Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Australia 4-0 India: It should have been a cricket score

Australia 4-0 India


Australia laboured to a 4-0 win over India in their opening Group C match at the Asian Cup in Qatar this morning [Australian time].

India rank 142nd in the world and the result did nothing to enhance the prestige of the Socceroos, who had 72 per cent of possession. It should have been a cricket score.

The Australians completed in excess of 600 passes successfully, compared to India’s 150 or so.

But, in what was Australia’s 450th senior international match, the score-line should have been much higher.

Australia were tentative and not adventurous against The Bhangra Boys. Too often, they played the ball square or backwards when they should have utilised their skills more confidently and turned on the ball and headed forward. They were caught off-side 10 times to India’s none. At one point, four Australians were caught standing off-side inside the box.

There was little to enthuse about in this match. India had two chances. In the 14th minute, NP Pradeep fired straight at Schwarzer, while 5 minutes from the end, a long high ball into the Australian penalty area found Sasho Ognenovski out of position. The centre-back recovered just in time to foil Sunil Chhetri, who failed to control the ball and then tumbled over Schwarzer, who had grasped the ball to his chest.

India have not scored a goal in this tournament since 1964, when they reached the semi-finals, and they were certainly finding it difficult to break that ‘duck’.

India’s goalkeeper, Subrata Pal, had a fine game and made some good saves, but he rarely had to extend himself against a poor Australian attack.

The goals were well worked and left one wondering why there could not have been more against a defence that was far from solid. One of the goals came from a low, square ball into the penalty area, while Kewell’s came from a full-blooded drive from 25 metres. The other two came from headers, one of which was from a set-piece. There were, however, too many aimless high balls into the box that were easily cleared by the India defence.

Scott McDonald came on as a substitute with 18 minutes remaining but was unable to break his ‘duck’ at international level.

Tim Cahill opened the scoring in the 11th minute from Brett Emerton’s low ball into the box from the right.

Kewell made it 2-0 in the 25th minute when he collected Luke Wilkshire’s ball on the right and cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable shot inside the far post from just outside the penalty area.

Subrata then denied Cahill twice in the space of three minutes, while Ognenovski headed a corner over the bar.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Emerton crossed from the right and Holman headed home the Socceroos’ third.

Cahill and Emerton were off target early in the second half, but in the 65th minute, Cahill headed home Kewell’s free-kick from the right to complete the scoring.

This was little more than a training match for the Socceroos and they should certainly have done better.

There have already been a couple of upsets in this tournament and it would be premature to sing South Korea’s praises yet. But, on this display, Australia will have to do a lot better to topple the Red Devils in their next match.

Australia should, nevertheless, be good enough to qualify for the round of eight, providing they win against Bahrain.


Australia: Schwarzer - Wilkshire, Neill, Ognenovski, Carney - Emerton (Burns 77), Culina, Jedinak (McKay 62), Holman - Cahill, Kewell (McDonald 72)

Goals: Cahill 11, Kewell 25, Holman 45+2, Cahill 65

India: Subrata Pal; Anwar Ali, Deepak Mondal, Surkumar Singh, Gouramangi Singh, NP Predeep (Mehrajuddin Wadoo 62), Climax Lawrence, Steven Dias (Renedy Singh 79), Syed Rahim Nabi, Sunil Chhetri, Mohammed Rafi (Abhishek Yadav 63)

Ref: Ali Hamad Al Badwawi (UAE)


Anonymous said...

It was a cricket score. The Aussies didn't score many more during the Ashes series just gone. :-D

melikesfootball said...

How come teams like Kingborough will be forced to play a 3-4-3 formation as set down from heaven, when our National team has just played a 4-4-2?

Anonymous said...


I agree that it wasn't a great performance, however, it is difficult trying to break down any team that sets up to frustrate. I think sometimes against smaller nations/teams you need to play the simple ball and it will eventually open up, as it did.

The Indians were very tidy at times, but the ozzies physicaly, looked like men against boys.

Anonymous said...

very good comment bit of bull by FFA playing stupid formations 4-3-3 force crap formation just sending that club to div 1

Anonymous said...

