It was not beautiful. In this group of Socceroos, not often. But this morning the Asian qualifier against the United Arab Emirates ended in victory – and that is all.
The first half began with a weak and lifeless attack. Fortunately, the efforts of the United Arab Emirates were a little better.
And when the Socceroos finally came to life in the second half – at least for a while – Australia made an appointment with Peru next week. Tuesday morning’s one-time World Cup qualifier.
Here are the highlights of this morning’s 2-1 win.
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SOCCEROOS ‘DNA’ recovery – and just in time
Prior to the game, coach Graham Arnold repeatedly emphasized the need to draw “Aussie DNA” in public and for the players.
“That Australian DNA is back on the wall, running, entering the field, chasing, fighting, harassing and doing whatever it takes to win this game,” he said in a pre-match press conference.
In the last seven group matches – won only once – the Socceroos have often shown a lack of confidence and resilience, especially after goals have been scored.
In the United Arab Emirates, a poor first-half performance hinted that the UAE would suffer another setback if it suffered its first defeat. But it was the opposite – the second half was full of determination and courage from both the individual players and the team.
Earlier in the campaign, Socrates showed ‘ugly’ ability to win despite his low performance. That combined performance led them to a world-record 11-point qualifier, but it put pressure on strong opponents such as Japan. Today, in the end, that thinking seems to be back to normal – and at the right time.
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“We’ve done a lot of work and we’ve almost lost our asses,” said Ajdin Harustic, citing Soccerros’ strong thinking after the game. We are goals and we should not be.
“We kept going, we kept fighting and we took advantage of the opportunity, and Australia’s goal was for all the boys, the workers, because we spent a lot of time and it wasn’t easy. I don’t think everyone understands how much work we do, so I’m happy, and I’m really happy.
He added: “We have never lost our heads.
Arnold said, “I saw a good response tonight, and that’s what I’ve been doing to the boys since I came to the camp about OCNA and this is a struggle, a scratch and all you have to do to win.” The game. But we will win, who cares? Just win it. “
you did. Now they only need one more win – no matter how ugly the performance.
Defensive woes continue – but a massive strategic change is coming
There were a lot of surprises when Starter XI was released this morning at 2.30am AEST. Leading the way were undefeated defenders, with Nathaniel Atkinson, a 22-year-old international at right-back – and Ki Rowles, a 23-year-old center-back, making his debut a week ago. A must-win match against an attacking club with 80 international goals (only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the most active players) was a bold move.
Arnold’s hand was partially affected by his first choice, Trent Sciencebury (“we expect him to be better in the next two days”) and Harry Suutter due to a long-term injury.
But 28-year-old Milos Degenek, with 36 seasons of experience and Champions League experience, was a clear choice for center-back.
Nonetheless, Arnold opted for less experience – and despite the weak goal, the move was fruitful. But there was no significant staff change. It was a systemic change.
Graham Arnold has stated that his first task after the game has been to improve his defense after a series of attacks in recent months (in which Soccer has scored one goal in four games against Saudi Arabia and Japan). “My focus was on defending, because we were negligent – we scored goals in the last two windows,” Arnold said in a post-match press conference.
Socceroos have been particularly vulnerable in the defensive transition, with players being routinely removed. To solve that, Arnold made a big tactical change. He ordered the front line defenders – young Atkinson on the one hand and Aziz Beich, a 50-cap veteran on the other – to stay in the middle of the defense.
Graham Arnold’s trademark bombs were being detonated on the side, causing a box bomb to be detonated. That strategy is backed by the offensive thinking and high level of professionalism of players like Beach and Ryan Grant. However, in recent games that strategy has not been met with aggression and opponents have used capital to quickly counter-attack and occupy full-time targets.
Abandoning that strategy was arguably the biggest strategic adjustment in Soccer coaching during Arnold’s four years.
He said after the game: “We knew they were going to rest and we didn’t want to play our opening game because they had so many talented players. We made sure we were in good shape and the whole game… I thought there was too little room for the opposition tonight. They went back twice on the right, we have to fix that, but overall I thought we were good defensively and I saw a good response tonight… ”
Atkinson, 19-year-old Saudi winger Harib Abdalla lowered his left wing and gave it a hard time. He saved three from Matt Ryan, but crucially all three balls came from a tight angle. The United Arab Emirates did not create anything in the middle of the field, as Arnold’s more compact line-up was hampering the game.
Socceroos’ defensive shortcomings did not eliminate all of them – the defenders were six and seven.
But there is no doubt that the tactical transformation has changed the game. In Peru, defensive ability can be crucial with a more powerful attacking team.
‘50% Happy’ Arney Asks’Much Improvement ‘
So a four-year trip to Qatar in 2022 will take 90 minutes with Peru – it will prevent more time or penalties, ie.
There is no doubt that Peru will present a completely different test for Soccerros this morning. A very difficult test, no doubt.
“I was 50 percent happy with our team,” said Arnold. I think there is still a lot of improvement. I think if I go into the dressing room and ask all the players if they have a percentage improvement, I think everyone will say yes.
“We need it. We want everyone to play better, to play better against Peru.
Peru – ranked 22nd in the world – is at war with one of the toughest conferences in the world.
In the world, Brazil, No. 4, Uruguay, No. 13, Colombia, No. 28, Chile, No. 46, Ecuador, and No. 50, Paraguay – face seven of the top 50 teams in the world. In January, Colombia and Chile put on an impressive display against those elite teams, including their victory in October last year and their match against Uruguay in September.
Despite losing to some of the best teams in the world, they held their own.
Soccerios has been compared to Japan (23) and Saudi Arabia (49) and has not won any of those four matches, scoring 12 times.
The two sides have previously met at the 2018 World Cup, with Peru winning 2-0.
For the Socceroos, their backs are firmly against the wall. But we did like Graham Arnold.
“The old OC DNA was back on the wall. We loved that! We like to be inferior. We loved people who said we had no chance or nothing. This is what it was like in Australia: That’s what I was driving to these boys. Sometimes you do not play well but you can win by fighting and running and chasing and attacking. That could be a success. “
Arnold knew the team needed to improve on the South American side – attacking and defending. But the team is sure to deliver. “I was 50 percent happy with our team. I think there is still a lot of improvement ያ that is what we want. We want everyone to play better, to play better against Peru.