Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan feels his side’s malfunctioning 3-4-3 system cannot be held entirely accountable for the 3-2 Confederations Cup defeat to Germany.
Ange Postecoglou’s experiments with the expansive approach, which allows plenty of options in attacking areas, left the Asian Cup holders vulnerable to a vibrant start from Germany, who took a fifth-minute lead through Lars Stindl after Julian Brandt tore down their left flank.
Tom Rogic equalised against the run of play but Julian Draxler and Leon Goretzka were on target either side of the interval, before Tomi Juric reduced the arrears to leave an improved Socceroos pushing for an unlikely point.
The eventual tightness of the scoreline was in part down to the efforts of Ryan, a recent signing for Premier League newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion, and he believes analysis of Australia’s defensive frailties should go beyond formations.
Asked whether he felt more secure behind a back four, Ryan said: “It’s a difficult question. It depends on the situation, obviously, but I’ve got full belief in our system and we’ve showed in games that we can play well with this system.
“Obviously we have full belief behind the coaching staff and their instructions. They’ve brought us this system because they believe it can work for us and I believe that also.
“If we stick to our fundamentals and our principles as a team we can avoid the goals [Germany scored].
“In the clutch moments we weren’t able to do so. We’ve got to learn from it again and move on.”
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) June 19, 2017
Australia’s encouraging showing after half-time echoed their efforts in the 2014 World Cup – competing with a leading nation only to end up on the losing side.
“I think it was down to us being a bit nervous, a bit anxious and forcing things – pushing passes instead of being a bit more calm and composed on the ball,” Ryan said of the substandard start that unfolded in front of him.
“Communication-wise we weren’t getting organised in defence and we didn’t get that sorted until well into the game. That’s not good enough at this level.”
Cameroon, who lost their own Group B opener against Chile, are up next and Ryan added: “It is frustrating knowing that we can do it but we don’t do it as consistently as we need to do at this level. Nothing will stop us from striving towards it.
“This is a big learning curve for a lot of the boys, in a big tournament again.”
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