They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but just don't tell that to Graham Arnold.
Twelve years after the Socceroos were knocked out of the Asian Cup at the quarter-final stage, in his first stint as national team boss, Australia suffered the same fate in the UAE with Arnold again at the helm.
Apart from the exit at the same point, the Socceroos’ side of 2007 has little in common with that of 2019. Back then it was the team of the ‘Golden Generation’, filled with European-based stars fresh off their 2006 World Cup success in Germany. Some of the greatest-ever to wear the green and gold.
But they were inexperienced about the challenges of Asian football and ultimately departed the tournament early.
The 2019 edition is a different animal. While this team boasts some seasoned veterans – Mark Milligan, Mat Ryan, Robbie Kruse, Trent Sainsbury, Matt Leckie etc – there was also a large amount of rookies learning the ropes. It is an outfit in transition.
However, this side cannot claim not to be ignorant about the perils and obstacles of Asia. Australia has been playing in the AFC for more than a decade.
The Socceroos entered the 2019 tournament as defending champions. It was always going to be hard going to defend and retain the title. That job was made even harder with injuries to Aaron Mooy, Daniel Arzani, Mat Leckie and Martin Boyle before the tournament started, and then to Andrew Nabbout and Josh Risdon once it began.
But injuries are part and parcel of professional sport. You cannot moan about what you don’t have, you have to move on and work with what you do.
And it was clear that Arnold struggled to do just that.
After the defeat to the UAE he told the media: "We came here to the Middle East and we've performed very well…. I'll be honest - I think that we've done very, very well this tournament."
Umm, sorry? What? Arnold seems to have a different idea to what performing “very, very well” is compared to most.
Most would say going out at the quarter-final stage, losing to Jordan and the UAE, and labouring to beat both Syria and Uzbekistan would not constitute success. Most would say scoring only six goals in five games, failing to score in three of those matches, was not a success.
I get that Arnold has to be a positive spin on things, has to remain somewhat optimistic. But you can’t put lipstick on a pig. #SokkahTwitter has an excellent bullshit detector.