Socceroos v. Paraguay
Alright I can’t really say much on this game, as I was at work. It was the first on home soil of Holger Osieck’s Socceroos career, and I’m just going to spit out what I’ve read from match reports as well as the highlights I have viewed of course.
Firstly, Paraguay are a decent side, playing the World Cup and having a very organised, defensive look about them. They almost knocked out Spain in the 2010 World Cup Quarter Finals, and probably should have, with a perfectly ok goal ruled out for offside and a penalty miss to make matter worse. They had two goalless draws with New Zealand and Japan, while a respectable 1-1 draw to Italy and a 2-0 victory over Slovakia completed their games. The team here had 6 of the players that started in the Quarter Final against Spain, but to be honest I don’t fully know how strong their line-up was.
Anyway the Socceroos won 1-0 against the Paraguay team and apparently it could and should have been more. Osieck played a 4-4-2 and stayed true to his word that the team would play attacking football. Blackpool defender, David Carney, scored the winner in the 53rd minute with an effort just inside the box.
Jade North was for some unknown reason preferred to Michael Thwaite, who I believe fully deserved to play the match judging on recent performances. Stuff North, he’s a shit c*nt, but apparently he had a solid game so good on him. He was joined by Jon McKain who plays in Saudi Arabia for Al-Nassr. They were joined in defence by Wilkshire and Carney. Mile Jedinak was preferred to Carl Valeri to accompany Culina in the heart of midfield, while Kewell and Garcia took up the flanks. Up front Tim Cahill surprisingly made the line-up despite injury concerns with Josh Kennedy leading the attack.
The Socceroos had the majority of chances, with Cahill, Culina and Kennedy, all coming close in the first half. Carney then scored what ultimately turned out to be the winner, and McKain made a clearance virtually off the goal line after Schwarzer was beaten late on. McDonald got a run in the 61st minute and was involved in a altercation with a few Paraguayan players, while Brosque and Vidosic got limited time on the pitch.
The only bad thing I can say about this game was the lack of experimentation. Yes, he has gone and played Cahill up front in what was a 4-4-2. However I would have preferred to see him use both McDonald and Kennedy up front with Cahill in support. The fact he also gave Vidosic and Brosque laughable experience was also disappointing. I can see that he wanted to win his first game on home soil, however the Socceroos are in need of a completely new direction and need to blood more youngsters to prepare for the future. Perhaps he is taking a progressive route in implementing theses changes, at least I hope so. For the game against Egypt next month I’m looking forward to seeing a bit more daring in the line-up. We know Kewell, Cahill and Schwarzer can play in any team, give the fringe players a go, especially the younger ones.
The crowd was also a disappointing 25,000, way below what should be expected for the first home game for the National team since the 2010 World Cup.
On a brighter note, Josh Kennedy is no longer Jesus. His locks are gone. First I’d heard/seen of it. Fancy that.