Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Joeys vs Denmark - Group Match 3

Certain people had taken a day off work to watch the original, called off final group match between Australia and Denmark and were unable to therefore back it up with an all nighter to watch the replay before work the next day.

So with no match report I thought I'd offer something a little different. Below is a selection of tweets which will try to sum up the performance. There really weren't many to choose from in the feed and it would seem that I wasn't the only one suffering from the work predicament.

KevinAirs442 Kevin Airs
Ugly performance by #joeys really, but ultimately sensible one - conserved energy well in heavy conditions after going down to 10 men early.

KevinAirs442 Kevin Airs
@MickLynch_Age Nature vs nurture? Environment did not suit pretty play, remains to be seen if Joeys have been nurtured to play better though

sebth Sebastian Hassett
Congratulations to the Joeys on making it through to the knockout stages. Keep going boys, the country is behind you.

DaviddeCorran Davidde Corran
Getting here was a bloody mission. I'm buggered and I didn't even play a game today! #Joeys

Australia now play Uzbekistan on Thursday, 5.45am AEST.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Joeys vs Brazil - Group Match 2

Australia’s under 17 Joeys went down gallantly 1-0 to powerhouse Brazil in their second group match this morning with a sublime free kick from Adryan in the 76th minute the only difference between the two sides.

The boys lined up relatively settled for their second group match against Brazil with only the one change in right fullback Riley Woodcock coming in for Jake Monaco which was an early change for Jan Versleijen against Cote d’Ivoire anyway. They lined up in their familiar 4-3-3 as follows:


Australia looked a different side from the get go in this match and were very impressive. It was refreshing to watch them take the game to the more technically superior Brazilians and in their yellow strip, you could have been forgiven for mixing the teams up. For the whole first half it was Brazil who were relying on their ability to counter attack and hitting aimless ‘wonderstrikes’ which saw Izzo not properly tested once. Australia on the other hand, although certainly no Barca, were keeping the ball and playing through midfield which the Brazilians obviously didn’t like.

To me, Australia’s standout players this match were the two wide attackers in Hernan Espindola and Mitch Cooper. Both were a constant headache to the Brazilian defense when they were on the ball, running at players and playing balls to feet. To go along with these two, you can’t look past a defense that forced the attacking might of Brazil to only long, low percentage shots while the team around them still plays football.

Tactically somewhat surprising, Australia’s fullbacks got forward, going past the teammate in front of them to create an overlap but not once were they used. Yes it opened up space for the player on the inside but each time that they cut in, they held the ball for too long and lost possession. Frustrating to say the least.

Another interesting point was how in the first group match against Cote d'Ivoire, I was critical of Jacob Mellin. This time out, he did have a better game and is a little terrier in midfield but still, like most of our midfield, gave the ball away thanks to simple errors far too often. Something that needs to be addressed before next match.

A few of the Brazilian lads were booked for diving or simply told to get up by the referee when appealing for fouls until finally in the 76th minute something went their way which saw them receive a free kick right on the edge of the area. Adryan stepped up confidently and slotted the ball over the wall and into the top right hand corner of the net. A shot that almost no keeper in world football would have gotten to. Harsh… but fair.

In conclusion, a far better effort from Australia but no points to show for it. There is now everything to play for in the final group match against Denmark who went down to Cote d'Ivoire in the other match today. Surely coming off a performance like this, Australia will be up for it. Can’t wait!

