Australia's Milos Degenek dejected for 'mistake' in Asian Cup loss
A heartbroken Milos Degenek had only one way to describe the dreadful error that ended Australia's Asian Cup campaign.
"Pretty s---," the 24-year-old said. "S--- to be in my shoes and my skin."
The central defender's mistake midway through the second half of Friday's quarterfinal allowed the United Arab Emirates to score the only goal of the match in a 1-0 defeat for Australia.
Degenek attempted a backpass to goalkeeper Mat Ryan but could only look on in horror as UAE striker Ali Mabkhout pounced on the ball, rounded Ryan and slotted into an empty net.
"I don't feel sorry so much for myself as I do for my country and my teammates, because obviously we ended a tournament because of my mistake," Degenek said. "I've got to deal with it. I've had situations like this before -- you learn, you grow up, you move on. I'm 24, 25 years of age, I'm a man, I can accept the fact that I did the mistake but that's football. I'll have many more in my life I think."
While Degenek was understandably upset, his teammates were fully behind the defender.
"We've not gone out of the tournament because of one mistake," midfielder Jackson Irvine said. "We've conceded one goal over 120 [minutes] and then a 90-minute game and not scored one."
Coach Graham Arnold lauded Degenek's tournament overall and said the mistake wouldn't be the defining moment of his Socceroos career.
"He's stepped up this tournament and done fantastically well," Arnold said. "Obviously he's hurting at the moment but I'll make sure that he's okay. He's a fantastic kid, fantastic professional and he's got a long future with the Australian national team."
After the game, news broke that the sister of Australia forward Awer Mabil has been killed in a car crash in South Australia while her brother was with the national side.
Bor Mabil, 19, was a passenger in the car that crashed in an Adelaide suburb early on Saturday, local media reported.
Mabil appeared as a substitute in the 1-0 loss to Qatar but local media reported he was unaware of his sister's death at the time.
Football Federation Australia extended its condolences on Saturday.
"FFA extends its deepest sympathies to Awer, the Mabil family, and Bor's friends, at this difficult time," the statement said. "FFA is providing support to Awer, his team mates, and Socceroos staff in the United Arab Emirates."
The 23-year-old forward, a South Sudanese refugee born in Kenya who resettled in Australia with his mother and siblings aged 10, earned his first cap under Graham Arnold last year.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.