Thursday, November 20, 2008

Schwarzter, Bresciano & Kennedy steal win

The Socceroos came into the match against Bahrain full of confidence. This vanished however after kick off and the Socceroos were completely out played. Bahrain had plenty of chances all game, some of them the were very unlucky to score from. Jaycee John their 23 year old Nigerian born striker was causing havoc for Schwartzer all game. The Socceroos for much of the game didn't give themselves any chances, Harry Kewell sprayed a header wide shortly after half time from a David Carney cross. Everyone thought by the 90min mark this game was going to be a lucky nil all draw for the Socceroos. But two and a half minutes into the three minutes of stoppage time a long ball was played by Schwartzer and headed on from Kennedy manage to catch the defense of guard and put Bresciano through the offside trap. Bresciano seemed to dribble slowly and hesitate as the defense and keeper was catching up on him. He calmly placed the over the keeper into the top of the net from just inside the box and celebrated the goal with his patented Spartacus celebration.

Australia was lucky this game, but they did keep Bahrain scoreless and when you do that you can win a lot more easily. What are your thoughts?

Group A P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Australia 3 3 0 0 6 0 6 9
2 Japan 3 2 1 0 7 3 4 7
3 Qatar 4 1 1 2 4 8 -4 4
4 Bahrain 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1
5 Uzbekistan 3 0 1 2 1 5 -4 1

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What will Become of Bahrain?

A win in this match will maintain our number one status in the qualifying group. We will be at least 2 points clear possibly 4 points, with 5 games to go, 3 at home.

A draw means we're equal leader on points, or possibly 2 points clear.

A loss means we're 1 point up or down.

A good start can be made a great start with a win or at least a draw in this crucial qualifier. I think we can do this, the time difference to Europe is only 3 hours or so. Australia's class should undo what will be a fierce opponent with it's last chance to make it in this group.

Group A P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Australia 2 2 0 0 5 0 5 6
2 Japan 2 1 1 0 4 3 1 4
3 Qatar 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
4 Bahrain 2 0 1 1 3 4 -1 1
5 Uzbekistan 3 0 1 2 1 5 -4 1

Nov 19 2008
Qatar vs Japan
Bahrain vs Australia
UAE vs Iran
Saudi Arabia vs South Korea

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Bahrain Tactics

What strategy do you think PIM VERBEEK will employ?

Everyone knows Bahrain is playing for 3 points, they are sitting equal last on 1 point on the bottom of group A and is going to throw everything at us.
Pim really has three choices in terms of tactics: defend, attack or counter attack (defend then hit them on the break).
A bad coach would say, "they are going to attack, we will 'Defend', they will become angry and score an own goal or we will get the draw, if we defend well enough that is", Pim will not do this (i hope). Its really a dumb negative move.
The coach of the Gamba Osaka against Adelaide United in the final of the ACL went into the game with a 3-0 home leg victory, played 'Attack' and got the away goals needed to make victory certain. Pim could do this, however this is not a two legged knock out or final. This is a round robin pool match.
From the players available and according to the media Pim is far more likely to 'Counter Attack' & play like he did against the Uzbeks last time around. Harry Kewell up front, with Bresciano, Cahill (according to him he's fit to play) and Holman just behind. Culina and Valerie in defensive midfield and Carny (left fullback), Coyne (left centreback), Neill (right centreback) and Wilkshire (right fullback) making up the back 4.
My main problem with this is apart from Harry Kewell, we are missing geniune counter attacking footballers, without Chipperfeild and Emerton (we had them last time) we lack pace and width to run around them. Unless Sterjovski starts this tactic seems like it wont work as effectively as last time.
I would prefer we play with the same tactics as our demolition of Qatar, get some away goals and prove we can do it away from home as well as at home. Like i previously posted start with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kennedy up front, Kewell (left), Cahill (centre) and Sterjovski (right) behind, Culina (right of middle) and Bresciano (left of middle) in defensive midfielder roles and the same back 4 as above.
We've proven we have a team that can play beautifully, so why not play beautifully. I don't want to stay up at 2am and watch us wait for the other team to miss a shot to try and score. I want to see the Socceroos showing that beating Holland wasn't a fluke and that we can and will do it again.
What are your thoughts?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kewell Heads In, Emerton Hamstrings Out, Cahill In Doubt, McDonald Virused Out

Emerton will miss the Socceroos class with Bahrain this Thursday with a soft hamstring injury. Obviously Blackburn Rovers cannot afford him getting another brace for the Socceroos.

