Australia sacks coach Osieck after French rout
Australia coach Holger Osieck was sacked Saturday just eight months away from the World Cup after the Socceroos were thrashed 6-0 by France in an international friendly.
Despite guiding them to next year's flagship tournament in Brazil, the veteran German's position was on the line ahead of Friday's match in Paris after the team was hit for six by Brazil a month ago.
But the latest embarrassing result proved the tipping point and the 65-year-old, who replaced Dutchman Pim Verbeek as national coach in August 2010, has now paid the price.
Football Federation Australia said the decision was taken after an internal review of the World Cup qualification campaign and subsequent international matches, including the 6-0 defeat to Brazil on September 6 and the latest hammering by Les Bleus.
FFA chairman Frank Lowy said the long-term interests of Australian football were paramount in making the change.
"The decision is based on the longer term issues of the rejuvenation of the Socceroos team and the preparations for the World Cup and the Asian Cup," Lowy said.
"FFA has set a strategic objective of having a highly competitive team in Brazil and then handing over a team capable of winning the Asian Cup on home soil in January 2015.
"We have come to the conclusion that change is necessary to meet those objectives. I thank Holger for his contribution to Australian football and wish him well in his future endeavours."
FFA chief executive David Gallop said that current Socceroo assistant coach Aurelio Vidmar would be in charge as caretaker for their next match against Canada in London on Tuesday.
Australia's successive 6-0 defeat drew an angry reaction in Australia after the full-time whistle, with calls for Osieck to go and the Sydney Morning Herald deeming it "the most embarrassing pair of results in Socceroos' history".
In his 44 matches in charge, Osieck had 23 wins, 10 draws and 11 defeats with former coach Guus Hiddink, who led the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup, seen as a candidate to replace him.
Reports said three A-League coaches: Melbourne Victory's Ange Postecoglou, Western Sydney's Tony Popovic and Central Coast's Graham Arnold could also be in the running.
Aging Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill, himself under scrutiny with calls growing for him to retire, tweeted: "Australia should be proud and thankful. Asian Cup final and WCQ. Thanks and all the best boss!!"
Key player Tim Cahill added: "Want 2 say thank you to Holger for getting us to our 3rd World Cup. Is this a first, get us to WC and get the sack. Sad day for football in Oz."
Osieck admitted his team were not in the same league as their French hosts, who put on a dazzling display, inspired by Franck Ribery.
"Our game plan was to put more pressure on the French team but they moved the ball so well and spread the game that it really became difficult for us," he said.
"OK, we lost by a big margin but you also have to consider the quality of the French team."
He also claimed their preparation had been disrupted by injuries.
Asked by Fox Sports after Friday's defeat whether he was concerned for his future, Osieck replied: "That's not my call. I know two heavy losses to that extent always gives some food for discussion.
"I'm pretty much aware, I've been around for many years so I know what can come up, so merits of the past are forgotten that's for sure."
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