Tag Archives: asian-cup

Weekend musing – Drew Morphett, Nathan Buckley, All Australian team, Chris Scott, Ange Postecoglou

One of things I want to discuss is the tragic passing of Drew Morphett. Drew was one of those classic ABC commentators who was comfortable commentating on anything from football to athletics to tiddlywinks. He was always interested in presenting the picture to the audience and not pumping up his own tyres. In a pretty cut-throat industry I think he was universally liked by his peers. He will be missed.

I was also pleased that Nathan Buckley was reappointed as Collingwood coach for another two years as this will consign Collingwood to another two years out of the finals. It has to be good for the competition.

It was interesting to see that three of the banned Essendon players made the All Australian team with Hurley the only player to have made the team previously. Unfortunately for Essendon, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) and Michael Hibberd (Melbourne) no longer play for the club. What it does show is that a year out of the game is not fatal for a player in his 20’s, but perhaps once you get to thirty it is not a positive experience.

Chris Scott took Geelong into another finals series last night and his fellow coaches recently voted him as the hardest coach to coach against. He certainly has had a lot of success since taking over from Bomber Thompson, however, his finals record needs some scrutiny. Since the 2011 finals series where Geelong won three games, including the premiership, but with the loss to Richmond, he has now contested a further nine finals for only two wins and one of those wins was over Hawthorn last year when Isaac Smith had a shot after the siren that could have taken the game away from Geelong. I think a few questions need to be posed as to Scott’s finals coaching record.

Speaking of coaches I cannot believe that Ange Postecoglou has come under so much pressure recently. He got the Socceroos an Asian Cup and in the current qualifiers the Socceroos have only lost one game. They do have an issue with scoring, but I put that down to personnel, not system. His system creates scoring chances, but we don’t seem to have the quality of strikers to put the goals away and this was no more evident that the recent game against Thailand. I think Tommy Juric is a good developing striker in the Mark Viduka mould, but we need a Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill at his best to compliment Juric. This is not Postecoglou’s fault, he has tried to develop players, but Australia just does not have genuine strikers playing at the highest level. Let the World Cup campaign pan out and reassess at the end.

Have a great weekend!

Socceroos prove Asian Cup was no fluke

Feb 20 2011 006A scoreline to make all Australians sit up and take notice – Germany 2 Australia 2. The same German team that defeated Brazil 7-1 in a 2014 World Cup semi final.

Sure it was a friendly, but, in 2013 the Socceroos played ‘friendlies’ against Brazil and France and suffered 6-0 defeats in both games – that was enough to get then coach, Pim Verbeek his marching orders. Wind forward eighteen months under the tutelage of Akrusenge Postecoglou and we now see a different more attacking and exciting football team.

The result was even better considering the Socceroos main
attacking weapon, Tim Cahill, missed the game due to injury. In times gone by, Australia would have struggled to put together attacking moves without Cahill in the team. Now, not only are there attacking moves, but we have also put two past the German keeper and led for a period of the game.

A lot to like about where this Socceroos team is going. The other football codes in Australia should be sitting up and taking notice given the much improved fortunes of the national team.

Friday musing – Socceroos, Asian Cup……

Chris Barwin HillsLike a lot of other people around Australia I watched the Asian Cup Final from Sydney on Saturday night.

What a great game!

I think we can now say that this team has created it’s own history and we can start to move on from the achievements of the 2006 World Cup squad. I am not suggesting they are as good as that team, but they have definitely established themselves as a team on the rise. Perhaps on Saturday night they were not as technically good as a the South Koreans, but they defended as well as I have seen an Australian team defend and created enough chances to win the game. It was also good to see a number of A League players playing key roles in the win.

Ange Postecoglou has consistently requested that the team be judged on their performance in the Asian Cup on home soil and not on their lead up form overseas. As most of the pundits have tim cahillobserved, he has been vindicated.

The Asian Federation is not strong compared to other federations around the world so the friendly coming up in Germany later this year may well give an indication of how far the team has progressed.

Have a great weekend!

Socceroos need to keep winning to earn respect

kruse“We deserve some respect’….so says Socceroo forward Robbie Kruse. Personally, I think Robbie is getting just a little ahead of himself with that comment. Australia, on the back of some poor results over the last eighteen months has slumped to a lowly ranking of #100 of the 209 teams ranked by FIFA. It will take more than a few wins over fellow strugglers to earn recognition from the fans.

If one looks at the results the Socceroos have turned in (not including the Asian Cup currently underway) in the 15 matches played since September 2013, their record is won 2 drawn 2 and lost 11 – goals scored 12 – goals conceded 37. Not a flattering scoreline at all. In that run of matches we managed to lose to Qatar (ranked 92) and Canada (ranked 112). Sure we played some powerhouse teams like Brazil, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and France along the way but that will always be the case in the world game.

