Sunday, July 13, 2008

Olyroos vs Olywhites - July 12 - NSO


Being an old Northern Spirit fan back in the NSL days, I always love going back to North Sydney Oval whenever I can.  I just think it is such a picturesque ground and just holds some great memories for me.

I am disappointed that I didn't really enjoy the match.  Australia didn't play too badly but I am just caught up in a 'what could have been' bubble.  Over the years the Olyroos have been the only team that I haven't really bagged the shit out of on this blog.  They were the shining light of our national teams.  I loved watching and following them a lot more than the full Socceroos.  But sadly that has changed with the team we now have and they are just another national team.

Well I was right that Arnold would look to play the almost standard Australian formation of 4-2-3-1 but again threw some curve balls again with his selections.  We started like:






Velaphi in goals did alright.  Couldn't really do much about the goals.  Just have a general 'meh' opinion of the bloke.  Vukovic you are a retard!  In front of him in a back four was the two central defenders of North and Spiranovic.    Spiranovic at just 20 already looks a much classier defender than North however got caught out for New Zealand's second goal.  I am just a little concerned that we have broken up the strongest part of our qualification team and gone with a completely new pair which sees Leijer move to the bench and Milligan push into midfield.

Milligan's move to midfield was a bit of a surprise as I didn't think the position really suited him at Sydney FC but alongside Musialik it seemed to work well.  Milligan's passing range was excellent and Musialik as always provided the link to turn possession into attack when needed excellently.  I can't wait to see this guy pull on a Sydney shirt for the start of the A-League.  Classy player who will have a big future.

In attack our stable fullbacks worked well pushing forward as always, looking to overlap and get forward whenever they can.  Hyphen is one of those players that just looks so classy in this team.  I just hope he can eventually make the step up to the next level because so far I have never been impressed with him in a Socceroos shirt.

Sarkies is another player that just seems to thrive in an Olyroos shirt.  Throughout qualifying and today again just looked so good pushing forward and always in the action.  His set pieces are also a plus.  During the A-League I think it can be said that his set pieces have often kept him in a team where his general play didn't warrant it but in this team he should be one of the first picked.  Zadkovich on the other hand was again hot and cold.  Did some great things early then seemed to get frustrated and go missing.  Same old attitude problem.  Troisi in the middle playing off Rukavytsya looked good as well.  Throughout qualification he has often been used as a wide player but seemed to handle the role in the middle quite well and controlled the game well from there.  Looked a class above out there to be honest.

The same old Perth Glory Rukavytsya was out there today as well.  Can beat players and create opportunities but his finishing was poor.  I just can't see how Djite could be left out, especially if this is the formation we are looking to play.  Matt Simon came on late and looked enthusiastic and in form but didn't really have an opportunity to do much.  Doesn't matter I suppose with him not even being in the squad and Archie basically assured a spot by his mate Arnold.

Bring on the tournament and put us or Arnold out of our misery.  It is either going to be a total embarrassment for Australian football and Arnold will be sent packing for his woeful selection criteria and tactics or he will be able to give a big fat "fuck you, I told you so" to all us fans and critics.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Olyroos squad for Beijing


Central Defenders:


Central Midfielders:

Wide Midfeilders:


Well what a totally disappointing, uninspiring and unbalanced squad… I take it we will be playing what seems to be our standard national team formation of 4-2-3-1. The best I can come up with is:






Bridge isn’t really a lone striker like Djite. I never thought of Rukavytsya or Thompson as that sort of player either so I am puzzled there. Maybe Sarkies for Celeski? Maybe Carney at fullback making way for Sarkies in midfield? Surely Arnold will also pick Zad somewhere… Just every combination I think of with this squad seems inferior to what we put out during the qualifiers.

The alternative that we played throughout our qualifiers was a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield. I think this suits our selection of strikers more but leaves us more exposed in midfield.

I am just so disappointed not to see the names of Burns, Djite, Williams, Holland and Ward. These guys would have probably been the first five on my teamsheet! Arnold’s reasoning behind not picking these guys was that they are ‘too young’ or ‘don’t handle the heat’. Sighhhh… Djite would have solved the problem of having noone that can effectively play the lone striker role. I personally rate Burns as our most talented youngster and unless backstage club politics at AEK played a part I’m absolutely appalled at his omission. Ward was quite possibly our best player in qualifiers and would have rather seen him than Celeski in that central attacking midfield role. Also what was the point in playing Holland and Williams in the recent Socceroos games if they weren’t going to be taken to China?! I just scratch my head.

I also think Arnold has only got the selection of one of the three overage players, North, Thompson and Carney correct, that being the selection of Super Dave. I take it that he will be used as the attacking left sided player in midfield rather than at left fullback where I think we were weaker. In saying that, Carney’s attacking abilities will be a definite plus here.

Jade North is a huge shock to me. Our strongest component in qualifying was our central defence pairing of Leijer and Milligan. Spiranovic slotting in when able to play and doing just as well. Is North going to break this partnership? Well I wouldn’t say that he is a fullback and even then I thought that McClenahan was great in qualification. I always commended the fullbacks willingness to get forward and their crossing ability. I just don’t think the mediocre at best North was needed.

As for Archie Thompson all I can do is laugh. To pick him ahead of any of the younger guys in the starting side will be a joke. The excuse of ‘he fits into the system’ can’t even be used here. I have absolutely no idea.

Finally concerning our goalkeepers I am a little frustrated at the lack of interest shown in Bouzanis. I think Federici would always be number one but Bouzanis has to be lightyears ahead of Velaphi and the other name in front of him Pasfield (LOL!). I know he is a LOT younger than these guys but from what I have seen and heard of the kid he is world class. I am more worried by the fact that the Australians aren’t giving any indication that they want him. Greece are doing everything in their power to get this kid on their side and we aren’t giving any encouragement to want to give OUR player a run. However I am of the belief that the national jersey is about honor and pride and that if he wants to fuck off the Greece as a ‘career move’ then good riddance.

Throughout the qualifiers I could seriously see us challenging for a medal. With this squad I am now just hoping we aren’t embarrassed.