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Ex-Socceroos Kick Our National Team While They're Down

"The Dutch experiment has failed."

Ex-Socceroos and pundits have ripped into the Australian Football Federation, calling for changes to the coaching styles and development of youth players.

Former Socceroo Craig Foster, who is now co-hosting SBS' World Cup coverage, led the scathing attacks after full-time, and said the way the team had been told to play was "un-Australian".

Image: Getty Images

“We threw out of a plan of four years and went with a completely different strategy and in the end, we should be looking at it and saying, ‘When we went at these teams, we showed what we could do it,’ but we didn’t do it enough,” Foster said.

“That wasn’t the Australian way, no. That was the qualities of Australians -- that’s true.

“We know these guys are capable of that, but that wasn’t what we’re capable of in terms of a football country. I can’t accept that.”
Image: SBS

Foster believes the team had failed to learn anything after their disastrous World Cup performance four years earlier in Brazil, where they failed to win a match.

He went on to say he had hoped France had beaten Denmark, so the blame would land solely on the  Australian's shoulders, and "we could feel more pain right now".

“Otherwise it is just another moment where everyone feels we almost got there. We dust ourselves off and learn very little, if anything.”

Robbie Slater, who played for the Socceroos between 1988 and 1997, added to the criticism during his post-match analysis on Fox Sport News, and also maintained that the development of players needs to be changed.

Slater believes the Dutch influence over Australian football -- which has seen five Dutch coaches in 13 years and many involved in development levels through Australia -- must now end.

Robbie Slater of the Socceroos celebrates after winning the World Cup Qualifying match between Australia and New Zealand held at Olympic Park June 6, 1993 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Getty Images

“It goes way back to when Guus Hiddink took over and qualified us for 2006 [World Cup]; which was a fantastic experience," he said.

"From that point on, we have trusted the Dutch. And I think now, after this World Cup, we can finally say that the Dutch experiment has failed."

Slater said the problem with the Dutch method started at youth levels, and compared the two countries recent international records -- both Australia and the Netherlands have not qualified for recent Olympic Games or Youth World Cup tournaments.

Guus Hiddunk was the first Dutch coach of Australia, starting a revolution. Image: Getty Image.

“They [the Dutch] have done so many things: They’ve banned training for young players after training, so you weren’t allowed to do extra training,” Slater said.

"Youngsters coming in are not allowed to score goals for the first two years of their development as five, six, seven-year-olds.”

He went on to say that for Australian football to grow, Australia must stop using foreign coaches and develop its own style of play.

"No foreign coach has ever won the World Cup," he said.

“We’re going to go back to an Aussie coach in Graham Arnold, and he’s got one massive, massive job ahead of him.”