Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Mark Schwarzer saves Australia..from sleep!

And saved cautious Pim from defeat.

Australia drew 0-0 in Kunming against a woefully intimidated Chinese side. And this after a tedious 0-0 friendly against Singapore. A pattern, surely not.

Read my report...

Anyone who has seen the Chinese teams in the Asian Champions League will have been shocked at the lack of drive, energy and forward thrust of the National side.

Australia could have won this game even with so many withdrawals.

The Chinese invited the Australian side forward but Pim's men would not accept the challenge.

Dodgy moment/Dutch luck
An 87th minute penalty save by Mark Schwarzer kept Australia on track for the next World Cup Qualifying stage. Aussie Pim may look a Dutch genius tonight but his tactics would have looked a little suss had China scored and won the game.

Tactical genius
Pim Verbeek had the team strategy right for the result, right perhaps for the group stage, but dismal for the football fan.

China were there for the taking, A-League players in the team or not!

Big stakes I know, but clearly the tactics showed Aussie Pim's lack of awareness of just how poor China are, lack of belief in his Aussie players or just his own cautious nature. Maybe all three.

We might sleep our way to the next World Cup stage!

A-League Socceroos
Jade North played the full game with class and showed A-League players are up for the job. Three cheers for the A-League.

Standout performers.
Jade North in a reasonably reliable back three which wasn't tested really. Schwarzer for his save, but looked a little rusty at times.

Carl Valeri. A strong performer/runner in the middle of the park. Altitude? What altitude?

Brett Holman: A strong performance came on as Sub for Archie and moved well for the team.

Dodgy performance
David Carney was poor in defence. Missed a sitter to win the game, but more worryingly had some poor moments at the back. A forward still learning? This time we escaped.

A draw is fine, I expect Australia will qualify for the next stage. And few will remember this performance.

Can you see China winning in Melbourne against a full strength Australian side? I can't.

In truth with all the preparation and pull-outs a point away in a World Cup Qualifier will do just fine.

But it wasn't pretty in the forward movement.

World Cup on track. More Aussies gaining experience in pressure games at the top level, giving Verbeek a bigger pool to choose from.

Verbeek has the team well structured, playing keep ball. But they were never pressured in any part of the park.

His previous side South Korea didn't score much, I guess we won't either.

The Pim Verdict
Verbeek knows the limitations of his squad and is playing to it's strengths.

Win the home games we go through. Aussie Pim on track. Well done Pim.

Entertainment value
Minimal. If you weren't a die hard fan or Aussie or didn't realise the significance of the game it was dire stuff from both sides.

Canberra getting Australia to the World Cup
Carl Valeri played the whole game, and played well. Out shone Vinny Grella with his mobility and forward balls. In truth he had Vinny alongside and was well protected.

Spare a thought
For Harry Kewell. He came, he tried and he broke down. Poor bugger.
And Archie Thompson. Here was his moment. A big big game. And he got to start. No Mark Viduka, no John Aloisi, Scott McDonald, Josh Kennedy or Bruce Djite. Just Archie. And he got injured after 9 minutes!

Oceania reflection
China away is just so much better than waiting to play the Solomons, New Zealand or whoever. Thank God!

Even if we never qualify!


Anonymous said...

I was a little surprised with Pim's decision not to make some tactical subs to steal the win in the last 30.

You're being a bit biased in favour of Valeri, sure he's a Canberra boy and a great player but this really wasn't a shining moment for him. His passing was woeful and those 'forward balls' didn't find much except Chinese defenders and the touchline. Other than that he and Grella did their holding job satisfactorily.

Carney had a shocker and is usually a brilliant performer for us. Shouldn't be playing left back. He's an attacking left mid. Partner him up with with Carle on the right and we're looking good for the future when the Eurostars are out.

Holman finally showed up to play and did well.

Well done to Wilkshire for not breaking 17's leg after that woeful challenge. Should have been a red without question.

Jade North, blew me away. Well done.

Eamonn said...

Biased for the Canberra boy? Maybe, others can decide.

As for Carney an attacking player he might be...but I reckon he's only good enough to attack/play from left-back...he's not a good enough creative enough attacking player, at international level, who should start further up the park.

He needs the space that the full-back position allows to attack and can be quite effective from there.

That said if you move him up, who would you play left-back...and there lies the problem.