Socceroos star Milos Degenek blasts FIFA for treating him and his teammates like ‘robots’ with awful scheduling of knockout clash with Argentina
Australian defender Milos Degenek has joined a queue of critics blasting FIFA for their cramped World Cup scheduling.
The Socceroos next meet Argentina in a round of 16 encounter on Saturday night (6am, AEDT Sunday), just two days after their last game.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has described the scheduling as ‘madness’ and Degenek agrees.
‘It’s something that FIFA need to consider, that we are not robots, we are humans,’ Degenek said.
‘And that we do need to recover and we can’t just play day after day.
Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has joined a queue of critics blasting FIFA for their cramped World Cup scheduling in Qatar
Argentina – and superstar Lionel Messi – await next for Australia on Sunday (6am, AEDT), with both nations backing up from matches on Thursday in the Middle East
‘We need a break as well.’
The short turnaround is compounded by the Doha heat, with temperatures at game-time rarely dipping below 30 degrees Celsius.
But the Socceroos actually have a slight edge in recovery – they played their last game, a 1-0 win against Denmark, four hours before Argentina downed Poland 2-0.
That gives Lionel Messi’s world No.3 ranked outfit no reward for finishing top of their group.
The Australians finished second in Group D behind France.
‘I think it’s absolute madness to play in nearly two days and a bit when we are top of the group, I can’t understand it,’ Scaloni said.
‘Those aren’t good conditions but it’s the same for everyone.
‘We were first in our group. We could have had more rest.’
The Socceroos are in the knockout phase of a World Cup for just the second time, following the achievement under Guus Hiddink in Germany back in 2006.
And Degenek said Australia were fully focused on recovery rather than training.
‘Not just me, especially the boys that played three in a row and they have the short turnaround now again,’ he said.
‘But they will recover. They will get back and they will be ready.’
Scaloni was also quick to start the mind games, bizarrely declaring Argentina won’t be favourites against the Socceroos.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni doesn’t believe his team should be favourites against the Socceroos
Australia have not conceded a goal in their last two matches versus Tunisia and Denmark – and Scaloni said his all-star side won’t underestimate Graham Arnold’s men.
‘All the games are hard, we saw that (personally) with Saudi Arabia,’ he said after his team’s final group game.
‘Anyone who thinks the match against Australia will be easy is wrong. We’re not favourites.
‘We have a long way before we become World Cup winners.’
Australia take on Argentina in their round of 16 clash from 6am on Sunday (AEDT).