Thursday, March 5, 2009

Australia's difficult task against Kuwait

The Socceroos entertain Kuwait in Canberra this evening in a Group B qualifying match for the Asia Cup.

Victory is far from assured, as the recent 0-0 draw in Jakarta by a similar team, demonstrated.

The Australian 'B' side, made up of A-League players, has not inspired confidence to date and tonight's game will be no different.

Australia should win, but playing at 'home' is not necessarily a positive factor.

Canberra is not really a rabid hotbed of soccer and it will be interesting to see the attendance.

The Kuwaitis have been warming up in New Zealand, where they beat Auckland City 2-0 and Waitakere United 2-1.

I suggest that Canberra may be a levelling factor in that both sides could be regarded as 'the visitors'.

I would love Australia to win, but I have been disappointed too often in such contests to be overly confident of success.

If it was our complete overseas-based 'A' team in action, I would be very confident of us beating the side that is currently bottom of the group.

But, that is not the case. Our inability to score goals, even against mediocre opposition, leaves me worried.

The Australian squad is: Billy Celeski, Tom Pondeljak, Michael Theoklitos, Rodrigo Vargas, Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Ben Katarovski, Tarel Elrich, Matthew Thompson, Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Newcastle Jets), Fabian Barbiero, Robert Cornthwaite, Eugene Galekovic, Scott Jamieson, Daniel Mullen, Paul Reid (Adelaide United), Shannon Cole (Sydney FC), Dean Heffernan, Matt Simon, Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Matthew McKay, Craig Moore [captain], Mitch Nichols. Michael Zullo (Queensland Roar).

It's interesting that four of the players come from the bottom side in the A-League, Newcastle Jets, and that there are no representatives from Perth Glory.

Let's hope that the Queenslanders set the game on fire, as they did many an A-League match this season.

Oman tops Group B with 4 points from two games, while Indonesia is second with two points from two outings.

Australia lies third with one point from one game and Kuwait is fourth with no points from one game.

* * * * *

There's a good article about Northern Rangers in the April edition of "Australian Four Four Two", which is in newsagencies now.

Whoever is responsible for the piece - someone from Northern Rangers, I presume - well done!

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