Tim Cahill, is also in doubt with a heel injury. After Cahill's recent foot injuries I'm pretty sure Everton will not let him play despite him coming to Bahrain with the squad. Emerton in the past have not release Cahill for international matches, although this one fell on a international date.

Scott McDonald has a virus, probably influenza and cant fly to the squad, let alone play. He didn't play in Celtic's last match, so a plausible excuse.

Harry Kewell scored for Galatasary again, that's his 7th in 13 appearances. Last night he scored off a corner, seemed to miss time his arrival, but jumped backwards and headed forwards to score(watch the video).

World Cup Qualifier Bahrain v Australia
Thursday 20th November kickoff 02:00 am (on Foxsports 1).

OzzyFootball tip Sterjovski, to take Emertons spot on the right wing. And HOLMAN to take Cahill's Shadow striking attacking midfielder role.

Previously would have tipped Wilkshire to move forward and have another right fullback, but with the defense being so solid last game and having it already disrupted with Chipperfield and Moore being swapped for Carney and Coyne respectively you can see why some stability in this area would be important.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Craig Moore has testicular cancer

No Joke.
The 32-year-old was diagnosed last Thursday and underwent the procedure on the on Tuesday.
This means he will not play for the Socceroos against Bahrain. Ozzyfootball hopes Moore will have more luck with his balls and Coyne will take his place in the starting team.
A picture of the areas testicular cancer can effect is below.
Hopefully Moore returns lighter and therefore better, like Lance Armstrong.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Retirement Stoppervics Tony Popovic

I thought he'd either make himself available for the Socceroos again, or retire.
He's retired for Sydney FC as of now but will stay on as Kosmina's assistant coach.
Popovic is truly a great socceroo and these are my three most memorable moments of Popovic brilliance:
1. Scored the winner goal against England from a Lazaridis cross when we historically beat them away from home in 2003.
2. Scored what looked to be the winner in the last minutes of his own retirement match, he went off with lots of cheers, then his replacement scored an own goal and tied the game. (see photo).
3. He elbowed Recoba in the face from behind when he was the last defender and only copped yellow card... Australia went on to tie the series, win on penalties and go to Germany, where Popovic got a tournament ending injury...
He will be sorely missed.
In remembrance of him check out this hilarious youtube of his Crystal Palace days, this is Nicky Carle skill.

Comment on what you remember most about the Unstoppovic Tony Popovic.

Socceroos Squad will bring down 'the rain' in Manama

Mark Bresciano, Jacob Burns, Tim Cahill, David Carney, Chris Coyne, Jason Culina, Bruce Djite, Brett Emerton, Adam Federici, Richard Garcia, Vince Grella, Brett Holman, Josh Kennedy, Harry Kewell, Scott McDonald, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Michael Petkovic, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, Shane Stefanutto, Mile Sterjovski, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire.

Make up the 24 man squad to play Bahrain in Manama on Thursday the 20th of November. Will probably be only on Foxsports but I'm not sure of that or the time played yet.

Only Grella isn't a good chance of playing in this game. He's been added to the squad just in case he's miraculously healed, If they didn't put him in the squad and Kennedy performed a miracle on him he wouldn't be able to be flown over for the game.

Only one injury concern for Australia will make this game a possibly goal scoring cracker, maybe not as big as the 32-0 thrashing of American Samoa, but I'm guessing at least 4 goals for the socceroos.

The following is the Ozzy Football's choice of players and formation with Grella missing due to his hamstring injury.

What do you think? Tell us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mcdonald Scores Against Christiano and Co.