Match Details:

FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 – Group F
Qantas Joeys 0
Brazil 1 (Adryan 76’)
Thursday 23 June 2011, Estadio Guadalajara
Referee: Stephan Studer (Switzerland)
Assistant Referee: Sandro Pozzi & Raffael Zeder (Switzerland)
Fourth Official: Diego Abal (Argentina)

Qantas Joeys starting-lineup: 1.Paul IZZO (gk), 3.Connor CHAPMAN (c), 4.Tom KING, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Yianni PERKATIS (14.Milos DEGENEK 66’), 7.Hernan ESPINDOLA (19.Mitchell OXBORROW 66’), 8.Mitch COOPER, 9.Dylan TOMBIDES, 10.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (16.Stefan MAUK 83’), 17.Jacob MELLING, 21.Riley WOODCOCK

Substitutes not used: 2.Jake MONACO, 11.Luke REMINGTON, 12. Lachlan TIBBLES (gk), 13. Teeboy KAMARA, 15.Anthony PROIA, 18.Daniel SADAKA (gk), 20.Nicholas ANSELL

Yellow cards: Jacob MELLING 70’

Red cards: Nil

Brazil starting line-up: 1. Charles, 2. Wallace, 3. Marquinhos (c), 4. Matheus BARBOSA, 6. Emerson, 7. Guilherme (19. Nathan 60’), 8. Marlon BICA, 9. Ademilson (18. Wellington 89’), 10. Adryan, 11. Lucas PIAZON, 16. Hernani (5. Misael 60’)

Substitutes not used: 12. Uilson (gk), 13.Claudio WINCK, 14. Josue, 15. Jonathan, 17. Bruno SABIA, 20. Leo BONATINI, 21. Jacsson (gk)

Yellow cards: Lucas PIAZON 51’, Matheus BARBOSA 57’, Nathan 79’

Red cards: Nil

Australia next faces Denmark on 27 June AEST needing a result to see their safe passage through to the next phase of the tournam

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Joeys vs Cote d'Ivoire - Group Match 1

The Australian Under 17 national side, the Joeys got their World Cup campaign off to a flying start this morning thanks to Jesse Macarounas and Dylan Tombides strikes that gave Australia a 2-1 come from behind victory against Cote d’Ivoire.

The Joey’s lined up in the now ‘standard’, FFA mandated 4-3-3 system. This side was billed in the media beforehand by coach Jan Versleijen as the first age bracket to grow up with the system, rather than the older lads who have had to adapt half way through their time with the national setup so big things were obviously expected. They started as follows:




Espindola --Tombidis--Makarounas

For the first two minutes of the game Australia knocked the ball between each other around the back showing that they, like all football sides, can keep the ball when no pressure is applied. However, as soon as the Australian’s started to try and play through midfield and encountered some pressure, it immediately fell apart.

Cote d’Ivoire deserved their 1-0 lead which was gifted to them through a Tom King (on the books at Liverpool) error at the back when he tried to turn back in towards an attacker while trying to play out of the back rather than moving away. Possession was lost and after a few sharp passes, the goal was finished with a clinical strike past Izzo. Connor Chapman always looked good and confident stepping out of defence with the ball at his feet but overall distribution from the back into midfield was horrible. Not good to see when this is what the side’s strength and style is meant to be built from.

In midfield, retention of possession was again horrible. In particular Jacob Mellin made some poor decisions with the ball at his feet trying to play. I don’t like drilling players like him or King for making errors when trying to play football, especially at this age and to me the most disappointing element of the game was not the errors themselves, but the fact that Australia stopped trying to play and started kicking and hoping for the best. Was this a coached tactic by Versleijen? Why?!

From behind, Australia did show that they are still a capable side by going on to win the match 2-1 thanks to a pearler of a strike from Jesse Makarounas, hitting the ball on the volley from all of 20 yards which looped over the keeper to hit the back of the net. This was followed up by a Dylan Tombides special, instinctively beating the keeper at the near post after beating a defender in the box and forcing him to commit.

Izzo in goals helped the lads hold on, pulling out some cracking saves. Looks to be an excellent shot stopper but looked a little shaky at every corner, committing but never reaching the ball.

Australia ended the match looking like:




Kamara- ---Tombidis----Makarounas

The Kamara change really brought life to the right side of our attack and to me, along with Tombides, really proved the stand out for Australia today.

So to wrap up, Australia did get the result but the game could ultimately be considered a failure in the way we played. Conceding 60/40% possession in a side that boasts playing through midfield as its primary tactic is just not good enough. I am very interested to see Versleijen’s reaction to this thinking when it ultimately gets put to him. Bring on Brazil!

