Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Friendly Fire - update #4
Last night's match, perhaps because it really mattered so little, was one of the most entertaining internationals on Australian soil I've seen for some time. And the Socceroos' performance contributed substantially to the entertainment, even if the star of the show was unquestionably the irrepressible Lionel Messi.
It was particularly good to see Josh Kennedy in action once again. He provided a solid physical presence and a significant aerial threat up front, and showed good ball control at times as well. He did fade from view somewhat in the second half, but he had already demonstrated by then that he will be a key figure in the lead-up to 2010.
The real Vince Grella was back in the green and gold this time, rather than the static passenger we saw at the Asian Cup, and Jason Culina was livelier than usual, especially in the second period. David Carney, faced with the daunting task of keeping Messi quiet, did surprisingly well, all things considered. Perhaps the "successor to Chipperfield" talk has some substance after all, although it's very early days.
Josip Skoko had a fairly insipid game; a pity, given that this was his "farewell" international. Hopefully the fans will instead retain the memories of Skoko's performances against Bahrain in Manama last year and Germany at the Conferedations Cup in 2005, among many others.
And Messi? As the commentators never tired of reminding us, he is still only twenty. If the injury gods are kind to him, he will surely be one of the most exciting players in world football for many years to come.
Bresciano, Grella and Culina all looked like they were approaching their World Cup form.
Carney coped reasonably well considering he was out of position against one of the best players in the world.
Kennedy looked an aerial threat and showed more willingness to try and get behind the defence or around them than Viduka does in the Green and Gold. He doesnt have anywhere near the ability to hold up the ball as Viduka (at this stage). Great to see him back in action though. It would have been interesting to have seen him paired with someone speedy like Scot McDonald in a traditional little and large combination because i felt he was quite isolated at times.
Carle at least had the intent to be positive although his touch and skills let him down at times.
The big thing i noticed was that the Argentinians all seemed to be faster than the Australians man for man. Especially in the case of Messi and whoever had the misfortune to be defending him at the time. But Australia always got caught with the ball whenever they tried to take it forward with the ball at their feet.
Archie's nutmeg on Mascherano was the highlight for mine.
That and they had ALOT more technique than our players.. i mean seriously its kind of scary how the ball just stuck to Messi's feet...
Also i saw a piece of ball control from Tevez that was bloody fantastic, he was bringing the ball down under control and again it was like it was superglued to his foot when he brought it down...