Our system fails off the pitch, not on it

It's hard to make hard and fast rulings on an erratic match for the Olyroos, 90 minutes in which Australia ebbed and flowed through numerous personal and tactical approaches.

This lack of consistency is a stark contrast to what was occurring in the opposing dugout, dressing and boardroom. We can learn a lot from the losers tonight.

It's important to understand that Uzbekistan, despite facing enduring national challenges, have managed to become a model of consistency throughout the youth process.

They have maintained a familiar squad and tactical approach throughout the tournament, credit to the huge amount of experience (a la match fitness) these players garner in their increasingly high-quality domestic competition.

Every single one of their 23 man squad play domestically in the Uzbek Super League (a 14 team competition). All but five of them for top four clubs. 

Travelling back through the years, this squad is also a linear progression of the youth teams that have competed in Uzbekistan's AFC U16 to U19 tournaments in past iterations.

The success of the central Asian nation's transitional system is the single most important factor allowing Uzbekistan to develop so quickly.

More than the oil money that pours into clubs like Bunyodkor and Pakhator, or the technical quality of their own players, this is why Uzbekistan have progressed from group stage knockouts to the defending champions of this competition. 

It's why a team that have never beaten us at senior level could dominate large swathes of this match. Why they could produce superior individuals - like Azizjon Ganiev - in a restrictive organisational format. Why, having lost a goal and a man, they still appeared under control.

The lesson for Australian football - the charge upon fresh-blooded FFA CEO James Johnson, watching from the stands - extends far beyond the necessities of defensive organisation or the varying successes of one-touch football. 

The systemic inconsistencies resulting in Australian youth failing to progress through age groups into the senior national teams are one of our largest challenges moving forward.