final score of 2-1 was a frustrating outcome as we would have liked to get at least a point out of the group stages. In truth, Russia were simply better on the day and go into a game with England this morning hoping to pick up the win that would give them top spot.
For the Docceroos, it’s on to games against Ireland, USA and South Korea. Australia will fancy their chances of knocking off some of these teams and will still be playing hard for that coveted 17th place.
Australia vs Ireland 5pm Thursday
Australia vs USA 3pm Friday
Australia vs South Korea 11am Saturday
Docceroos 1 – Argentina 2 – Thunderstorm 3
The Docceroos have started their 2017 WMFC campaign with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Argentina. Despite taking an early lead, the Australians failed to capitalise and were left ruing missed opportunities, and the erratic Austrian weather. However, there were plenty of good signs throughout the game, and the boys in green and gold remain optimistic about their chances of progression.
Sunday dawned bright and warm. Perfect conditions for football, one excited player was heard remarking to the perky receptionist at Hotel Leonhard. A light smattering of weather on the radar, but nothing to worry about, right?
WRONG. But we’ll have more on that later.
The first team meeting of the tournament was full of nervous energy. Coach Ian said “I won’t be trying to fire you up today, there’s just no need.” It was still a good chance to go through our tactical foci for today and the tournament (if any poms are reading this, we favour slow build-up play, we use a 3-3-1-2 formation, and Brendan D never shoots from distance so don’t bother closing him down).
With the mercury at 29 degrees for kickoff, Andrew P had his customary three layers of sunblock applied. As the teams lined up at Saalfelden Stadium you could’ve been forgiven for thinking you were in the Maracana. Boos and jeers from the throngs of Australian supporters drowned out the toneless mumbling of whatever passes for a national anthem in Argentina. However there was barely a dry eye in the house after a rousing rendition of Advance Australia Fair.
A nervy start from both teams. The Argentineans, most of whom had a centre of gravity somewhere below their knees, enjoyed keeping the ball and working their way through tight spaces with some cute combinations. The Australians were playing much more direct, but struggling at times to provide quality service to Brendan M and James (“that’s Seamus to his friends”) up front. The South Americans weren’t without their own problems in attack – the youthful linesman on the far side was called into action at least five times before half time for some (correct) offsides.
The linesman receives a traditional Australian greeting pre-game
“This game needs a goal,” said one interested local. And indeed the goal arrived in the 23rd minute, when a nicely weighted ball in from the right by James (Seamus) couldn’t be cleared by the Argentinean defence. The rebound fell kindly for Arash, who slotted home to make the score 1-0. The stadium erupted, causing an avalanche alarm to sound on the north face of nearby Hochkönig. A nice finish by the Aussie number 20, but he’ll be disappointed with the celebration. No knee slide, no cartwheel, no corner flag boxing. I hope you have a chance to redeem yourself tomorrow, Arash.
The next ten minutes was some of the best Australian football of the game. We played with style and confidence. But it wasn’t to last. An Argentinean ball in from the right that can only be described as ‘speculative’ was fortunate to make it through to their striker, who put a tidy finish into the far corner to even the scores back up at 1-1. More to the point, a nicely-executed Robbie Keane style fist-pump towards the corner was a good way to cap off the goal.
1-1 at half time, then, and plenty to play for. Unfortunately the weather was starting to deteriorate. “Ah yes, those Austrian micro-climates up to their old tricks,” proclaimed Chris V knowingly, clasping his hands behind his back and gazing into the distance. Wise words indeed.
The better chances in the second half probably fell to the South Americans. A one on one thudded against the upright, although Terry was heard to claim “I had it covered anyway” as he brushed grass off his face. The Docceroos’ best chance was a strong penalty shout by Brendan M, who cut in from the left before being clearly obstructed, in this humble reporter’s opinion, by his opposite number (a man of dubious character). But it was waved away by the referee.
The referee had no such qualms about awarding spot-kicks up the other end. An Argentinean ball in from the right was collected by their winger, who dribbled towards goal and made the most of a very small amount of contact from the Australian defender. Despite Hamburg G20-style protests from the Docceroos, with Chris threatening to torch his rental BMW (“Zero excess means zero excess lads!”), the penalty was placed into the bottom left corner to put the South Americans in front for the first time.
Australia pressed for an equaliser, but the conditions were rapidly worsening. I’m talking 90 degree rain, lightning, and hailstones the size of extremely small golf balls. The referee was having none of it and called an impromptu three quarter time break while we waited for the weather to clear. With ten minutes to go and one goal down, this was quite a nice ‘time out’ for us.
The hills are alive… with the sound of thunder
Play was eventually resumed, however it resembled 22 pigs rolling around in deep mud more than anything else. A few half-chances were created by Australia but nothing was able to be converted. Another good penalty shout by Brendan M. was ignored. There are unconfirmed reports that our referee has extensive Argentinean heritage on his mother’s side, however as I said, this is merely hearsay.
1-2 the final score. A disappointing result to be sure but there is certainly a way back for Australia from here. Wins against Great Britain this afternoon and Russia tomorrow morning would make the group table very interesting. A reminder that the five group winners plus best three second-placed teams progress.
I caught up with captain Brendan after the game to ask his thoughts for the report, however he only responded by yelling “AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE”. We’ll work on a quote for next game.
Stay tuned for more updates! And you can catch a full replay of the game on YouTube here.
Docceroos 0 – Great Britain 3
Another disappointing result here in Leogang has seen the Docceroos fall to a strong Great Britain side. Although Australia’s performance today improved a lot on their showing against Argentina, it wasn’t quite enough. Getting out of the group is now nigh on impossible, but the focus turns to getting the best results we can from the remaining four games.
