We knew the Germans were going to be powerful, despite injuries. Unfortunately for the Australians, they were the first to prove that theory.
Germany scored in the 8th minute and went on to a 4-0 route. It didn’t help when Australia’s most dangerous striker, Tim Cahill, was sent off with a straight red card in the 56th minute. Playing a man down, the Socceroos gave up two more goals.
That four-goal deficit makes reaching the knockout stages incredibly challenging. Most likely Australia will have to win its final games against Serbia and Ghana. It’s a tall order for a team that showed little promise.
Goal differential is so key in the World Cup finals tournament. It’s one of the reasons scoring is so low – every teams puts a premium on defense to limit that differential. Australia (or Germany in a sense) gives us a perfect example of trying to overcome a significant goal differential. Say Australia in its next match goes on to draw with Ghana 1-1, while Serbia loses to Germany. Then Australia beats Serbia 1-0, while Ghana, which won its opener against Serbia 1-0, loses to Germany 2-0. Ghana and Australia would each end up with one win, one loss and one draw. But Ghana, with a goal differential of minus-1 would advance ahead of Australia, which ended up with a differential of minus-3.
To make it even more challenging for Australia, going into the last game with Serbia, the Socceroos would be well aware of the goal differential. Therefore they would open up their offensive game in hopes of getting more scoring. The drawback there is that would open them up to more counterattacks, giving Serbia more scoring opportunities.
So allowing four goals in your opening game immediately puts you at a disadvantage. And for the Socceroos, playing in one of the so-called Groups of Death (though I’ve always seen this group as one power team, two competitive ones and Australia), losing to Germany in such poor fashion has already nearly ended any shot at advancing.
– Scott Kaniewski