Australia coach Holger Osieck says his side performed well short of their potential against "inferior" opponents in today's shock 1-0 defeat by Oman in Asian Zone qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Amad Al Hosni scored the game's only goal on 17 minutes, ending a run of 400 minutes without a goal for the hosts, even though Australia dominated possession for most of the contest in Muscat.
The Socceroos had a Brett Holman goal disallowed, and constantly tested Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi throughout the second half. Luke Wilkshire also had a penalty claim turned down.
Paul Le Guen’s side were resolute thoughout, however, and learnt from their 3-0 loss in Sydney to put an end to Australia's 100 per cent record in qualifying.
Osieck said: “We definitely didn't play the way we normally play. We lost a game which we normally shouldn't lose against an opponent who is definitely inferior to us. We made a couple of mistakes, in particular in the first half, where we didn't perform to our potential. And that's the outcome, we lost the game.”
As for the Socceroos' domination of possession, Osieck said that meant little: “Possession is always for statistics. People who know football they juggle with numbers, but possession is not the ultimate wisdom in football."
However, the German tactician was confident his side would rebound against Thailand in Bangkok in four days’ time.
“We knew it would be a tough road trip anyway but why should we drop our hats?” continued Osieck. “We are confident, we know what we can do, we know our quality, and we have to move on.”
Oman's first win leaves them at the bottom of the group, but they are now level on points with Thailand, who have a superior goal difference. Australia will have a second chance to qualify from the group on Tuesday.