Sunday, 18 November 2007

One point away from an Olympic berth

Watched the Olyroos for the second time in their bid for an Olympic berth. Had watched them once before but it was good to see them on a normal sized screen and with English speaking commentators (not that I have anything against the Saudi commentators I am sure they are very good job I just couldn't understand a word they were saying. Kudos must also be given to the SBS for showing this match although would have liked it better without the delay. This brings me to the point that if they could show this game why couldn't show the other home games. Everyone's favourite football analyst, Craig Foster made some comment at the end of the game that we should be packing the stadiums for Olympic qualifiers. Maybe a bit more media exposure would help and sharing the games around the country a bit more. The only people to see the campaign this time around have been the people of Adelaide, Newcastle and Gosford. I am sure the people of Queensland, Victoria, ACT and Western Australia would have all liked a glimpse of these future Socceroos in action.

With that off my chest, its now onto the game. Standout performers for the Olyroos for me were in no particular order Troisi, Leijer, Milligan, Sarkies and Topor-Stanley. Not everything was perfect and periods of the game were quite scrappy. There was also some worries when the Iraqis took complete control of the midfield (I already knew the result before watching the game so I wasn' t that concerned) after conceding the first goal and it wasn't until we scored the second goal that they became disheartened. We could have been a tad lucky not to finish the match with only ten men after an incident between Milligan and the Iraqi 'keeper only minutes before he scored the sealer.

Its now off to the Pyongyang for the final match and we only now need a point to make it through to the Olympics. There was heaps of talk last night about the fact that we will be playing the game on an artificial pitch. It had all the connotations of that we were looking for an excuse just in case we don't get the result we need. Artificial pitches are a fact of life in the football world now and will be played on more and more, so just get over the fact.

Go Olyroos!


Blogger Cecilia said...

Sarkies had a great game, and its unfortunate that he doesn't seem to be able to replicate the free kicks or general form to the A-League stage. Perhaps a bit more maturation should do the trick.

It was great to see Leijer play again, he really stepped up in season 2 and it's good to see that he's still progressing. Looked to be a bit rusty to start with, but settled in and off he went. :)

Topor-Stanley is too big and too slow. Too often the nimble Iraqis would just scoot past him, and there was nothing that Hyphen could do to recuperate. Hopefully other teams don't see this as a weak spot and put zippy right wingers on.

Milligan impressed me. I don't want him to, but he seems to have a real presence on the pitch (even if we exclude the elbow incident). He's confident and very cool on the ball and under pressure. He just needs to remove that silly temper or at least tone it down, and perhaps I'll be a bit more supportive of him when not wearing sky blue.

Personal favourite Vukovic was a bit quiet, but he was alert at all times which is most important when not always physically involved in the game. Now all we need is for him to take the #2 goalkeeping spot for the senior team! Swooning-bias aside, I do think he's the right man for the job.

18 November 2007 at 18:41  
Blogger Neil said...

Thanks for your analysis, Cecilia. It was remiss not to mention the efforts of Trent McLenehan on his wing. Know absolutely nothing about this guy but played an outstanding game and impressed me immensely. Seems a bit of waste that he is playing first division in England.

19 November 2007 at 12:50  

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