Anonymous January 11, 2011 1:12 PM,
Get with the times! 4-3-3 and its subtle variations (eg. 4-2-3-1) is now common practice around the world with Barcelona, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Real Madrid, etc. all playing it.

With so much emphasis on possession football and pressing in the transition, its crucial that you have an extra player in the middle of the park.
Pressing against a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 with a 4-4-2 can be seen when Germany beat AUS 4-0, ENG 4-1 and Argentina 4-0.

Too many people in Tassie need to get out of the dark ages of old English style football.

melikesfootball said...

Can someone please explain what anon 1.25 is trying to say. I have read it several times, but his point is lost on me.

Anonymous said...

I think he seems to think a 4-3-3 will beat a 4-4-2 regardless of players involved. Nothing to do with the teams he quoted actually being stronger than there opposition!

442,4321,433. It doesn't matter what you try, it's down to having the correct type of players working to a system. If 442 is old style English football, why did AC.Milan dominate in Europe for years playing a 4-4-2, or Man U currently top of PL playing a 4-4-2??

melikesfootball said...

Thanks for the explanation, so Verbeek stuffed up, if we played a 433, we may have beaten the Germans...In our deepest dreams me thinks!

surf's up said...

Interesting to see South Hobart playing something like 4-3-3 in their practice matches this year.

Me, I'm a 3-1-4-2 man myself

Anonymous said...

Australia had 81% of the possession, according to passing stats.

Australia also won 50 more one on one duels than they lost.

This is amazing!

Given India's inexperience, this is still a notable achievement, but I would have liked to see more central passing interplay in the attacking third. There was one episode which culminated in a shot from a sequence of passes by Kewell, Holman and Cahill. Unfortunately we didn't see it enough.

However, with 19% of the possession, India had 3 shots on goal, and went close to scoring. Australia had about 15 shots on goal, five of them going in.


Anonymous said...

Kewell's performance had some positives. As the target forward he dribbled around 2 defenders successively on 3 occasions. He also dribbled around 1 defender on 1 other occasion. This is good. Unfortunately, he has lost pace and can't beat players on the wing like he could once.

Kewell also had a pass completion rate of 97% - the highest figure of any Australian player in the target forward position in the last three years. This was often under a degree of pressure too.

One thing that he and Cahill seem able to do that McDonald can't, is find space. McDonald has more trouble shaking his markers. This means he is constantly playing the ball under pressure.

Emerton probably had a modest game for him, but he did manage 8 crosses into the box.

Holman also scored an excellent headed goal. The guy has become more clinical around goal. His work rate was phenomenal against India, executing 50 passes, mainly in a wide position.

What concerns me is tha lack of tight combination play in the central attacking third. Holman often produces effective dummy runs, creating space for other payers, but Kewell and Cahill don't produce clever interplay in conjunction with an attacking midfielder enough.

Australia needs a Marcus Flores type player who has great vison and can open up packed defences in tight spaces. Nick Carle is the only player I can think of who can carry this role out. Who else is there?

What concerns me is how we are going to break down South Korea other than crosses into the box for Cahill.


Anonymous said...

Mile Jedinak has been criticised for a lackadaisical performance against India by some fans.

Jedinak played 46 completed passes against India. He had a 96% pass completion rate which is good. He only had 88% against UAE.

In both games he often had a lot of time on the ball and plenty of space. India gave all our players this luxury. UAE played a deeper attacking line on the right flank, than their left, giving Carney and Jedinak more space. Jedinak can struggle when forced to operate in the tighter spaces a team like South Korea will force on Australia.

Jedinak effected 2 interceptions and 1 turnover against India. He also won 3 more one on one duels than he lost, including 3 tackles, but for the first time all Australian players were in the ascendancy in this facet of the game! Nevertheless, he got through some grafting work against India.

What he didn't do was link up as well with Holman, Carney and Ogger on the left side as Matt McKay. Carney was able to play with more support than when Jedinak was on the pitch. The Roar player covers more ground and more quickly than Jedinak.

Jedinak and Valeri, to a lesser extent, are dribbled around by opposition players more easily than Culina and McKay.

