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Thursday, February 23, 2012
We must learn from Olympic flop: Neill

By Liam FitzGibbon

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill believes Australian football could be forced to take a long, hard look at itself following the Olyroos' failure to qualify for the London Games.

Australia will miss the Olympic tournament for the first time since 1984 after the Olyroos joined the Matildas on the qualification scrap heap on Thursday morning.

A 1-0 loss to United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi ended the Olyroos' hopes and was the fifth-straight game in which Aurelio Vidmar's side failed to score a goal.

Neill described the campaign as "extremely disappointing".

"If there's any positive to come out of it, it's knowing maybe we need to go back to the drawing board and have a look at where it went wrong and identify that and make sure it doesn't happen again," Neill said on Friday.

"No goals in five games and no wins is extremely disappointing and it's unusual for a young Australian team that usually pride themselves on being attacking and full of attacking moments.

"Maybe the biggest thing is we can't get complacent, no matter who we're playing and at what level.

"We've got to keep raising the bar because everyone in the world is always improving in football.

"... I think that's got to happen at 17s, 20s and 23s and at (senior level)."

Neill had the experience of becoming an Olympian at the Sydney 2000 Games and predicted the Olyroos' failure would hit home hardest when the London Games begin.

"The big picture is these guys are going to be sitting there now going, 'we're missing out on going to the Olympics'," Neill said.

"When the Olympics come on in July, we're not going to see Australia and it's really going to hit home and that's the bit we've all got to learn from.

"... These guys had a chance and they didn't take it and that will probably be a regret and blips on their CVs for the rest of their careers."

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