After two rounds of the Asian Cup we have beaten up on Oman (ranked 93) and Kuwait (ranked 125). My expectation is that we should beat these teams at home, so I am not getting carried away just yet. Let’s see how we go against the Korean Republic (ranked 69) in our next game and some of the other heavy hitters of the region in the rest of the competition.

If Kruse wants ‘respect’ it needs to be earned on the pitch with the Socceroos performing well against quality opposition!

Friday musing is back – Test Cricket, Big Bash, Asian Cup & more

Chris Barwin HillsHappy New Year!

Well it is all about the cricket at this time of the year and my first observation relates to the standard of pitches that have been produced for the series against India. For as well as Virat Kohli and Steve Smith have played, there has been a lot of runs and not many wickets.

A lot of the Australian wickets have gone in the chase for quick runs. I wonder if the Indian authorities warned their Australian counterparts about preparing wickets to suit Mitchell Johnson. Johnson has struggled on these pitches with only one session in Brisbane where has been truly dangerous. It is hard to be too critical when there has been two results from the first three tests, with Australia batting India out of the Melbourne test to ensure they won the series.

However, I am sure if these pitches had been presented to the English last year there is no way we could have won 5-0. Nathan Lyon will be the number one bowler for the series and who would have predicted that at the start? I think in many ways for as well as the Indians have played, their fielding and catching has been sub-standard and you can’t keep dropping catches and win matches.

I hark back to one of those ill fated series in the 1980s against the West Indies when the Aussies dropped at least 30 catches. When you are playing one of the best teams in the world you have to limit their scoring not let them off the hook.

Continuing the cricket theme I have a comment about the Phil Hughes tributes. When does it all get too much?  I understand the test team has been truly rocked by what happened and it is quite unparalleled in cricket, however, I think we are getting very close to putting a lid on the tributes. His family have been decidedly absent from the public eye and I now think it is time for the players pay their respects in private.

Finally on the cricket, I have watched a little of the Big Bash and it is great to sit down and watch a bit of sport at night time and see a result. I am sure Channel 10 are rapt they have the rights. My accolade goes out to Brad Hogg playing for the Perth Scorchers. At 43 years of age he came on the other night and landed his spinners perfectly and essentially set up the win for Perth. Amazing!

The Asian Cup starts tonight and I must say my enthusiasm has yet to be piqued. Perhaps once it gets going I will be more interested, but at this stage the jury is out.

Continuing the World Game theme, I went to the Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory game last week in Geelong and while the result was not so good and it was still very hot, the crowd and the atmosphere were very good. I think of the AFL venues, Kardinia Park lends itself to soccer because it has narrow wings. The Victory have two more games at the venue in the next two years and my guess is the experiment will be continued or even expanded.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Socceroos, Tim Cahill, Asian Cup……..

Chris Barwin HillsI was watching the friendly between the Socceroos and Japan during the week and I considered that Australia created the best of the chances in the first half, but didn’t have sufficient strike power or effectiveness to take advantage of those chances.

It would seem that if Tim Cahill is not on the park, we can’t score. I did hear one “expert” suggest that reason was related to the Dutch system of total football which does not produce strikers. I felt like ringing up and offering the names of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben. I think that as a the A League tim cahillimproves and it is improving, more strikers will come to the fore. I raised the name of Tommy Juric last year and I still think he has the most potential of the younger brigade. Watching the game also got to me to thinking about how many of the current national squad would make it into the 2006 World Cup squad. Putting aside Tim Cahill, I think perhaps only Mile Jedinak could justify inclusion.

The next big test is the Asian Cup and it is on home soil so there will be no excuses.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – World Cup soccer & hockey, AFL…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell what a big week in sport!

Starting with the soccer World Cup, I must say my prognostication from about a month ago concerning Australia’s chances have come to fruition. I did suggest that while the Socceroos were unlikely to win a game, they would acquit themselves a lot better than most of the pundits and the public were expecting. As it stands after two games we have been highly competitive and very unlucky not to have secured a point from either game. The table for Group B at the moment has the 59th ranked Australian team ahead of the 1st ranked Spanish team. Not a bad result in that group. Save for Tim Cahill, who is not really a striker, we have lacked a world class finisher with several chances not being put in the back of the net. It is a bit of a shame that Robbie Kruse has been injured, while not being top shelf, he is still probably Australia’s best man up front. Hopefully he will be fit for the Asian Cup. It would be great to secure a draw or better against Spain.

