Heartbroken Socceroo Gives Brutal Interview After Devastating Loss
A heartbroken Milos Degenek had only one way to describe the dreadful error that ended Australia's Asian Cup campaign.
"Pretty s**t," the 24-year-old said.
"S**t to be in my shoes and my skin."
The central defender's mistake midway through the second half of Friday's quarter-final allowed the UAE to score the only goal of the match in a 1-0 defeat for the Socceroos.
Degenek attempted a backpass to goalkeeper Mat Ryan but could only look on in horror as UAE striker Ali Mabkhout pounced on the ball, rounded Ryan and slotted into an empty net.
"I don't feel sorry so much for myself as I do for my country and my teammates, because obviously, we ended a tournament because of my mistake," Degenek said.
In a candid post-game interview Degenek spoke of letting not only his team down but also his country.
"I've got to deal with it. I've had situations like this before - you learn, you grow up, you move on. I'm 24, 25 years of age, I'm a man, I can accept the fact that I did the mistake but that's football. I'll have many more in my life I think."
While Degenek was understandably upset, his teammates were fully behind the defender.
"We've not gone out of the tournament because of one mistake," midfielder Jackson Irvine said.
"We've conceded one goal over 120 (minutes) and then a 90-minute game and not scored one."
Coach Graham Arnold lauded Degenek's tournament overall and said the mistake wouldn't be the defining moment of his Socceroos career.
"He's stepped up this tournament and done fantastically well," Arnold said.
"Obviously he's hurting at the moment but I'll make sure that he's okay.
"He's a fantastic kid, fantastic professional and he's got a long future with the Australian national team."