THE Socceroos' campaign has come to a disappointing end after a lose to Peru early this morning.

But even going into the final group game, Australia needed results to go its way to have any hope of progressing to the final 16.

And while it's easy to blame a potential offside in Peru's first goal for the exit, there were other key moments across the three games.

There's nobody else to blame.

Across three games the Socceroos were simply too fragile at the back and too blunt up top - the same problems that plagued the Socceroos during former coach Ange Postecoglou's turbulent World Cup qualification progress.

Coach Bert van Marwijk may have smoothed Australia's sailing with a more pragmatic game plan, but in the end the moments that brought the Socceroos undone were all too familiar.

"We have got a lot of compliments, but with compliments you don't win games," van Marwijk said.

"I think in all three of the games, we gave a good performance. This team has really improved from the day I started working with them, and we became better and better and only at the World Cup you could see that for this team, it's difficult to make the difference in goals at this level."

CONCEDING FIRST, AGAIN

Mark Milligan’s international career is over.
Mark Milligan’s international career is over.

WHEN it comes to the World Cup, Australia has made a habit of conceding early.

In 2010, Australia was down 2-0 inside 30 minutes against Germany. It was 2-0 again four years later against Chile after 25 minutes.

When the Socceroos have scored first they've got a result, with a win and a draw against Serbia and Ghana respectively in 2010.

But in the crucial second group game against Denmark, Australia again conceded early with Tottenham star Christian Eriksen scoring in the seventh minute.

In a game that in hindsight was a must win it meant the Socceroos were again chasing a game.

THE VAR PENALTY

WHETHER the penalty Australia conceded early in the second half against France was the right call or not is still being debated more than a week later.

But it was a crucial moment in the Socceroos' campaign. After weathering the storm in the first 20 minutes of the first half, it was important Australia did the same in the second half.

But an inch perfect pass by Paul Pogba split the Socceroos' defence and led to the desperate tackle from Josh Risdon on Antoine Greizman.

The Socceroos equalised minutes later, but conceding first hurt the underdogs.

COULD HAVE CAHILL SCORED?

 

AFTER levelling the scores against Denmark through a Mile Jedinak penalty, the Socceroos searched for a winner.

The introduction of young gun Daniel Arzani provided Australia with some spark, but again the final piece was missing.

In the 80th minute against Denmark, Arzani made a mazy run and got the ball on the byline but his cross evaded any Australian attackers.

The debate since then has centred around whether Tim Cahill - who finally got on the field against Peru - could have got a winning goal against Denmark.

As it turned out even a win against Peru wouldn't have been enough, which begs the question - should the Socceroos have gone all out for the three points against Denmark?

A RARE MISTAKE FROM SAINSBURY

IN the final group game against Peru, Australia started the better team and looked on top.

But then in the 18th minute a long ball under no pressure to Peru captain Guerrero is not cut out by Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury.

Sainsbury has been a star performer during the World Cup and managed to get a touch on the ball, but it wasn't enough.

Moments later Peru was one-nil up.

Questions were raised about Guerrero being offside, and SBS football analyst Craig Foster rightly said Peru was able to make the hopeful long ball under no pressure.

But it was also a rare error from Sainsbury.

The goal undid all of Australia's good work and meant for a third time the Socceroos had to chase a game.

For a team that hadn't scored an open play goal since a Cahill double against Syria last year, chasing goals was not what was needed.


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