Great to see Patty Mills and Aaron Baynes being a part of the NBA championship winning San Antonio Spurs. Mills really made a contribution and is now on the radar for several big NBA franchises. I read during the week that he only secured an AIS scholarship when Scott Pendelbury knocked it back. Who knows what might have 954743-patty-millshappened if he did not get that opportunity. He could be playing for the Sydney Swans!

Other Australians to be successful at the highest level this week were the Kookaburras, who beat the Netherlands easily in the World Cup of hockey. I am not a big hockey fan, but those that love the sport, really love it. It always good to see Aussies successful even if it is an area that you don’t have a great deal of interest.

The Essendon supplements saga is dominating the airwaves again and while I do not want to spend too much time on it, there was one comment that I could not resist responding to. On Saturday night Sam Lane confirmed that she had seen one of the show cause notices served on the Essendon players. Luke Darcy then asked her if she would take the six months that was offered. She responded in the affirmative. How can she possibly put herself in the shoes of the Essendon players and make judgement based on a “show cause” notice! It beggars belief. When asked the same question by Bryan Taylor later in the show she was a bit more circumspect, but if this type of dribble continues how are the Essendon players and the club going to get a decent hearing in the court of public opinion. Don’t forget that last year Jobe Watson was persecuted for his revelation that he may have been administered AOD9604. ASADA have now confirmed that this preparation only became banned after April 2013. Have any of his persecutors like Tim Lane (Sam’s father) apologised to him? I think not.

I was also bemused that Collingwood played the Western Bulldogs at Etihad as a home game and conversely, Essendon played Melbourne at the MCG as their home game. As fate would have it, both “home” sides lost. I am not suggesting that this issue cost Essendon the game on Sunday evening, the Dees did very well and how the Bombers let the last goal through means that their lapse against Hawthorn earlier in the year has not improved their capacity to think under pressure.

Have a great weekend.

Sportzfan Radio #189.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!13 February 2011 189.2 – Daniel asks the Gelding why Richmond didn’t put a side in that had a chance of beating Carlton in the NAB Cup so that they could get at least try and get through to the next round. The Gelding didn’t like the alternate jumper and says the Tigers shouldn’t have taken away the yellow sash. The Professor says that the lid is definitely off with Melbourne winning the first two pre-season games. Daniel thinks the NAB Cup is a circus with teams having to wait to play a second game. It can’t be good for the game especially with the introduction of new rules – Daniel says whoever introduced them should be sacked.  Mark Fiorenti comes on to discuss soccer and he takes positives out of the defeat in the final of the Asian Cup.  He is definitely right behind Holger Osieck as coach of the team as he has emphasised team unity.  He discusses the A League which is coming to the crunch time of the season and also thinks it may be North Queensland Fury’s last game.  In Premier League, Mark looks at the Man Utd & Man City derby.  Paul Dalligan is looking forward to the Charity Shield later tonight between St George and South Sydney.  He says Wayne Bennett is on fire as a coach and he won’t tip against him in the game, the Newcastle Knights are all cashed up behind Nathan Tinkler and are chasing players and the new NRL Commission needs to be appointed by 30 April 2011 as that is when New Limited intends to step away from the NRL.  Paul then looks at the ABL championship games between Perth Heat and Adelaide Bite.  Daniel says Tom Walter the basketball coach of Wake Forest donated a kidney to save one of his players, Kevin Jordan but the College had to first check with the NCAA to make sure it didn’t break any rules. The Professor says that is taking rules too far.  Sean Callanan comments on Super Bowl XLV and the effect social media had on the event.  He also discusses Sportzfan Radio’s attempt to get Aaron Rodgers on the program.  Finally, the Panel differ as to whether Shane Warne and Liz Hurley are a worthy story or not.

Sportzfan Radio #186.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!23 January 2011 186.2 – Paul looks at Nathan Tinkler’s offer to buy the Newcastle Knights.  He thinks that it will make the Knights stronger.  There is also a discussion about Melbourne Storm again being in the news with a fan under threat of being sued over comments posted on social media.  Shane Harmon, Communications Director for the Rugby Union World Cup in New Zealand comes on to talk about the World Cup beginning in September.  The global TV reach will be greater than 4 billion people over the six weeks of the tournament with 1.5 million attendees at the matches.  Mark Fiorenti with a big smile chats about the Socceroos making the semi finals of the Asian Cup with Harry Kewell hitting the winner against Iraq in extra time and now going on to play Uzbekistan in the semis.  He also looks at A League and Premier League results.  The Panel discusses the shrine to be built to remember Paul the oracle octopus.  Mark says FIFA should consider decalring a calamari free Friday as a tribute.  Bogus Powerbalance bracelets also come in for examination and Nick believes it says something about the intelligence of our athletes.  Nick also comments on the selection of the Australian cricket one day side for the World Cup.   He thinks the overlooking of Brad Hodge is astounding and defies logic and belief.  Paul reviews the upcoming ABL finals and how the first season has developed.  He says it is the best value for your sporting dollar that is going around at the moment.  A tweet from a listener provokes a discussion regarding Channel 10 dropping Kelli Underwood from the commentary box to the AFL boundary line for season 2011.  Nick says if she is good enough she should be in the commentary box.  The Professor feelks she may have been rushed in without serving an apprenticeship calling football at a lower level.

