Sunday, June 15, 2008

Qatar 1 v Socceroos 3, China 1 v Iraq 2

It was Brett Emerton's day. Two goals and Qatar's only answer was aggression. He is tall and strong and the further forward he gets - away from his original defender role - the better the Socceroos look. He has eclipsed Harry Kewell who appears a little out muscled in the lone striker role. Yet Asian teams have learned to take no risks with Harry and foul him if necessary. Harry got his goal (and happy he was to - in Brisbane they were jelling get up Harry you're unemployed) and had a fair goal disallowed when an Qatar defender fell over his own feet in front of Emerton.

Qatar had some bad luck and their dollars backfired on them. The beautiful stadium protected the Socceroos from a desert storm said to be raging outside. It was much easy than playing Iraq - altogether a friendly atmosphere for the fans - although Qatar looked like they were spoiling for a fight and nearly went there a couple of times. But the most significant impact of the game was the injury to their captain Koni, who as centre back looked set to shut down the Socceroo attacks. He pulled his hamstring in the first 10 minutes. Koni played on but his slowness probably led to the space created for the first goal.

There were Italian scouts there to watch Harry Kewell but their presence may have led the way for a contract for naturalised Uruguayan Andres Quintana - with his mop of hair, flair and shear strength (he rolled Jade North over his back) was the best on the park. Plus he should have had a penalty when David Carney pushed him down from behind.

8 of the 10 teams are through to the next round:
DPR Korea
Korea Republic
Saudi Arabia

At least three of these teams are not going to make it.

The plus from Australia is that we have proved that we can run 90 minutes in the heat.

Game on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and one of the two other teams to qualify for the next round is gonna be iraq. or at least, that is my gut feeling. they are on a roll.

the uzbekis look good. saw north korea play japan in a friendly tourney last year. they play a strong, hard running brand of football. little like us maybe.

i got a feeling one of the traditional heavyweights is gonna miss out. don`t think it`ll be us, but its exciting times.

this ain`t oceania anymore.