Joeys line-up: 1. Paul IZZO, 2. Jake MONACO (21. Riley WOODCOCK 46'), 3. Connor CHAPMAN (C), 4. Tom KING, 5. Corey BROWN, 6. Yianni PERKATIS (14. Milos DEGENEK 67'), 7. Hernan ESPINDOLA (13.Teeboy KAMARA 65'), 8. Mitch COOPER, 9. Dylan TOMBIDES, 10. Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17. Jacob MELLIN.

Australia next faces Brazil on 24 June AEST, with the South American giant top of the group after a 3-0 win over Denmark in its opener.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Socceroos Asian Cup Squad 2011

Mark Schwarzer
Brad Jones
Nathan Coe

Lucas Neill
Sasa Ognenovski
Matthew Spiranovic
Jade North
Jon McKain

David Carney
Luke Wilkshire

Tim Cahill
Brett Holman

Jason Culina
Mile Jedinak
Carl Valeri
Neil Kilkenny
Matt McKay

Brett Emerton
Tommy Oar

Harry Kewell
Scott McDonald
Nathan Burns
Robbie Kruse

Pretty happy with the squad picked really with the only noticeable omissions that I would have liked to have seen being Rukavytsya in place of Kruse up front and a younger, more promising DeVere in place of McKain at the back.

In reality, the previous 'golden generation' has well and truly passed us by and we don't have the same pool of quality players to pick from any more. The squad Holger Osieck has picked is as balanced as we could have hoped for and overall should do the job of pushing for the tournament victory.

As for formations, I have offered up two alternatives that I think we should look at playing:

First of all a very attacking 4-4-2 that I would love to see used against the weaker opponents throughout the group stage:


The most important aspect being giving McDonald a partner up front to try to get the best out of an obviously good player. I just feel that if he can get a goal then the floodgates will open. McDonald doesn't fit into the system when we play 1 up front. It's not rocket science.

Secondly, a more conservative but still quite attacking 4-2-3-1 that should get more of a look in come the end of the tournament:


Just to finish up on, I am a big believer that we took the wrong attitude into the last tournament. The culture in Asia is something totally different to our own. It's all about being humble, respectful and getting on with YOUR business. I wonder if we will have learnt anything from the past?

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Australia World Cup Squad 2010 Predictions

With the announcement of Australia's 30 man preliminary World Cup squad on Tuesday, it has motivated me enough to drag out the blog again! Here's my thoughts for the 23 man final squad along with some 'noticeable misses' at the bottom.


Pim has basically said that Schwarz will be his number one while Reading's Federici will surely get the number two spot after not only his club form but excellent performances at the Olympic games for Australia.

With Pim no longer contracted to Australia after the tournament, I see him having no need to persevere with A-League players who he has publicly said that he does not rate and will surely go with Jones ahead of Galekovic.

This third spot that quite frankly will not come close to the field, should also go to youth, and that is something that both Covic and Petkovic lack.

Centre Backs:
Colosimo DM
Milligan DM

I think we will need to take four centre backs. Neil is obviously the first man on the list and assured of his spot. The rest is fairly open though and I see this as probably where we are weakest. Moore seems like he will walk into the starting side alongside Neil even though he has only been playing in Greece and now the Queensland State League (well training at least). Being older, it could go either way with the rest doing him wonders or lack of match fitness seeing him lose it. Only time will tell.

The other two spots have been thrown wide open with Kisnorbo's injury. Spiranovic was meant to be our savior at the back but not even playing at Uruwa has looked like ruining his chances and Pim's complete ignorance of the Ogmonster has shot Colosimo right into the frame. He was been by far the most consistant defender in the A-League last season and surely can do a job. The last spot I see coming down to either Milligan or North. I would personally go with Milligan because I think he is a much more complete player with a lot more potential than North ever had. Too bad he made some rediculous career choices huh...

