Monday, June 05, 2006


The Australian socceroos played the Netherlands last night in a friendly before the World Cup starts next week. The netherlands who played there strongestranked nuber 3 in the world where expected to easily dispatch the number 42 ranked Australian team but as of late we the australian team had been bucking the trend and escaped with a 1-1 draw. This puts us in good stead for the world cup where we must beat japan and Croatia who will not be as technically good as the dutch.

the following is a offical match report from fox sports news Australia

Australia was searching for confidence ahead of next week's World Cup opener with Japan, it found it last night with a battling 1-1 draw against a star-studded Netherlands in Rotterdam

The Socceroos came from a goal down and survived close to half an hour with 10-men when Luke Wilkshire was sent off in the 61st minute to announce to the world they won't simply be making up the numbers in Germany when the 2006 tournament kicks off on Saturday (AEST).
The home side, roared on by an intimidating orange-clad crowd of 50,000 at Feyenoord's De Kuip Stadium, went ahead early when Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy capitalised on a Mark Schwarzer error in the 10th minute.
The Middlesbrough keeper parried a shot from Dennis Ooijer straight to the deadly feet of van Nistelrooy inside the box, and the big No.9 calmly side-footed the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.
It would prove the only blot on Schwarzer's report card, though, as he went on to make a string of superb saves to keep Australia in the hunt.
When substitute Tim Cahill equalised early in the second half, pouncing on a rebound from another Mark Viduka missed penalty, it was Schwarzer the Socceroos could thank for being in a position to be on level terms.
Cahill, who has struggled with a knee injury in the lead-up to the World Cup, showed his rehabilitation is as good as complete when he was first to react as the ball bounced back of Edwin van der Saar's crossbar.
Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink, who took the Dutch to the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup in France, was delighted with the result for his current team.

"What a great match, with a great physical level that proves our players are ready even if they were tiring at the end," he said.
"Tactically we have come up against one of the best teams in the world and we matched them.
"The progress we have made is amazing in several short months compared to the Australia of six months ago."
While Netherlands coach Marco van Basten wasn't upset with Australia's strong-arm tactics, he must have been a little stunned surveying the wounded backstage after the match.
"It's like an episode of M.A.S.H," he said. "It was some sight in the dressing room. But I don't regret the match because it is good to play physical football.
"This was a match for men. It is more enriching to play in a match like this but unfortunately three of my players (Philip Cocu, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Wesley Sneijder) are now injured.
"I hope it is not too serious."
There could be no argument over Wilkshire's red card after he scythed down van Bronckhorst at the corner flag when the Barcelona man had absolutely nowhere to go.
Van Bronckhorst's right ankle twisted awkwardly under the thoughtless challenge, and he finished the game early with severe bruising to his foot.
"I do not think he wanted to go for the ball," Van Bronckhorst said after the match, seemingly not so happy about the physical nature of the game as his coach.
"Luckily for me, the injury is not too bad but if it had have been, I would have missed the World Cup and, in a game like this, I don't think it would have been worth it.
"We knew Australia were a physical team. It is one of their strengths. But I just felt some of their challenges were too hard. After all, we are only one week away from a World Cup."
Sneijder may not be so lucky and must now wait 24 hours to see if his ankle injury is serious enough to keep him out of the tournament. Cocu has a thigh problem, but should be OK.
However, the veteran, who won the Dutch title with PSV Eindhoven and Hiddink this season, was seething at the brutal approach of the Socceroos.
"They went too far. I am all for physical football but certain players were out to cause injury," he said.
Cocu singled out Australia captain Viduka for particular criticism.
"When Viduka tackled me, the ball was nowhere near my feet," he revealed.
Hiddink's men certainly didn't shy away from the 50-50s, and Wilkshire was perhaps lucky to be on the field anyway after running through the back of Marc van Bommel earlier in the half.
The Bristol City midfield player also took some agricultural swings at Chelsea's Arjen Robben, who made several attractive if ineffective runs down the Netherlands' left flank.
Vince Grella also lived up to his tough reputation with a series of robust challenges, although he kept his efforts just to the right side of the rulebook.
If it was a tactic to rough up the Dutch, it worked as their twinkle-toed midfield became increasingly frustrated at their inability to break down Australia's defence. Even when they did, Schwarzer proved too good.
His best save came in the second half, when Robin van Persie - arguably the most impressive player in an orange shirt - sent a stinging shot towards goal from just outside the box.
The ball bounced just in front of Schwarzer, but he reacted brilliantly to beat it away to safety.
He also made a stunning save from Sneijder in the first half, diving full stretch to his left to palm away a curling shot that was destined for the top-right corner.
There is surely no contest now for the Socceroos goalkeeper's jersey. Schwarzer looks to be miles ahead of Zeljko Kalac in form.
The Netherlands play Argentina, Ivory Coast and Serbia and Montenegro in Group C while Australia faces Japan next Monday (AEST) in Group F before further challenges with defending champion Brazil and European dark horse Croatia.

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