Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Looking from time distance, Austarlia gives impression of not playing so bad in 1974. They were the only outsider collecting a point. Their results suggest the Aussies gave good fight. They lost their opening match 0-2 to DDR. They lost the second 0-3 to the mighty West Germans. Lastly, they managed a 0-0 tie against Chile. No so bad… but when looking at their results now. Back in 1974 they atracted no interest on the pitch. It was not so much spirited performance, but various problems of their opponents producing the plausible results. The East Germans were not so good to begin with. The Chileans had major problems because of the political situation in their country and underperformed. West Germany struggled tremendously during the round robin stage of the tournament. Unfortunately, no big credit can be given to darling Aussies.
They fought, but it was more West German frustration and sluggishness than Aussie spirit. Muller was no convincing, not that Australian defense was really playing above itself.
Darlings they were, but not in footbal terms.
Finishing last in their group, the Aussies went home. The World Cup made practically no impact on neither development of Australian football, nor on general public’s mind. At home the team was mild temporary amusement at best. The World Cup generated no interest to the sport, remaining confined among immigrant communities (after all, most of the players were born outside Australia – UK, Yugoslavia, Hungary). Even among the few practicing it there was no boosting enthusiasm – Australian football developed much later and hardly as a continuation of their inagural World Cup appearance. Over 30 years passed before Australia appeared at World Cup finals again. The players of 1974 returned to their normal existence of amateur footballers – only one became professional: the striker Adrian Alston went to play for Luton Town in 1974-75 season; then to Cardiff City; and finally to the green pastures of North American NASL.