Williams RB/LB
Chipperfield LB
Carney LB

Williams will surely be picked as he gives us flexability in being able to play on both the left or the right and I would surely start him at RB. Chipperfield is also in career best form at Basil and will walk into the side at LB.

The fullback cover is where we start to run thin. I see no other option but to pick Carney. Emerton and Wilkshire are in the side remember who can both slot in at RB if required but their names would surely be on the teamsheet in other positions first. We really are running thin in the fullback department. Where else do we go for a LB? Steffanuto has been injured for the entire A-League season. Heffernan, no thanks. Jamieson, no thanks. It is a little bit worrying but with some luck hopefully we can stay healthy and all will be good.

Defensive Mids:
Wilkshire RB AM

A few years ago who would have thought that Luke Wilkshire would turn into probably the most important player in the Socceroos squad. His utility value is priceless but I think his strength lies in the middle of the park and would like to see him start beside Grella at DM who also if fit obviously walks into the side.

Culina and Valeri are worthy backups and I just see no space for Jedinak as I would much rather take a more attack minded squad player rather than an extra DM who will most probably not see game time all tournament.

Attacking Mids:
Emerton RB
Kewell ST
Vidosic ST

Cahill, Bresciano, Emerton and Holman are all obvious picks and is realistically where most of our goals are going to come from.

Kewell will either play on the left of the attacking three or leading the line. That is up to Pim and I think he will be one of the most important players on the pitch wherever he plays. All this talk of injury is starting to make me worry!

The final two here in Oar and Vidosic were by far the hardest to pick. Vidosic has been playing very well in Germany of late and scoring goals. His versatility in being able to play up front will surely see him picked. Oar I'm throwing in there as a surprise. Surely if he is picked he will not get much, if any game time but the experience will do him wonders and he has shown he is a game changer. Take the risk!

Carle and Brosque to be unlucky to miss out. Brosque not playing after the A-League will hurt him. It seems as though he has chosen to spend time with his new born child and family rather than go overseas and chase a slim chance at being picked and good on him. He will surely feature in the reckoning for the next squad. Carle on the other hand is a game changer but I just can't find room for him in Pim's system. Very unlucky but I would rather take others.


Only playing the one up front, Kennedy has turned into our number one option up front and while he worked wonders against Asian opposition, I don't know if he will have the same effect against the physically bigger opponents in our group. This is the reason I can see Kewell starting up front ahead of him.

Our striking stocks are also quite thin and I see Ruka being picked ahead of McDonald who has never looked settled in the system. Ruka, while not setting the world alight playing in Holland, offers that something different for late in the game if we are desperate. He is lightening!


The only swap I don't mind the sound of is Kennedy dropping to the bench, Kewell leading the line with Holman coming into the attacking trio behind.

Notable Misses:

Thoughts and comments below would be appreciated.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Young Socceroos vs Czech Republic - Group Match 1

Well. What a dissapointment that game turned out to be. Unfortunatly, I really think that we needed at the very least a point from that game to have any chance to progress to the knockout stage and with this extremely flattering 2-1 loss can all but kiss goodbye that dream.
Australia lined up something resembling the following:


