Uzbekistan vs Australia - WCQ
We know that Uzbekistan can play football from their Asian Cup campaign followed up with impressive results in the last round of World Cup Qualifiers. Add to that the 'unknown' nature of the country and what it would be like going there to play a qualifier and you can see it would be tough. We did however, come through with flying colours and more importantly, 3 points.
Australia started with their now usual away from home formation as follows:
I think we can actually say that our backline is sorted! I was pleasantly surprised to see Chippers come back into the role that Carney has basically made his own over the last year and remind us all why he has been there for so long. on the other side of defense we had Emerton and Wilkshire basically interchanging. Both can do such a good job in both possession retention and offering something going forward. A year ago you wouldn't have heard me, or many people say that!
Centrally Neil is the stalwart of the team and showed just why tonight with an absolutely flawless performance. I would go close to giving him man of the match honors if he wasn't so cruel to animals! The way he positions himself and can read play is excellent. Coyne really surprised me tonight as well. I wasn't the biggest fan of giving a man in his late 20s playing League 1 in England a starting spot in our national side at this time but god he put in an equally as solid performance tonight and showed that he could easily be playing at a higher level. I still want to see Spiranovic in there but it is good to be spoilt for choice and Coyne has impressed me a lot more than spoilt brat North and good ol' Beauchamp.
Our defensive midfield lineup was basically makeshift with the usuals Grella and Culina unavailable. Someone told me that Burns was called into the squad on the day of the match so I am not going to worry about seeing too much of him. Valeri didn't have the best of games and I was a little concerned about his ability to keep possession, but as an understudy while Grella or Culina are on the pitch we know he is solid. Just an extra point about this position, while watching TWG on Sunday Craig Foster said something I thought was quite smart (for once). His point was about playing a more attacking type player alongside a ball winner to add more balance and give us that extra option going forward. Meaning Culina--Grella or Culina--Valeri rather than the two out and out defensive midfielders together. However, especially away from home I can't see Pim having the balls to do this.
Wilkshire was as immense in attack as he was in defense. He has come so far and once again it was his cross that led to Chippers goal. Holman was Holman. Gets into brilliant positions in attack but has the first touch of a rapist and a composure rating of minus ten. Can this be learnt/gained? I sure hope so. Bresciano was quiet again. Find some form son! Finally Kewell up front again was nothing special. Pim said before the match that he picked Kewell there ahead of Kennedy for tactical reasons since he believes he can hold the ball up better away from home. Kennedy may have actually been one of the sufferers of the stomach virus, I don't know but I would have loved to see him tonight with Kewell in place of Bresciano or Holman. I just feel he is so wasted when he is not running at players.
I love the system, I don't always love the players used in certain roles but we got the three points from a game that I definitely didn't bank on. What a start!