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.