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.
Mile Jedinak’s first international goal for Australia could not have come at a better time when the Socceroos got a valuable and deserving 1-1 with fellow Asian Cup heavyweight, Korea Republic in their Group C clash on Saturday morning. But Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck could have some selection nightmares ahead of the Bahrain clash and beyond…..
1. A unique and “un-Asian” style. Whilst the Socceroos lack the pace, fluency and technique of many of the other teams at the Asian Cup, the team’s never say die attitude, discipline and physical strengths may well give opposing teams headaches when attempting to break down this Australian side. Jedinak’s equalising goal epitomised the Australian style – Lucas Neill was quick to float a ball across the face of goal from a Luke Wilkshire cross and Jedinak had no right to challenge Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong for a high ball but did and impressively beat him to it.
1. Too predictable, too slow and an inept passing game. Like the India game, the Socceroos, unlike the Koreans, played a long ball game in preference to a short and quick passing one. The Aussie tactic of crossing towards Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell at every opportunity was clear once again and one wonders whether such a tactic will reap rewards against a more organised and disciplined defence. Further, the Koreans’ pass and move groove clearly rattled the Aussies, as evidenced by the number of fouls, particularly Jedinak and Ognenovski, committed. Finally, the Aussies’ passing and cheap turnovers left a lot to be desired at times.
2. Poor defending. Football is one of those rare games where one defensive lapse can be the difference between success and failure. Whilst the Socceroos’ defending was excellent for a majority of the game, just how five Socceroos’ defenders let Ji Dong-Wong gain possession and cut back to an unmarked Koo Ja-Cheol for Korea’s goal still baffles and frustrates me. This was the second defensive lapse in two games. Whilst the Indians failed to capitalise last week, the Koreans didn’t. Nor will the likes of Iran and/or Uzbekistan (future potential opponents for the Aussies in the Asian Cup).
1. Injuries to three first team regulars – Jason Culina, David Carney and Luke Wilksire. I have regularly been vocal about the Aussies’ lack of squad depth….the three aforementioned players will be hard to replace if the diagnosis isn’t favourable. Whilst Valeri is a straight swap for Culina, he lacks his experience. Of greater concern are the full back positions – Carney (a left winger by trade) has become custodian of the left back position by virtue of a lack of competition and options for that berth, whilst Wilkshire, is in my opinion, Australia’s second best and most consistent outfield player. Second only to Tim Cahill…..Osieck may be forced to re-shuffle and moreover, test the mettle of his pack.
2. Harry Kewell’s (constant) whingeing. Once again, it was refreshing to see a fully fit Kewell get the better of his opposing defenders. His whingeing with fellow teammates, opposing players and officials was however, disappointing. This was not the first time Kewell has brought this ugly side into his game (read: harassing and “touching up” the match officials after Australia’s group game against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup and his verbal tirade against the referee after being controversially, but correctly sent off against Ghana at last year’s World Cup). Kewell is a professional footballer first, an underwear model second. He should start acting more like the former and stop dicking around.
All in all, Australia will now fancy its chances to progress to the knockout rounds of the Asian Cup, knowing all but a loss against Bahrain tomorrow morning will be enough to see them through.
But the Asian Cup is to Australia, what the World Cup is to heavyweights Brazil, Germany and Italy. Qualifying for the knockout rounds should be viewed as a mere formality. Not reaching the semi finals would be deemed a failure.
This is when the real tournament starts.
