Friday, 13 July 2007

Is it too harsh to call them the Suckeroos?

What can I say. I am a little lost for words after seeing the Socceroos go down 3-1 to Iraq in their second group game of the Asian Cup. I headed down to the Royal Melbourne Hotel with some friends to hopefully see them pull off a win against Iraq, but unfortunately I sadly left left the premises not only a little worse for wear but also extremely disappointed by the performance of our national team. There was one change to the team that played Oman on Sunday night with the inclusion of Brett Holman for Mile Sterjovski. A well taken free kick and some poor defense by Australia saw the Iraqis go ahead midway through the first half. The Socceroos hit back early in the second half with Viduka getting on the end of a well weighted Emerton cross (the first decent cross I've ever seen him make) to score his ninth international goal. The Socceroos then dominated play after this goal and created a number of chances to take the lead. However this dominance was all for nothing as the Iraqis scored on the hour mark through Hawar Mulla Mohammed who was put clean through on goal and made no mistake. This really seemed to suck the wind out of the Socceroos even with the arrival of Cahill (who came on at half time for Holman), Thompson (a big cheer from the Victory fans in the RMH when this happened) and Aloisi. The final nail was put in the coffin when Karrar Jassim Mohammed scored the third goal for the Iraqis in the 86th minute (there was a hint of offside but it didn't really matter).

I don't think there was any player that could hold their head high after the match as it was a pretty poor performance overall but I must single out Lucas Neill for criticism for not only somehow getting a second yellow card and thus missing the all important match against Thailand on Monday night, but also for his poor play throughout the game. Someone must tell him that chipping balls from halfway into the box is not going to help the team score goals. The second two Iraqi goals were the result of our midfield not dropping back to support our defense and leaving too much work for the defenders. We didn't seem to keep the ball on the ground for long enough and it seemed like we were doing little chips all the time and no one could probably keep the ball under control and thus ruining any attacking moves that the team was making. But some credit must be given to the Iraqis who apart from a brief spell in the second half, outplayed the Socceroos for most of the game,

Our future in the tournament is now out of our hands even if we do beat Thailand in the next game as we have to rely on results going our way in the match between Iraq and Oman. Unfortunately, I believe we don't really deserve to progress any further in the tournament.


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