Celtic marksman Scott Mcdonald scored to put his team ahead in their home UEFA champions League tie against Manchester Utd. It occurred in the thirteenth minute, a sublime lob from inside the box, United stand-in keeper Ben Foster had no chance. United pegged it back in the sixth minute after half time, with Giggs heading home a keeper parried strike from CRonaldo.

It was a welcome for the home team after losing 3-0 away the last time they met ManYoo. Celtic manager Gordon Strachan had special praise for Mcdonald:

"It looked like calm finish from Scott.

"But what he has done in recent weeks has been phenomenal. He lost all his striking partners and he has tried to keep it going.

"He can be really pleased with himself. I wanted to keep him on as our experienced striker but he couldn't raise a gallop at the end."

Galatasaray ace Harry Kewell has a "hairline toe fracture" and been sidelined for UEFA Cup matchday 2, away to Benfica,Thursday (Friday morning AEDT). Dissapointing for both club and country given his hot form, scoring goals in the last two games including the winner on matchday one against Olympiakos.

He will apparently could be available for their w/e league match away to Fenerbahce but I doubt he will play, unless it's not really a fracture and they're just resting him.

Oh, and in worse news, the Adelaide Reds were beaten 3-0 away to J-League side Gamba Osaka in the first leg of the Asian Champions League Final. Apparently outplayed, but not without their own chances, Adelaide managed an own goal but not a goal of their own. People haven already started engraving Gamba Osaka name on the trophy and even the Australian media is stating that it's unlikely that Adelaide can score 4 goals in the return tie at home. But we don't need 4 goals, if Adelaide score 3 we can go to overtime and penalties. Scoring 3-0 in ninety minutes is an outside chance, but coming to an away venue with a lead to defend can do things to your mind. Gamba Osaka's coach will know they can't play too defensively so will obviously go for the early goal, to kill the game off. If Adelaide can use this time to catch them on the counter then game on, also don't forget the value of jet lag against teams flying all the way from Japan.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kewell Scores, Djite In, The Holman Delivers.

Another hectic week across Europe for our far flung socceroos.

Kewell continues to score for Galatasaray, netting the opener in a 3-1 league win over Gaziantepspor. The hot form continues for the left footed dynamo, subbed in the 63rd minute although hopefully only as a precaution. Good to see from the lad given all the "contraversy", he lets his boots do the talking.

In another Turkish league game Bruce Djite scored a consolation goal as his team Genclerbirligi lost 2-1 to Antalyaspor. His strike came just after half time, with Genclerbirligi already down by two goals.

Ozzy Football's favourite Brett Holman scored for his Dutch team AZ Alkmaar in a 3-3 draw away to Heerenveen. Coming off the bench in the in the 46th minute Holman put his team in the lead with a neat one two move. Holman played the ball through to his team mate on the edge of the box who one timed a bobbling pass laterally for the Aussie strike to run on and sweetly volley home, glancing off the right hand upright. The result puts AZ on top of the Dutch league on goal difference, ahead of Ajax and NAC Breda. Culina's PSV Einhoven secured a 2-0 win at home to Willem II Tilber in another Dutch league game.

Cahill's Everton squeaked home 1-0 winners over Fulham at Goodison Park. Fulham's Mark Schwartzer kept Everton out until substitue Louis Saha grabbed the winner. Apparently Cahill missed a sitter but set one up that was saved by Schwartzer, so all good then.

Marko Bresciano playing for Palermo, was sent off early in the 2nd half after receiving a second yellow card against Chievo Verona. His team was already ahead by three goals by that stage and managed to hold that advantage until the final whistle. Palermo had only taken one point from their last three games, so this was important for them, pity Bresciano took an early shower.

In contrast Celtic's Scott Mcdonald was fouled with a clear scoring opportunity by Inverness Caladonian defender Marius Zaliukas prompting a red card. The resulting penalty was missed by some other Celt (Paul Hartley) but it mattered not as Celtic was already 2-0 up and that's how the scoreline remained.

And that's about it for Aussie Footballers in Europe for now...