First things first: I will refer to this sport as “soccer” to prevent any confusion with the peculiar brand of football (a.k.a “footy”) played in Australia.
As most people with any interest in the sport already know, Australia ended its participation in the Confederations Cup with three losses, having conceded a total of 10 goals (and scoring 5). Of course, in a group including Argentina and Germany, no one seriously expected the Socceroos to advance to the next round; and, in any case, they did quite well against both Germany and Argentina (especially Germany). However, the loss against Tunisia was unexpected to me; I’m less than optimistic about Australia’s chances of qualifying to the 2006 World Cup.
Of course, the other green-and-gold team (Brazil) didn’t do so well either: they lost to Mexico (hardly the end of the world, but unexpected) and tied Japan (a little more worrying), and will now face Germany in the semifinal.
In somewhat better news, the qualifying tournament for the Club World Championship (to be played in Tokyo next December) was won by Sydney FC, as predicted, and they will represent Oceania against the champions coming from the other five continents. I wouldn’t serioulsy expect Sydney to win the tournament, but it would be great if they would at least advance to the second round, where they would play against the champion of either Europe (Liverpool) or South America (still not decided).
There is talk of Australia leaving Oceania for Asia when trying to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. I’m not sure if that would also change how clubs would qualify for future Club World Championships, but I think it would be a very good move for the Socceroos: Asia qualifies for teams for the World Cup (while Oceania may not qualify any teams), and playing better teams (as compared to most of the Oceania teams) will help the Australian team to improve.