Australia’s naivete in their opening game against Germany doomed their World Cup campaign and made it an uphill challenge for the Socceroos for the rest of the tournament, skipper Lucas Neill said on Thursday.
Australia produced their best performance in South Africa with a pulsating 2-1 victory over the higher-ranked Serbia, but lost out on a place in the last 16 to Ghana on goal difference.
The Socceroos’ campaign got off to a disastrous start when they were routed 4-0 by the Germans and had influential midfielder Tim Cahill sent off and banned for a game.
Australia kept in mathematical contention for the knockout phase when they drew 1-1 with Ghana, again with 10 men after Harry Kewell was red-carded, setting up their fight to the finish against the 15th-ranked Europeans.
Neill said he regretted the result against Germany which forced the Australians into a desperate rearguard action to get back into last 16 contention.
“We are disappointed in ourselves for the way we started the tournament,” Neill said about the match.