Thursday, August 17, 2006
There have been certain noises, mainly emanating from south of the Murray, carrying the message that Graham Arnold’s squad was far too biased towards Sydney FC.
The starting eleven on the night contained five Sydney players, and no more than two from any other club. The first two substitutes were also from the harbour city club, and they replaced two non-Sydneysiders in Thompson and Griffiths. Seven of Terry Butcher’s men on the pitch!
As a matter of fact, there should have been seven right from the start.
It’s all very well to have representation from a variety of A-League clubs, but with minimal preparation time and a less-than-ideal collection of players, it was favourable – maybe even ideal – to feature a team mainly made up of players who have gelled at club level.
This has been shown time and again in the past; memorably, at the 1986 World Cup, Dinamo Kiev’s legendary manager Valeri Lobanovski took charge of an unsettled USSR team, not long before the tournament. His answer to the various tactical problems within the team? He simply filled it up with Kiev players. The Russians’ opening game featured no fewer than nine players from the Ukraine club. The result? They won 6-0!
The Socceroo team improved considerably last night once Petrovski and Brosque arrived. Archie Thompson, uncomfortable on the wing, was failing to combine effectively with Joel Griffiths, who was picked somewhat mistakenly in a front-man role.
Once Petrovski arrived, the attack possessed a player capable of holding the ball up, and new options appeared. Petrovski scored a goal, should have been awarded a penalty, and worried the Kuwaiti defence far more than had the rusty Griffiths.
Brosque did not have the most influential of cameos, but he did generally attract two defenders to him, thereby creating space for the others. Some of the switching of positions which we have seen from Brosque and Carney during Sydney FC’s pre-season games was evident again last night.
Travis Dodd may have eventually provided the decisive impact against Kuwait, but the team’s revival late in the second half owed much to the fact that the players on the pitch understood, and gelled with, each other.
must say when i first saw the lineup, was quite shocked to see him line up there but was pleasantly surprised by his performance
just goes to show how much he learnt being part of the world cup squad.
Yeah, he has, in tandem with McFlynn. Apparently he's played most of his football pre-SFC in defensive midfield, too.
He did play well on Wednesday although I'm still not at all sure that's his best position.
Thanks for the comments, nozza!