Thursday, November 14, 2013

Not Herbert's fault

As a contrarian, I feel it is my duty to stand up for Ricki Herbert after the so-called "mauling" the All Whites got today. 

Let's start off with this: In 1982 we went to the World Cup in Spain and lost 2-5 to Scotland; 0-3 to Russia; and 0-4 to Brazil.  That's an average of conceding 4 goals per game.  The score today against Mexico was 1-5, a gap of four goals.

Sure, there were moments where you could have legitimately believed the Spics were going to put 10 past us, but they didn't.  And 3 or 4 goals were terrible defensive lapses, which if they hadn't have happened could have produced a gap of just a couple of goals.

Have we gone backwards since 2010?

Playing Mexico at Azteca at altitude is a far cry from playing a range of teams at neutral grounds in South Africa.  In 2010, we had Ryan Nelsen, and some real cohesion in the team line up.  Today, we were minus both him, and Winston Reid.  If you think I'm wrong, try taking a corner while at the same deflecting plastic cups of urine being thrown at you from a sector of the 110,000 strong crowd, all of whom are baying for blood.

So all in all, I don't think we've gone backwards since 2010.  We've actually gone sideways since 1982. 

And that's not Ricki Herbert's fault.


Keeping Stock said...

The loss of Reid was a blow as we lacked a defensive general. But I DO blame Herbert for letting his side go out and let Mexico come at them again and again in the first half hour. That is when the match was lost.

I'm going to Wellington next Wednesday, and I hope to see a very different side both in personnel and style. It's not Herbert's style, but he has no choice now; the All Whites have to throw everything at Mexico, and hope they crack. It's still the longest of long shots, but I remember watching the 1981 match in Riyadh where a miracle happened. And being an Arsenal supporter, I have to believe in miracles!

Psycho Milt said...

We weren't ever going to be anything like an even match for Mexico, the only question was how big a hiding we were going to get.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of miracles, Ricki Herbert should have given the whole team DVDs of the 2005 Champion's League final (Liverpool vs AC Milan) and had them watch it on the plane from LA.

In that game, Liverpool were totally outplayed for 112 of the 120 minutes (it went to extra time) and yet in the eight minutes they actually played football managed to score three goals, tie the game, and then cling on for penalties. Basically, being 3-0 down, they threw caution to the wind and played some great footy. Then AC Milan woke up and the pendulum swing back.

While there are no Steven Gerrards or Dietmar Hamanns in the NZ team, the point stands that just going for it sometimes works. Ricki Herbert should forget his usual conservative approach and just let the players go for it. Doesn't matter if we ship another four, at least we'd have tried.