Friday, May 26, 2006
Australia: Lucky strike beats woeful Greece
Josip Skoko's volley from 25 yards gave the Socceroos a 1-0 win against a lacklastre Greece side last night, in front of a massive 95,103 crowd.
The lads played all right, and were tactically better than I've seen them for a while, but I just couldn't share Fozzie's enthusiasm. Greece were awful, a pale imitation of the European champions we saw two years ago, and Australia could put no more than one spectacular (and, I believe, slightly mis-hit) volley into their net despite a wealth of opportunities. The buildup play was there but the killer blow was not.
In addition, a tougher side would punish us for the mistakes we made, and would not gift us possession so easily. Our upcoming match against Holland should be a more reliable yardstick.
Having said that, there were some positives to take out, namely, the excellent buildup play and the emergence of Sterjovski as a real contender for a starting place in the big matches. Culina and Neill also both played very well, and Skoko showed that he is still in form.
Kalac 5 - A clean sheet but not a save to make and did not look convincing or decisive. Capable of better, but on the strength of this performance I'd be sticking with Schwartzer.
Chipperfield 6 - Adequate
Neill 7 - Strong and reliable, good forward support as well. My MoM.
Moore 6 - Good to see him back.
Grella 6 - Cleaned up well but passing was below par.
Culina 7 - Excellent vision and worked hard.
Skoko 7 - Heavily involved and was the starting point for many attacks. Got the official MoM.
Emerton 6 - I really don't know why he plays. Really looks average. Indecisive and slow.
Sterjovski 7 - A great outlet. Pushing hard for a start in Germany.
Bresciano 7 - Buzzed about energetically.
Viduka 6 - Held up the ball well and kept the Greek defence on their toes. As usual did a lot of off-the-ball work.
Popovic 6 - Did well when he came on to allow Neill to push up.
Thompson 6 - Poor decision making spoiled a hardworking performance. Has the skill to do well.
Wilkshire 6 - Had a decent pop from a long way out.
Lazaridis 6 - The ex-Hammer can still get forward and cross the ball, and will be good for the bench to solidify the field late on.
In other news, reports say Alan Pardew is looking at Deportivo La Coruna hardman Aldo Duscher. The 27-year-old Argentinian midfielder is priced at around £4 million and has previously been linked with Manchester United.