Kewell was fortunate: O'Neill
Football Federation Australia CEO Mr John O’Neill believes that Qantas Socceroo striker Harry Kewell was rather fortunate to escape punishment, following his clash with Markus Merk after the full-time whistle against Brazil last Sunday.
Football Federation Australia CEO Mr John O-Neill believes that Qantas Socceroo striker Harry Kewell was rather fortunate to escape punishment, following his clash with Markus Merk after the full-time whistle against Brazil last Sunday.
Kewell faced a FIFA disciplinary hearing after he was reported by Merk, but early this morning (German time); they cleared Kewell, primarily, because the match officials- reports about the incident proved inconsistent.
"Harry didn-t cloak himself in glory and I think he is very lucky to have escaped a sanction," said O-Neill as the team trained outside at their base in Oehringen.
"We are absolutely thrilled that Harry-s off. We need him, because we have got to put on a first rate performance against a very good Croatian team."
While O-Neill said the incident was totally inappropriate, he had no doubts that Kewell was very contrite and wished to move on.
"The incident was entirely inappropriate, its not action or behaviour by a player that the FFA condones in any way. Its clearly against the code of conduct, it-s clearly against all the rules of behaviour on the paddock and Harry knows it."
"I have spent a bit of time with him and I have no doubt he is genuinely contrite, generally remorseful and was generally worried that he might not play another World Cup match."
Asked about whether a pattern was emerging, where the refereeing became an issue in both our matches, O-Neill admitted it was a concern for him and the FFA.
"It does worry me," he said. "We can-t tell FIFA how to do their business, but the more we (the team) complain, the more likely we-ll get a reputation for whinging and we are not whingers."
"We like to state the facts that the penalty count looked out of kilter and some of the marginal calls just didn-t go our way. But if you linger on it and raise the stakes, it can backfire on you, particularly, when we have a do or die match against Croatia; we have either got to win it or worse case draw and you don-t want to get bogged down."
"If it becomes a distraction for the players and or the coaching staff its unhelpful, so we shut it down and get on with the next match."
"Equally some of the complaints our opposing teams have been making pre-game are not in the spirit of the game either. That-s unnecessary and unfair as well. I think what people are finding, is this Australian team is a very good football team."
Given the events surrounding the two games and the continuing calls that Australia is an overly physical side, O-Neill has asked the players to overcome whatever emotions they might have and simply get on with the game.
"Cop it sweet is a good Australian approach," O-Neill said. "The match is over, move on, I mean we have got the staff to do all the analysis after the game and there are ways and means to get your message across without starting your own propaganda machine."