Friday, May 26, 2006
Here we go here we go
The Qantas Socceroos began there final preperations for the World Cup In Germany last night before apcked melbourne crowd of 95,000 people its totally amazing how a country like Australia which is not a big soccer nation has got behing the national team. I say go the Socceroos. Following is report on the match
The World Cup-bound Socceroos farewelled Australia with a victory full of poise and promise over European champion Greece at the MCG on Thursday night.A stunning Josip Skoko strike gave the Socceroos a 1-0 win - the quality of the goal matching the quality of the Australian performance, especially in the first half.Greece managed just one serious attempt on goal for the entire game as a confident Socceroos side thrilled a record 95,103 crowd with fluid, attacking football.Australia took a deserved lead after just 16 minutes when midfielder Skoko unleashed a left-foot volley from the edge of the penalty area.Man-of-the-match Skoko, Jason Culina and Vince Grella ran the midfield as the home side bossed the European champion throughout.Fatigue, self-preservation and several substitutions helped created a less disciplined second-half performance from the Socceroos as they prepare for only their second appearance at a World Cup finals next month.The win was the first of Australia's three lead-up matches prior to its World Cup opener against Japan on June 12.And there was plenty to boost their confidence of the Socceroos being able to cause an upset.But Skoko - who was substituted after an hour - said there was plenty more work to do."It was a good performance if you also take into consideration how hard we've been working the past three days in training," Skoko said."I think there's a lot of work to do still, but we showed tonight we're well on the way."The Wigan midfielder's goal provided the match's highlight as he netted a stunner from a well-worked Marco Bresciano corner.The Socceroos could have also had a penalty late in the first half when referee Mike Riley was the only person in the stadium to miss a blatant shirt tug by Greek centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiagos on Australian skipper Mark Viduka.Greece lifted its game in the second half, after making four substitutions, including bringing on regular skipper Theo Zagorakis.But it still couldn't penetrate Australia's defence, even after the Socceroos made four substitutions of their own.Coach Guus Hiddink sprung a selection surprise prior to kick-off, dropping goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer - the hero of the two Uruguay playoff wins - to the bench for AC Milan keeper Zeljko Kalac.Kalac had little to do, forced into action only twice in the match.The Socceroos leave Australia on Friday for a pre-World Cup training camp in the Netherlands.They play two more friendlies prior to their tournament opener against Japan - tackling the Netherlands in Rotterdam on June 4 and Liechtenstein in Ulm, Germany, on June 7.