Anonymous said...

The advantage of the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with Australia is that the Socceroos can disturb more opposition build-ups in the attacking half of the pitch.

Often Australia has had too much distance between the central midfielders and the two strikers in the
4-4-2 that Osieck has employed compared to the 4-3-3 /4-2-3-1 Verbeek used.

When Verbeek used the 4-4-2 against Germany in the first part of the match of the World Cup, Schweinsteiger was unmarked. Half way through the first half Verbeek moved Grella onto Scheinstieher in a 4-3-3 and negated his effect.

This team operated best with a 4-3-3. Against better sides the current 4-4-2 will be, and has been exposed. Very good counterattacking Italian teams often work well with a 4-4-2. The Socceroos are not a very good counter attacking team.


Anonymous said...

It is true what someone has said. A good team playing a 4-4-2 will be more successful than a bad team playing a 4-3-3.

Han Berger/Rob Baan intend to have all Australian teams playing variations of the 4-3-3 well, rather than the ad hoc approach of FFA in the past. We have had an ad hoc approach and inadequate tactical training for coaches in the past.

Those pundits who claim we should use a diversity of formations assume all coaches have a working knowledge of all the formations. There has been no baseline knowledge and incremental coaching of any one formation in the past.

Hopefully, we should be able to play a 4-3-3 and its 8 or 9 manifestations well in the future.


Anonymous said...

DAN reckons:

It would be good to have Ersam Gulum in the squad to play at left back. Osieck chased him hard, even met him in person, just machinations had already taken him Turkey's way by then. Though yeah, in hindsight, Holger could've/should've selected him for Egypt, but heck, given the pressure already coming from Turkey, awell as his father's input, it still would've been difficult for him.

The blame really goes with the previous regime for not calling him up around a year ago, when he was impressing in Turkey's second tier, with the very, league leading form that saw Besiktas chase him up. Verbeek was impressive chasing him some other dual internationals, but they were lax on Gulum and one wonders if the 'Arnie factor' had some sway there too, as apparently he fell out with Arnie, back circa the Olyroos 08, when he was with the Olyroos under Baan, but then never selected once Arnie took charge.

We could've capped him several times a year ago, back well before the Turkish press, fans etc... even noticed him and as I suggested, he was an Olyroo only a couple years before. So it certainly is quite a loss, but there's wider responsibility here, than just in Osieck's hands - Osieck wasn't to know, he had poor information too, but it's not helped that Viddie as his assistant was also new/as oblivious as he was - But atleast we can be thankful Arnie is no longer an assistant. Had he been, then Gulum may've chosen Turkey even sooner.

Anonymous said...

David Carney has copped heaps of flack from fans around Australia.

He has gained in confidence as the last two matches have progressed. Nevertheless, he has been under minimal pressure with a lot of time on the ball against UAE and India.

I feel sorry for the guy. He has been a natural wide left player, but because of a dearth of talent for the Socceroo left back position, he has been forced into a defensive role. This was enginered by Graham Arnold at the last Asian Cup. His club career has seen him putting himself forward as a left back. He is better going forwards than defending.

Against India he made few mistakes. He had a 93% pass completion rate, including 100% in the defensive half.

He won 3 more one on one duels than he lost.

Carney played 6 crosses into the box.

This is a reasonable return.

Also, he has linked quite well with Ognenovski and Holman on the left side. This has been particularly apparent when McKay plays at left midfield. McKay keeps the distances more compact on the left flank. He links well with Holman, Carney and Ognenovski defensively. Cohesion of players is important. Optimal distancing is paramount. McKay is more effective in the left midfield role than Jedinak or Valeri (in current form) in terms of keeping the Socceroos in a compact shape.

Given Australia has four competent right backs in Wilkshire, Emerton, Culina and North, surely one of them could be successful at right back? All of them have better defensive qualities than Carney. Let Carney play as a left winger and play his more natural game.

All decent sides we play against target this defensive left area as a weakness to be exploited.


