Thursday, February 08, 2007


Friendly Fire - update

Although the result was a little disappointing, it was good to see the Socceroos once again adopt a positive approach to a European friendly in their game against Denmark. As they did against Ghana, Graham Arnold's side got forward in numbers and created a pleasing number of chances.

It was clear again, though, that the 4-3-3 system is fraught with problems unless you have players who are suited to it. Brett Holman was used on the left wing this time (an improvement on the Kuwait game, where he started as right wing-back), but he regularly sought to move infield; this, along with Josip Skoko's apparent positional uncertainty and Scott Chipperfield's attack-minded approach, allowed the Danes to penetrate down our left flank worryingly often. Holman's drifts towards the centre allowed the Danish right-back, Jacobsen, to overlap frequently to good effect.

Salient, too, was the finishing ability of Jon Dahl Tomasson. Long have Australian football fans prayed for the sort of player who can bang them in with such precision and regularity. John Aloisi, at the other end, had a night he would rather forget.

It was interesting to see Jacob Burns in the green and gold once again. A somewhat forlorn figure during his brief spell with Leeds, the word is that he has regained some form and confidence with Wisla Krakow; in his brief period on the park, he didn't do anything special, but did look a bit more calm and confident than the Burns of 2001.

The Danes, incidentally, are (and have been for many years) a much better side than they are given credit for. Positive, technically accomplished and physically imposing, they are lucky to possess three quality wingers in Jorgensen, Gronkjær and Rommedahl, around whom Morten Olsen bases much of their attacking play. At the 2002 World Cup, I felt they were perhaps the best team of the first round (even including Brazil), and considered them unlucky to go out in the second, after conceding a soft, demoralising early goal against England - who continued their recent poor run with a 1-0 home loss to Spain overnight.

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