Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TRBA Euro 2008 Blog on FourFourTwo

....and a spot on the ongoing Socceroos wc qualifiers

JUST in case you were wondering where my analysis of the Socceroos 1-0 loss to Iraq in Dubai on md4, my apologies, I've been getting up early mornings, frantically jockeying between the IQ and the HDD recorder, watching Euro 2008.

I did watch the Roos match, choosing that live over the Euros opener, but just haven't found the time to punch out my thoughts. In short, I felt our luck finally ran out, and once Emad Mohammed's wonder strike (I'd rather believe, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Schwarzer creep off his line) gave the 'hosts' the upper-hand, Verbeek's negative tactics and Australia's propensity in the second half of the second half to knock unimaginative crosses into Kennedy from deep positions on the left and right (Carney was the most culpable, with Wilkshire, pushed to the right side of defence to allow Emerton to bomb on, not far behind) really didn't give the Roos a chance.

Brett Holman looked dangerous early in the second period, combining well with Kewell. At that point the Socceroos were still trying to play on the counter and pinch an equaliser, but when Kennedy and McDonald came on, the momentum shifted, Iraq retreated and the Socceroos resorted to route one, trying to picking up some second ball scraps.

Alas, there was no such luck, or no Timmy Cahill, the master of the second ball.

On the flip side, at least the defending was better than md3, with Coyne looking ok and North having another excellent game, while Wilkshire, Culina and Valeri worked the house down in midfield.

Now comes a tricky md5 tie in Doha, and on the evidence of this md2 home victory over Iraq, the Qataris will take some beating at the Al Saad. Certainly, against China last week, they continued to look organised, despite having their share of luck. Forsatti, who has done so well since the debacle in Melbourne, might finally have his revenge.

The Socceroos would do well to be weary of the duel South American threat that is Cesar and Soria, and must not give away free kicks anywhere near the box. Cesar can sure deliver a ball.

Another loss, coupled with an Iraqi win over China -very likely given China's lack of potency up front - will sure make for a nervous md6 back in Sydney.

All eyes will sure be on Doha...with all fingers crossed.

But in the meantime, if you've been tuning into the Euros, or you can't get access but wish to keep up with the analysis and debate, be sure to check out my Euro 2008 Blog over at FourFourTwo.

If you didn't catch up with the news earlier today, for the next few week's I'll be sharing my thoughts on the tournament on FourFourTwo, but will continue to dissect our World Cup campaign and all things round ball over here. My first Euro 2008 piece is here, so be sure to pop by and say hello.


Anonymous sev said...

After several games with Pim Verbeek being incharge, do you feel he is doing well for us?

Thu. Jun. 12, 01:49:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Michael said...

There were some very strange personnel choices Verbeek put on the field. It looked like he was hoping for a nil-all draw and was caught out by the surprise goal. However, his reluctance to encourage players to get down the flanks, or attack (by dribbling and interplay) near the box was worrying. It seems nobody, Kewell included, is prepared to try to make a move (a la Michael Essien, Cristiano Ronaldo, Joe Cole, Lionel Messi) to go THROUGH defences. Where is the attack boys? The only one to try was Holman, yet we know that Kewell has done this sort of thing for Liverpool. So why is he hanging around trying to distribute to others in the middle when he's the striker?? These are worrying times and the Socceroos are teetering nervously close to failing to qualify for the next round.

Thu. Jun. 12, 11:31:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Richard Green said...

The 3-0 win over Qatar is probably the worst thing that could have happened. Whilst it came from the fact that Qatar played at some tiny fraction of what they were capable of, it gave the impression that the long ball uncreative tactics would work. A lacklustre performance against China and an extremely fortunate win over Iraq continued to mask things.
But now, despite the fact that Australia keeps looking most threatening when the ball is on the ground, they're obviously getting the message to plonk it in the air all the time. Maybe Pim thinks that Orientals are a craven dwarf race we can tower over, but it's neither effective, nor even playing to the strengths of the players he has.

Thu. Jun. 12, 12:27:00 pm AEST  
Blogger James said...

I'm hopeful that the extra acclimitisation will help. It was never going to be easy to fly from Europe to Aus, Aus to the Middle East and back to Aus for four matches in the space of a few weeks. One win, one loss is acceptable business so far. Let's hope for at least a fighting draw and fair(-ish) play from Qatar.

Congrats on the 442 gig, Tony. Well deserved I must say.

Thu. Jun. 12, 02:49:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous wayne said...

Congratulations Tony on the Gig, if you're not careful you might show them how to write some real anaysis while you're there...

Fri. Jun. 13, 11:26:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

hi all, thanks for your comments and kind words...

sev, in terms of results, it's a little hard to fault, but like everyone, i'd like to see a bit more style and attacking intent...certainly havent been as thrilled with his work since kunming and certinaly have been disappointed not to see carle in the recent phase, at the very least off the bench.

having said that, when PV did join, as a last minute option, i did say the first phase was all about getting as long as he does that, we should be relatively happy...

you could even argue the 2nd phase is all about getting through casue we all want to be in south africa...

but naturally we all want to play with a bit of class and we probably wont get there if we dont show some

so i hope he can tap into the aussie mentality a bit (like guus did), and thats a natural inclination to press on a bit...

having never played of been near such oppressive conditions, it's a little hard to be too critical.

michael, no doubt he was playing for 0 all and the goal caught him out...overall, i felt his response was average...

richard, good to hear from ya, i was mystified by some comments from PV saying it was the players that decided to plonk the ball in...looked to me like they were playing to a strategy...was that your impression?

james and wayne, thanks, good to hear from you both, hope you're keeping well...

james, given the build-up and the negativity that seems to pervade atm, a good, morale lifting performance would be just the recipe, with at least a point, hopefully 3.

Sat. Jun. 14, 03:51:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Jesse Fink said...

Mate, congrats on the FourFourTwo blog. Going mainstream? When you're Socceroos coach, I'll be needing a job... J

Mon. Jun. 16, 09:20:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

...Mate, congrats on the FourFourTwo blog. Going mainstream? When you're Socceroos coach, I'll be needing a job... J...

Thanks Jess, when I'm Socceroos boss I promise I'll give Nick Carle a run :-)

Thu. Jun. 19, 08:28:00 pm AEST  

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