Anonymous said...

good suggestion....spiranovic is a good replacement for carney. Is it bahrain next? We should be using these first two games to fine tune for the koreans whilst learning to go for the throat once we are in front. We have to have a no mercy approach when we are leading.


Anonymous said...


Always thought Eddie Bosnar should have been selected for the Asian Cup? Apparently he his going off in the J-League. What is the story with his omission?

Anonymous said...

I agree that it wasn't a great performance, however, it is difficult trying to break down any team that sets up to frustrate. I think sometimes against smaller nations/teams you need to play the simple ball and it will eventually open up, as it did.

The Indians were very tidy at times, but the ozzies physicaly, looked like men against boys. Written by Anonymous.

Australia won 50 more one on one duels against India. Every Socceroo was in the ascendancy.

This is unprecedented in the last 3 years!


Kanga said...

Fame 5.19pm, it's Korea next, mate! If we don't win that one, then it's backs-to-the-walls stuff in the final game against Bahrain. Typical situation for the Aussies. It would be a huge help if we can beat the Koreans.

Anonymous said...

There were some postives for this game - one is the way we play with Kewell upfront. It is ALWAYS better. I love Kennedy and all, but we stupidly get into a tendency to long ball it too much, when he's on the park.

But Kewell pretty much forces Wilks, Emmo and the rest to play it along the ground more, atleast to the point of crossing from the byline.

We're at our strongest with Kewell upfront, with not just our most lethal, but strongest line up, across the board.

I guess the Og' was certainly solid, pardon the pun, too. He will surely start all the matches this tournament and he could well secure that CB spot entering into the World Cup Qualifiers later this year too, at this rate.

Though a Kisnorbo returning from injury (IN the Championship with Leeds too, as opposed to League One) will have something to say about that, as too 'hopefully' Spiranovic becoming a regular again, for Urawa.

The Og' is great and everything, including a great story - late bloomers are often a nice story - but we will be a better side for a longer period of time, once Spira can finally step up and the sooner he can, the better we can work towards a guy to supplant/replace Neill too.


Anonymous said...

BILL thinks....
The performance I'd rate ok overall. Not good not bad, ok. Also I bet no one thought the Socceroos were "hopeless" at half time, the second half was just lazy.
Agree there is some demented criticism, like saying the team were "hopeless". Of course there is 100 or so places differing in the FIFA rankings, regardless a 4-0 win is solid. Why threaten injury with high intensity football for 90 minutes? There were positives to mention as opposed to harping on the negatives; we had 3 different scorers which is great considering our form finding the net.
Agree there were things to constructively criticize. All our goals came from the right side. The left side which had Carney about half the time trying to help with the build up was feeble. Holman though was reasonable. Also we do play long balls too much. This game did show though we can actually play it pretty well on the ground so hopefully we minimize the hoof-ball.

Anonymous said...

Good wrap, Walter.

I note Decentric quoted different pass completion rates from those of Fox Sports.

Alf Ramsey

Anonymous said...

With Bosnar's mooted selection in this Asian Cup, he has the ball skills similar to guys like Ognenovski and Kisnorbo but often tries some pretty daring passes, a lot that has seen him get caught out of position by giving the ball away. Can't remember who he was playing against but when he was at JEF, he tried to bring the ball out of defence and attempted a 40 yard throughball along the ground, it ended up getting intercepted and the opposing team did a counterattack and scored. Obviously it's not like that happens every time with him, but it has happened on occasion. Ogger seems to be doing the job ATM.


Anonymous said...

mick says,,

happy with a 4-0 but it couldve and really shouldve been more

the linesman was a joke in the 1st half, so many bad calls and the ref didnt do a great job either.

2nd half was poor, sloppy play..slow...we'll get smashed by Korea if we play like that.

but as you know, when you play better opposition you tend to play better as well.

Anonymous said...

Apples and oranges really! 4-0 is comprehensive and good enough. Teams that usually clock up Hockey scores in their first games are teams who peak early and come home early. I thought the performance was fine but hard to tell because the opposition really are not of this tournaments standard. We won't really know where we are until the next game.

Anonymous said...


Cahill headed a goal which should have been allowed. It was ruled offside. The replay showed he was onside.

