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A number of issues to touch on after a busy few days for Australian football.

Australia v. Ghana

The embarrassment surrounding the non-playing of the Ghanaian national anthem could be taken as a harbinger of the evening as a whole, for the Socceroos’ performance was largely embarrassing. Dull, blunt and strangely craven in the final twenty minutes (what is the point of cautiously sitting on a 1-0 lead in a home friendly?!?), they provided little entertainment for the 29,000-strong crowd.

At least Matthew Spiranovic is now “locked in”, and there were one or two solid performances, notably from Jade North and, of course, Mark Schwarzer.

Mile Jedinak, in his second appearance in Socceroo colours, again didn’t look at all out of place. Dominant in the air and powerful in the tackle, he amply repaid Pim Verbeek’s continued faith in him. He did, however, tire towards the close, and was tricked into a couple of needless fouls by Ghana’s lively Prince Buaben.

About Harry Kewell’s performance, the less said the better.

The Iraq Suspension

History may yet repeat itself, with our truncated Asian Cup qualifying group perhaps set to be emulated.

If recent history is anything to go by, then the odds of Iraq being suspended are better than evens. A very sad state of affairs all round, and the talented crew who played so well to win the Asian Cup are entitled to considerable sympathy.

From the FFA perspective, Tom Smithies spells out the concerns quite clearly:

The FFA yesterday refused to comment on what might happen, but with $3 million in ticket revenue at stake for a full-house clash with Iraq at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on June 1, officials are nervous.

Olyroos Rampant

The Olyroos have marched on at the Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia, notching an impressive 3-1 win over Ireland, and discovering an unlikely hero in the process.

I’ve never thought of Matt Simon as much more than a typical bustling battering-ram, but he certainly seems to thrive on confidence, and he could yet become a potent weapon for Graham Arnold at the Olympics. Certainly, his physical style is likely to trouble some defences.

With Nikita Rukavytsya suffering his early injury, Simon has been granted an extended run in the team, and has grasped the opporunity…thus is history made sometimes. But Rukavytsya will surely get another chance before long.

Adelaide Through

Aurelio Vidmar and Adelaide United deserve hearty congratulations.

Their campaign has been scrappy and frequently ugly, but for an Australian club to reach the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League represents a step forward for the A-League, without any doubt.

How Vidmar must be thanking his lucky stars that he obtained the services of Sasa Ognenovski prior to the ACL group stage. The stalwart defender has come to Adelaide’s rescue time and again, not least in the final minute against Changchun on Thursday. With Bruce Djite absent and Travis Dodd, Nathan Burns and Lucas Pantelis all playing out of position, Adelaide have been largely toothless in attack; it’s fortunate for Vidmar that Adelaide’s defence has been excellent throughout.

Scott McIntyre, following on from his earlier “yet to strike a decisive blow” put-down, has kept the faint praise coming in another agenda-laden piece on the World Game site:

To have avoided the might of Gamba Osaka and Kashima Antlers in the group stage clearly aided the Adelaide push and now, after having got past a side that’s sitting third from bottom in the Chinese Super League and the fifth-best outfit in Korea last year, the South Australians have a chance to measure where they’re really at in the Asian pecking order.

Would you care to remind us where Adelaide finished in the 2007/08 A-League, Mr. McIntyre? Or would that perhaps not suit your book?

Written by Mike Salter

Read more of his thoughts at The Football Tragic

Written by
Real Football

Published on May 26, 2008

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