Thursday, March 20, 2008
I'm not sure if all of it, or even most of it, is justified. For one thing, a loss, let alone a draw, in this game would not exactly be a disaster. A setback, for sure. But given that this will be the last game in this round of qualifiers on a friendly date (entailing the late arrival of so many of the Europe-based first eleven), and given that China is probably our most dangerous opponent in the group, Pim Verbeek and his players should be able to accept an untoward result with some degree of sang-froid.
Scott McIntyre of SBS makes the reasonable point that a warm-up match in Singapore is not exactly perfect preparation from an acclimatisation perspective, but it's worth keeping in mind that very few, if any, of the players currently in camp will be starting against China. The arrival of Harry Kewell in particular seems to have given a somewhat false impression of the importance of the Singapore game.
And the cards are not stacked against us in Kunming quite as badly as all that. Although the Chinese, ensconced in camp, will have had time to adjust to the altitude of Kunming, not many of them will be long accustomed to it; the vast majority of teams in the China Super League are based in cities close to sea-level.
China's form leading up to the game, too, has been average. Not surprising in a way, considering that the Chinese league has been in abeyance since November. On the other side of the ledger, there are the injury concerns over Josh Kennedy, Brett Emerton and Tim Cahill, perhaps our three best performers against Qatar.
As the Euroroos are bound to tire in the second half, it would probably be advisable to repeat the Qatar strategy of an all-out assault in the opening ten minutes. This would probably allow Verbeek's men to slow the pace and catch their breath at times in the first half without being pressured unduly in the back third (this has certainly been the experience in Asia thus far).
Whether our backline, now without the precious experience of Craig Moore, can survive an assault by a better-prepared Chinese team in the second half might just depend on the quality of the Chinese finishing. If the game in Guangzhou is anything to go by, we may just be able to hold on.
But, it’s Matchday 2, and China will be really worried, a draw or defeat for them, will really put them on the back foot. So I expect them to be rather cagey, not be too open, but keep it tight.
A win, is a big boast and could put China out, a draw keeps you in there undefeated and a loss might be good for the future. I expect all teams will get beat at some point, so next matchday would be a time to get that loss out of teh way.
After all it is only slighly higher than Mt. Hotham (1,861m.)
Tehran is something like 1200m above sea level, and you rarely hear any mention of altitude issues when games are played there.
I mentioned this on another forum, but I've done some strenuous heavy duty hiking at similar altitudes to Kunming. It had no effect on my lungs, and not many would class my fitness at the level of a professional footballer!
Look, it may have some effect, but I believe jetlag will be the real issue once again for the Euroroos. When they inevitably tire in the second half, the dreaded altitude will be the convenient scapegoat.
Well thats true mate, but take into account that our European players are travelling quite a distance to be there, and playing at altitidue.... how are they gonna deal with that..
Where as the Chinese players are travelling very little and will be fresher id assume....
Okay maybe 1 or 2 Chinese players like Fangzhou etc wont be used to it but other than that they will be pretty fresh..
Still, i think the Euroroos is the way to go