Pre-game morale was high in the camp despite the difficult start against Argentina yesterday. The lads knew that GBR would provide a stern test, especially since they would be coming in fresh after their game against Russia was called off last night. Coach Ian rang the changes, starting with a slightly more aggressive lineup in hopes of creating a few more chances this game.
Good news did come this morning, with Michael D’s knee injury being diagnosed and treated over breakfast. His meniscal tear was successfully reduced by our contingent of orthopods. A return to football later in the week may be on the cards.
A spot of rain before kickoff made the surface nice and zippy. But the weather held off during play and we even saw a bit of sun.
It was a tight first half. A typically physical contest between these two sides, with some strong tackles flying in. A few shots from both teams, including a dipping strike from distance by Chris. However no clear cut opportunities for either side meant the score remained 0-0 at half time.
Unfortunately for the Docceroos, GBR came out firing after half time and created a plethora of chances. They seemed to find a lot more space in attack, while keeping it quite tight up the other end. Two goals went in in the space of ten minutes, and a third was added late on. I will not deign to describe any of their scrappy, ugly, anti-football goals however interested observers can watch the match replay on YouTube.
What’s next for the Docceroos? Well, Russia tomorrow morning will pose a strong threat, and I think a lot of Australians feel like we have a point to prove here in Leogang. The new target is to take away four wins from our next four games.
Five wins from five if you count the tournament party tomorrow night as a game – which I most certainly do.
Welcome to Leogang!
Hallo und wilkommen zu Leogang!
Or, as they say over here – “Hello – good try, but shall we speak English instead?”
On this page I’ll post news, match reports, videos and more from the World Medical Football Championships 2017. You can also stay up to date by following our facebook page at www.facebook.com/docceroos.
The team have now all arrived in Leogang, and we’re gearing up for another successful tournament. Reaching the semi-finals last year, including a famous win over Colombia, will be a hard act to follow. But the boys have been training hard over the past six months and one way or another we’ll leave everything out on the pitch.
With 25 players, plus many, many support staff and fans, travelling halfway across the world, there were bound to be a few mishaps. A few of the team were delayed coming out of Melbourne and ended up with an eight hour stopover in Dubai. Livewire winger Con claims he took the chance to do some extra sightseeing, but other reports suggest Con just stayed in the airport bar reading the wikipedia page for the UAE.
There have also been some malicious rumours doing the rounds that two young players missed their Friday morning trains from Munich after an eventful night out in Munich. This is completely false, and is a story being spread by the USA team in an effort to disrupt our team harmony. We must stay strong and ignore it.
The town itself is an idyllic part of the Austrian Alps, and credit must go to the organisers. We have been settling into Das Hotel Leonhard (that translates to ‘The Hotel Leonhard’, if you were wondering). Our pitch for the tournament is nothing short of picturesque. It is also nearly completely free of cow pats.
A short acclimatisation training session was completed yesterday. Ian took the opportunity to take us through a light run, however nothing too stressful as a packed schedule of football makes recovery and physical conditioning vital. This is made even harder by the fact that we’re playing at high altitude here in Leogang. The team has been relying heavily on the expertise of midfielder Paul, who comes from Wagga Wagga (147m above sea level) and is rumoured to have an RBC in the 200s.
The Docceroos were fortunate to be seeded this year, which helped us avoid many of the toughest teams. There are still plenty of challenges posed by a group containing Argentina, Great Britain and Russia.
The Argentinians are something of an unknown quantity, as this is their first entry into the tournament. Their initial plan to give Sergio Aguero an honourary medical degree and bring him to Leogang backfired after the Manchester City striker declared he plans to train as a physician. He was therefore excluded from the team, as is tradition (the Docceroos are proud to announce we are physician-free in 2017).
The team from England, Wales and Scotland have a lot in common with their professional counterpart – both sides are still dining out on their only cup triumph, many years ago. The Brits will be disappointed with their showing in 2016, which can only bode well for their chances this year. Beware the wounded lion, or wounded three lions in this case.
The Irish contingent in the Docceroos looked on interestedly as Great Britain was drawn out of the hat (we have five players born in Ireland in the squad). Full-back Oisin, who hails from the county of Meath, as he proudly declares only two to three times per day to anyone that will listen, said that it was a boyhood dream to come up against the old enemy. He was later overheard asking whether we could wear the emerald green training jersey for this game ‘just for a laugh lads’.
“We are taking this tournament very seriously,” said Russian captain Vasilly Urichenko last night. “New team rule – no unmixed vodka once we are starting the warm up.” Urichenko was unanimously elected to the captaincy for 19th year running, after his main rival mysteriously disappeared the night before the vote.
As I’m writing, there’s four hours until kick off. We are of course attending the sports medicine conference as a team today and engaging in some lively scientific debate. This tournament is a place for football, but truly, it also a place for learning. Hello to our friends at the ATO if you are reading this.
Check back later for a full report from our first game. Until then, you can leave messages of support on our Facebook page, which are always appreciated. I have the self esteem of a teenage girl browsing Instagram so could use your help.
2017 Tournament in Leogang
Team Captains: Andrew Phillips and Brendan Daugherty.
Australia – 1 Vs. Argentina – 2
Australia – 0 Vs. Great Britain – 3
Australia – 1 Vs. Russia – 2
Australia – 1 Vs. Ireland – 3
Australia – – Vs. Korea – Game washed out
Australia – 3 Vs. USA – 0