Asian Cup – Australia vs Bahrain….The Golden “Mile”, but I’d love a Kilkenny to calm the nerves

On Wednesday morning the Socceroos progressed to the quarter finals of the Asian Cup after beating Bahrain 1-0. Mile Jedinak was once again the hero with his second goal in as many games with a stunning long range effort in the 37th minute. But on the performance shown against Bahrain, the Socceroos’ next opponent, Iraq, the current holders of the Asian Cup, no less, will not be suffering from insomnia….

I’ll start with the lowlights, because they “overshadowed” the highlights….

1. A sloppy and disorganised midfield. I lost count of the number of times our players, particularly our midfielders, either gave the ball away, misplaced a pass and/or failed to assist our defenders by absorbing pressure when the Bahrainis launched wave after wave of attack. It is clear our midfield is unimaginative and that the emphasis is on graft rather than craft. For what Jedinak brings to the team in goal scoring ability and “screening” the defence, his inferior distribution skills makes him a liability when the team wants to dictate matches. Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck may have a dilemma on his hands….

2. Lack of squad depth – Osieck was forced to make three changes to the team that drew against Korea Republic, with the injured trio of Jason Culina, Luke Wilkshire and David Carney all replaced by Carl Valeri, Jade North and Matt McKay, respectively. The former trio were all sorely missed. Valeri, whilst high on energy does not have the passing ability of Culina. North, a capable defender, lacks Wilkshire’s energy and running ability. Finally, McKay, playing out of position at left back, was exposed, particularly early on against the Bahrainis. To add salt to the wound, Brett Emerton was needlessly booked and as such, is suspended for Sunday morning’s clash against Iraq. Being without Wilkshire already hurts, but the prospect of being without both he and Emerton means the Socceroos have a very weakened right flank….one hopes our physios are working overtime to get the aforementioned trio back into the starting line up.

3. Missed opportunities by strikers, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill. Kewell wasted a golden opportunity in the 32nd minute, firing a shot into the body of Bahrain goalkeeper Mahmood Mansoor from close range, whilst Cahill put a header well wide in the second half. Strikers can get very few opportunities. The Bahrain game was no exception. Hence the need to convert the good opportunities! Goals win games – that’s why strikers get paid the most and “pull” all the good looking girls. Against Bahrain however, I wasn’t convinced Kewell and Cahill could even “pull” a beer.

The highlights:

1. Neil Kilkenny. Kilkenny’s 20 minute cameo towards the end of the match was inspiring. It was refreshing to see someone assist our attack. The boy’s hunger for the ball, ability to hold possession and accurate passing ability could be a solution to our lack of combination play in midfield.

2. For the second game in a row….Mark Schwarzer. But for Schwarzer’s three remarkable saves in the second half, the Socceroos would have been sent packing.

3. The Socceroos did not concede a goal. Moreover, they only conceded one goal in all three group games. Put simply, the team is hard to break down and as foreshadowed in my previous blog, the team’s mental fortitude and never say die attitude is an asset no other team in Asia, arguably possesses. Whilst I, along with many Socceroos’ supporters would love our team to emulate Spain’s World Cup winning team of 2010 and “pass and move” their way to ultimate success, sexy football does not always win football tournaments (read: The “Cryuff inspired” Netherlands’ World Cup teams of 1974 and 1978). On the other hand, discipline, unity and self belief can (read: Italy and Germany’s World Cup winning teams of 1982 and 1990, respectively).  In short, it is not inconceivable that the Aussies could simply grind their way to their first Asian Cup championship.

The Aussies will face a stern test against Group D, runners up, Iraq on Sunday morning. Osieck certainly has some work to do, but so too do the players. At the back of their minds will be a chance to seek redemption – the Iraqis played the Socceroos off the park in the group stages of the 2007 Asian Cup, comprehensively beating them 3-1.

But so too did Uruguay in 2001, ultimately qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

One need not be reminded of what happened four years later….

I’m more excited than the last time I attended an all you can eat buffet.

Mark “The F Word” Fiorenti