It should have been 5-0.

Anonymous said...

Carney was awful. How many crosses into the box did he waste. Also playing too narrow, never went outside his man to get some width going.

They have put up missing person posters of Jedinak in Qatar.

I am so sick of seeing this long ball rubbish. Every single time it comes out of the back via a long ball and it's frustrating. Why can't we keep it on the ground ? Neill gets it, punched up field. So frustrating.

Emerton played well. Him and Timmy were the highlights.


Anonymous said...

SCOTT said:
Burns was pretty impressive, his touch and vision were both great. I was also impressed with Brett Holman, his recent form is crucial to the Socceroos progressing in the tournament IMHO. I would have liked to have seen Scott Mac introduced earlier as well.

Anonymous said...

Good on India for trying to play the game properly throughout, rather than resorting to gamesmanship with dives or attempts to hold up play or milk penalties the way some other Asian teams have done in the past. Despite being down on the scoresheet it was nice to see them still trying to take the game to Australia in the moments when they had possession.


Anonymous said...

RIDER says...

4 - 0 win against India it’s wonderful; but it could’ve been a missed opportunity to perfect the team’s strategy.

We need to be known for a particular form of play and be good if not the best at it. Unfortunately I didn’t see any strategy, but long balls and loss of possessions in crucial moments and sectors, I guess you can do that and get away with it against India.

Maybe we can blame the anxiety triggered by the memories of the previous Asian Cup?

Then please bring on young guns with no fear.

Anonymous said...

Three headed goals out of five (including Cahill's wrongly disallowed offside goal) against worse than mediocre opposition. The first goal was well worked down the right flank but otherwise, it's pretty agricultural out there in Socceroo land, with more long balls than a Jack Charlton coaching video. I don't like MacDonald, Holman or a David Carney clearly not playing regular football, but we don't have better. I think this level is beyond Kruse at the moment but at least he can beat.


Anonymous said...

For those posters who think Australia played a plethora of long, high balls in the India game, Australia played 6.

This equates to 1% of total passes. This is the lowest figure I've recorded for any team in any game!!!
There were other long passes, but not not long, high, speculative balls. A high figure, like the odd A League team, is circa 7%.


Anonymous said...

Disgusted with the Australian performance. With no pressure we played too much predictable long ball & appeared to have no strategy whatsoever. People will put this down to the quality of the opposition but hey, other teams have beaten India by 9-0 & 6-0. A very poor disciplined performance by Australia. If you cannot out pass India you cannot out pass Japan or Korea. OMG, QLD Roar could have beaten his this team by 15-0.

The Birdman

Anonymous said...

Carpet said:

Disappointed with Jedinak in midfield. Carney looked average.

McDonald didn't gel but had little time to do so.

Attacking strategy was way too predictable - crosses from wide almost every time. Kewell's creative intricacy down the middle needs to be utilised more often in attacking forays.

And the slowness of older bodies vs a quick Korea is a looming concern.

Anonymous said...

It is good to see so much discussion about the Asian Cup. It is a big tournament - the biggest for the Socceroos outside the World Cup. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone else is becoming frustrated trauling through Decentric's increasingly frequent and overly verbose rants obviously designed to create an image of intelligence.

Who cares whether a player had 97% effciency in passing. What counts is effectiveness. I watched the Tassie defenders vs CCM passing the ball with accuracy around its own backline under minimal pressure most of the night but how effective were these passes?

Give me 1/2 dozen defence splitting passes creating good scoring opportunities any day ...

Anonymous said...

Agree Anon 9.20 pm. Stats can be very misleading. Kewell may have had a pass completion of 97% for instance, but how effective was he really? A very poor imitation of the old Harry (I'd still play him mind). And regardless of what Decentric's stats may say, Australia played far too many balls into channels, long or not, and hit too many balls into the box from poor areas. Distribution from the back was also aimless. Shoddy performance. No improvement in our style at all under Osiek.

As for 1-on-1 "duels" Decentric?. What is this? Fencing? :-)

Mike Bassett (Why are we playing 44 f-ing 2?)

England Manager