Mark “The F word” Fiorenti
16 January 2011 185.2 – Daniel believes that skill goes out the window in 20/20 cricket and therefore this is not a good thing for cricketers who are wanting to be successful in test matches. He says 20/20 should be scrapped. The Professor says there are too many players over thirty in Australia’s cricket sides and the Gambler suggests that perhaps there should be a compulsory retirement age. Daniel thinks it could be a case of mates scratching mate’s backs and even he gets into the groove suggesting sackings. Mark Fiorenti talks soccer in particular the Asian Cup and reviews the Socceroos matches against India and South Korea. He thinks Holger Osieck is demanding a more attacking game from the Socceroos. He thinks the squad is getting older and a few players are at the end of the road. Mark also talks about the A League, in particular the form of Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory and the poor crowds attending A League matches. There is also a discussion with the Panel on the happenings in Premier League with Man Utd, Man City & Arsenal going well at the top. Paul Dalligan chats about the ABL and the recent poor form of the Melbourne Aces having lost 6 in a row. He also talks with the Professor about Sportzfan Radio’s broadcast of the Aces match against Perth Heat. Paul even manages to sneak a discussion of rugby league in even though it is not in season. Daniel exclusively announces a charity baskets game to aid the Flood relief appeal. Sean Callanan comes on to talk social media and a Liverpool soccer player being charged by the Football Association over what he had written in his twitter account. The Gambler talks about Essendon FC’s high numbers on their Facebook account. The Panel conclude with their thoughts on which Australian tennis players will do well in the Australian Open.
Australia commenced its Asian Cup campaign with a 4-0 romp against a technically inept India in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Nevertheless, the Socceroos’ passing game and strike rate needs to improve if we are to progress to the semi finals and beyond of this tournament.
Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck employed an expansive 4-4-2 formation opting for Cahill and Kewell up front (the latter surprisingly in favour of Scott McDonald) and Brett Emerton and Holman pushing high down the flanks and Mile Jedinak partnering Jason Culina in the centre of the park in front of a defensive back four.
The positives included:
- Two goals from Mr Consistency, Tim Cahill, who is surely Australia’s most important player and is now on par to becoming Australia’s highest goal scorer. The ‘F Word’s man of the match.
2. A lively performance from Brett Emerton in both defence and attack on the right hand side of the park. Cahill’s first goal came from an Emerton delivery, as did Holman’s headed goal.
3. A fully fit and firing Harry Kewell who scored with a beautifully struck shot.
There were, as alluded to earlier, some concerns though….:
- A sloppy and wasteful second half. Yes, the game was arguably in the bag by then, but the passing left a lot to be desired at times and the crosses did not always find their intended target. Further, Australia may rue the goalscoring chances it missed if Group C comes down to goal difference.
- An inept passing game. For much of the 90 minutes the Socceroos preferred a long ball game to take advantage of the small Indian players, rather than employ an intimidating, short and quick passing game. This tactic will not be successful against the pacy and technically sound South Koreans.
- Scott McDonald. “The Mac” lacks bite in attack and yet again, failed to open his goalscoring account for the Socceroos after 22 games. Against a country ranked 142nd in the world, no less. Scotty appears incapable of scoring even in the “House of the Rising Sun”. One must now wonder if he will be given another chance. Burns, and even Kruse must surely be given a look in….
But at least there were clear signs from the players and coaching staff that this team is determined on making up for the disappointing failure of 2007.
Tougher tests await in the shape of the South Koreans who put in an excellent performance against Bahrain, comprehensively beating them 2-1 and playing the last part of the game with ten men.
I wait with bated breath….
All in all a promoters dream in the 2010 World Cup – so many games changing so many fortunes all hanging on a knife edge in the 3rd round!
- No bigger than Chile v Spain – a Spanish loss and they are out.
- Italy v Slovakia – Italy must win to get through (NZ v Paraguay to add some smeltz…I’m sorry spice).
- Japan v Denmark – winner through to the next round.
- Germany v Ghana – could the unthinkable happen and Germany not qualify for the round of 16?
- Our Socceroos v Serbia – Aussie win may get us through depending on results, Serbian win sees them into the next round.
- Slovenia v England – a must win for England or one of the tournament favourites is going home! The spice is that if USA win, England must win by more to ensure a place in the next round.
- USA v Algeria – USA an unlikely member of the final 16 but should get through with a win.
- South Korea v Nigeria – Sth Korea will again move on to the round of 16 with a win.
- Greece v Argentina – Greece need to win by more than Sth Korea if they are to go through. A tall order against an undefeated Argentinian team.
- France v the host nation – You would think a France win on paper but has all the team unrest and infighting taken its toll? Besides if Uruguay v Mexico is a draw, this result doesn’t matter.
- Uruguay v Mexico – A winner heads the group whilst the loser may miss out. A draw and both go through.
How good is that 12 out of 16 games with a direct result on the next round.