Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Same old chestnuts

In the lead up to their quarter final clash with Australia it is interesting to see that the Japanese papers are again rolling out the line that the Socceroos are a physical and 'dirty' team, statements that were made by the team and coach at the last World Cup. Maybe the country is having flashbacks to events in Kaiserslautern just over twelve months ago and are worrying about a repeat. However I believe those events won't have an effect the Japanese who look like a much stronger and more coherent squad than the team that last faced the Socceroos. A danger man for the Socceroos is Shunsuke Nakamura who controls the Japanese midfield and has been in great form for both his club and country and is extremely dangerous at set pieces. So the Australians will have to be careful about giving away free kicks around the penalty area and control his influence in the midfield. Nakamura is not the only danger as the Japanese team is playing well as a unit under the management of Bosnian, Ivica Osim.
Now to the team I believe should take the field for the Socceroos. Excellent performances from Carney, Milligan and Beauchamp means that they should retain their positions in the starting XI. For me, Wilkshire who has been suspended due to his yellow card count will make way for the return of Neill, although he has been in poor form this tournament. A more suitable position for Neill would be at right back, a position that he occupies at club level rather than the central position he has been playing for the national team. I would keep both Kewell and Cahill on the bench and bring them on as impact players in the second half or earlier if needed. Hopefully the team can build on the improvement shown in the game against Thailand and provide a good contest for the Japanese and maybe they can pull off the same sort of result as the last time the two teams met.

Go Socceroos!


Blogger Tony Carr said...


Great blog (despite the subject matter of this last post). Was in Thailand for the last group game and to watch the game from Hanoi. Am very distraught, will have to turn my attention to the Victory.


PS -If more Victory players rather then Sydney FC players got a run in the national side do you think the result would have been different? Or are our best players under-studies to the European based guys?

23 July 2007 at 21:16  
Blogger Neil said...

I don't think the inclusion of more Victory players than Sydney FC players would have affected the results of our campaign at the Asian Cup. Only possible inclusions to the current squad from the Victory team would have been Leijer and Allsopp. Leijer is probably a couple of years off the national squad and sadly Allsopp's chance of national team action is only as a bit player.

23 July 2007 at 21:33  

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