Have your say on the 'Socceroos mutiny'.
John Duerden has been described by BBC Radio as 'the voice of Asian football'. He's spent the past decade living in Asia, and now brings Wide World of Sports readers an inside view from the continent.
It all seems a bit pointless a year after the event, but then a bit of drama never did the ratings any harm.
In a week that has seen various Australian national teams in action at overseas tournaments and some interesting developments at certain A-league clubs, the news has come to be dominated by reports of a dressing-room mutiny at the 2010 World Cup.
In his new book, Les Murray describes a players' revolt before Australia's opening game against Germany, one that resulted in a 4-0 defeat that was ultimately responsible for the Socceroos heading home after the group stage.
"After the coach, Dutchman Pim Verbeek, had addressed the players, naming his line-up and the strategy, the team captain, Lucas Neill, asked the coach to leave the change room while he addressed his colleagues," Murray wrote.
"Verbeek consented. On closing the door behind the coach, Neill erased Verbeek's scribbles on the whiteboard and told the players to 'ignore this bulls---' and 'play like we normally play'.
"In the confusion there was so much delay that the point was reached when a FIFA match official knocked on the Australian change room and, pointing to his watch, warned the Australians that if they didn’t take to the field immediately they would have to forfeit the match," Murray continued.
Craig Moore, who played in the game and endured a torrid time alongside Neill in defence, told The Australian that the allegations were: "Completely and totally false… 100 per cent. There was no wiping of the whiteboard, no talk of ignoring tactics. It did not happen."
Moore also said that leaving the players alone just before the match was always the case. "It was usual practice. That's when Lucas and others would start to gee each other up, to get everyone going."
I have no idea which version is true and Neill has yet to comment. I was at the final group game against Serbia and the mood in the Aussie camp seemed pretty good, if not very friendly to journalists, especially those from Down Under.
This was something of a surprise. Compared to many countries, the Socceroos get a very easy ride from their national media. You can see that from the reaction to the performances in South Africa. The coach got the blame for the defeat while the players got the credit for the two subsequent performances.
But if it is true that Neill did such things then it certainly puts that dark night in Durban in new light. Calling the coach's tactics "bulls---" and then telling the players to play a different way just before such a huge game is not the action of a disciplined and professional captain.
The question is, whose tactics did the players follow? Was it Verbeek's or Neill's. Whatever happened, it was a heavy defeat.
It is not often that you can point to an example of the English national team as one to follow but at the 1990 World Cup, after an uninspiring 1-1 opening game draw with Ireland, England's senior players visited head coach Bobby Robson and told him they wanted to play with a sweeper. This they did and only a semi-final penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Germany prevented an appearance in the final.
Robson denied this happened but the point is, if it did, the players went about it in the right way and even then, some disagreed with how they acted.
It is fair to say that Verbeek's tactics and style of play were less than exciting. Still, they had taken the team through qualification impressively. Being new to Asia, perhaps the Aussie media didn't know or didn't care about just how tough it can be to travel all over the continent in search of results. That a place in South Africa was never really in doubt does not automatically equate to Asia being a piece of cake.
All the players had ample opportunity during those long flights around Asia to have a word with the boss but instead they talked about his man-management skills and how the best entertainment they could give fans was to qualify for the World Cup.
Surely, given Verbeek's conservative nature, the fact that he was not going to be adventurous against Germany can't have been too much of a surprise to anyone.
This alleged revolt is shocking, however Neill deserves the chance to respond to these reports. More importantly, the fans who travelled to South Africa in impressive numbers deserve to know what happened.
What do you believe happened in the Socceroos dressing room?
What did you think of Pim Verbeek's tactics during his tenure as coach?
Do you think players should confront the coach?
You need the latest version of Flash Player.
Enjoy the most vivid content on the web
Watch video without extra features
Interact with applications on your favourite sites
© 1997-2013 ninemsn Pty Ltd - All rights reserved