Berlin – Mathew Leckie and the Socceroos had banked on more. The World Cup in Russia is however over for Australia after the group stages. A few days after being eliminated, Hertha spoke to the 27-year-old about the missed chance, the development of Australian football, his summer plans and the 2018/19 season with Hertha.
herthabsc.de: Lecks it’s been a few days since you went out of the World Cup. Can you put in to words how you’re feeling right now?
Leckie: I am disappointed, that’s for sure. We went there with the aim of reaching the knockouts and we did not do that. But I am still very much of the opinion that that was very much possible. We ended up finishing fourth, but we left something out there.
herthabsc.de: How would you answer the question of why you guys are already making the trip home?
Leckie: We did not get what we deserved from our first two games based on how we played. We played very well against France and deserved a point until we conceded an unfortunate last minute goal. We came from behind against Denmark and a better result than 1-1 was certainly possible. We have to be self critical. A goal or two was missing come the end, even though we gave everything.
herthabsc.de: Despite everything you had a chance to get out of group..
Leckie: … but against Peru we did not show what we could do and what we had planned. We created chances but pass too many opportunitis up – the opposite of what they did. You cannot get away with playing like that at a World Cup.
herthabsc.de: Five World Cups now have seen the Socceroos eliminated in the group stages four times. The last time you reached the last 16 was in 2006. How do you see the development of football down under.
Leckie: Football is not the most popular sport in Australia, that would be Rugby or Cricket. But you can tell that excitement for the game in growing. A lot of people were very excited for this World Cup, and the support here in Russia was tremendous too. We have reached four straight World Cups now, and we can look upon that as a small football nation with a fair bit of pride. Everyone who participates at these events sees it as a big thing and a terrific experience. Obviously we hope to continue our development, so that we can start reaching these major tournament knockout rounds more regularly.
herthabsc.de: Your teammates at Hertha returned to training on Thursday, but you now have a little bit of time off. What have you got planned?
Leckie: My family and I are off on holiday for three weeks. It was an intense season with Hertha and then again at the World Cup. Now I have to recharge the batteries for a bit and not think too much about football. But I know myself. After a few days I’ll be getting excited to see the boys at training again and get things going in Berlin once more.