Rooney > Hoffman
Herd > Nichols
Minniecon > Danning
Late red to McGowen

The game started a little cagey, especially in midfield but I suppose that was to be expected. Our defenders were actually the shining light for the game overall, managing to keep a straight, high line that consistantly caught out the very pacey Czech attackers who were playing a very direct style on the break only. McGowen and DeVere look very solid players in the middle along with Mullen outwide. It may be a preconstructed opinion I have from watching Jurman at Sydney in the middle of the park but he just didn't work out wide for me. He just seemed big, clumsy and slow and didn't have the physical attributes to play the fullback role. This for both players this was definitely noticed in attack, with wide support from these players being non existant.
The Czech's first goal from the corner could have been kept out if Australia has defenders on the posts. I thought this was basically an under sixes standard tactic. Frustrating!!
I thought Kantarovski did alright in the DM position but I was quite unimpressed with James Holland alongside him. Having seen him at Newcastle for his stint there and then moving onto AZ, I thought he would prove a lot more effective than he was. Lets just hope he was having an off night. Kanta was definitely playing the deeper of the two naturally being a defender and his touch was sublime at times. He did do the simple things well but really offered us nothing else.
The Czechs really were a class above us in the centre of the park. They were faster, had a better touch, more physical. You know you are going to have a struggle when a player as fast as Danning is outpaced down his wing time after time. I don't know if it was because he wasn't used to being beaten for pace or was told to hold it up but I thought he could have taken on his man a bit more than he did. So many times he seemed to just stop and play an easy ball back inside. Probably not what we were looking for when getting dominated in midfield. Oar on the other wing was similarly ineffective. Just neither had the time or touch to allow them to take on a defender so full credit goes to the Czechs.
Probably not the most popular comment but I'm not going to drill Mitch Nichols. Yes he has the most punchable face in world football and botched some simple chances that should have been goals but I look at it that he was the one getting himself into positions to allow him to botch them. He did add an element of unpredictability. A spark to our attack which Herd didn't offer when he came on, dissapointingly seeing us cruise to a loss without doing anything. I keep hearing all these good things about Aaron Mooy. Time for him next match? Maybe even Minniecon starting somewhere around here is the answer. I actually thought he looked more threatening than Danning and if he is fully fit has to be in the starting side.
Up front alone Hoffman was shit. Shit A-League player so no surprises here. Rooney should have started from the beginning but even when he came on saw practically none of the ball and looked just as poor.
So we have to go all out now. Maybe Kanta can drop back into centre back for the suspended McGowen and a more attack minded midfielder can come in. All I hope is that we actually have a go and not just cruise through in mediocrity like after going 1-0 down in this match. Bring on Wednesday.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Young Socceroos Squad for Egypt

Qantas Young Socceroos Squad:
1. Andrew Redmayne (gk) (
Central Coast Mariners)
2. Daniel Mullen (
Adelaide United)
3. Luke DeVere (Brisbane Roar)
4. Ryan McGowan (Hearts FC, Scotland)
5. Matthew Jurman (
Sydney FC)
6. James Holland (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands)
7. Tahj Minniecon (
Gold Coast United)
8. Aaron Mooy (
Bolton Wanderers, England)
9. Jason Hoffman (
Newcastle Jets)
10. Mitch Nichols (Brisbane Roar)
11. Thomas Oar (Brisbane Roar)
12. Nathan Elasi (
Melbourne Victory)
13. Chris Herd (
Aston Villa, England)
14. Kofi Danning (
Sydney FC)
15. Sam Munro (
Sydney FC)
16. Ben Kantarovski (
Newcastle Jets)
17. Rhyan Grant (
Sydney FC)
18. Dean Bouzanis (gk) (
Liverpool FC, England)
19. Sean Rooney (
Newcastle Jets)
20. Sam Gallagher (Manly United)
21. Alex Cisak (gk) (Leicester City, England)

Qantas Young Socceroos Schedule:
27 September: Australia v Czech Republic
30 September: Australia v Costa Rica
3 October: Australia v Brazil

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2009 Groups:
Group A:
Egypt, Trinidad & Tobago, Paraguay, Italy

Group B:
Nigeria, Venezuela, Spain, Tahiti

Group C:
USA, Germany, Cameroon, Korea Republic

Group D:
Ghana, Uzbekistan, England, Uruguay

Group E:
Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic,

Group F:
United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Honduras, Hungary


I just lifted this straight from Tribal Football but the format shows what's going on for Australia in the tournament really well.

Australia has had a few lead up matches mostly sticking to the 4-2-3-1 or a slight variation that all our national sides play these days but the make up of the final first team is still not really clear. I'm not going to read into friendly results at all and really can't wait for the first game against the Czechs tonight.

I love these international youth tournaments. The unpredictability and just seeing the new, young talent coming through is great.

Keep your eye out for the post match analysis I will be doing.