Sunday, March 25, 2007


Friendly Fire - another update

A very pleasing result for Graham Arnold's side overnight, and, for most of the game, a pleasing performance. The fact that Australia looked somewhat languid in the second half may have had more to do with, shall we say, "injury limitation" than any serious lack of spirit or drive.

The first 45 minutes constituted perhaps the best performance we've seen from the team since the World Cup. It helped that the Chinese were astonishingly poor; second to every ball, laboured in their distribution and failing to track the Australians adequately in midfield, they gave Brett Holman, in particular, an acre of space in which to operate.

It was good to see Holman finally used in an appropriate role behind the main striker, although his impressive workrate meant that he often found time to help out Carl Valeri (who made a promising debut) in the engine room as well. Holman must surely be considered close to a first-teamer now.

Marco Bresciano had an influential time of it, scything through the paper-thin Chinese defence to set up the first goal and scoring the second after an elementary mistake from the experienced Du Wei. Few traces of Bresciano's mediocre World Cup form, and a relief to see him performing with such conviction given his apparent distaste for excessive international duty away from Europe. Mark Viduka showed all his old class, proving too much for the frail, static Chinese defence to master.

It was interesting to see Luke Wilkshire given the set-piece duties. I mentioned recently that the Socceroos are currently still searching for a reliable purveyor of corners and free kicks; although I don't really think Wilkshire is the answer, he floated in a couple of fairly dangerous corners, one of which produced a half-chance for Patrick Kisnorbo (who had an excellent game).

Shane Stefanutto did well in attack, but did get shown up in defence once or twice; in one significant moment, a telegraphed Chinese pass into the outside-right channel saw Stefanutto eventually scrambling the ball away for a corner, despite a two-metre start on his man.

thanks for the update, i only got to see the highlights on foxsports web site.

good to see the boys put the ball in the net this game. it's been an australian weakness. work hard, create opportunities ... and not finish them.

also, expectations are now raised. a draw or a 1 - 0 against a developing football nation isn't enough any more.

good to see brescia and the v-bomber looking lively.

disappointing to see carle come on around the 80 minute mark. you have a 2 - 0 lead at half time, no reason not to experiment a bit.
...disappointing to see carle come on around the 80 minute mark. you have a 2 - 0 lead at half time, no reason not to experiment a bit....

I tend to agree. Of all the players to bring on, I'd say Carle was the one you'd have wanted to have a look at more than any of the others; North, Colosimo, Burns etc. have all had a run for the NT of late.

Having said that, he has been out of action for a while, so only giving him a few minutes towards the end is understandable I guess.

Unreasonable to leave our Nicky Carle until the last 10.

My only consolation was that by this time the Chinese were so buggered Nicky looked really good on the ball.

Have to wait until next time to watch the guy play in the gold jersey - hopefully in a full strength squad.
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