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Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 04:02 AM
The World Cup begins in 3 days. The 1st Round concludes in 2 weeks. Time to focus on each Group/team individually.

Group F - Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Japan.

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 04:05 AM
Pele tips Brazil to struggle
From correspondents in Geneva
June 5, 2006

A TRIO of former Brazil World Cup greats led by Pele has gone against public opinion by declaring the defending champion will struggle to make the final at Germany 2006.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5164149,00.jpg Struggling ... Ronaldo kicks air against New Zealand. Pic: Associated Press






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Pele, Tostao and Falcao all the current Brazil side is not invincible and must improve if it is to claim a record sixth title.

Brazil secured a comfortable 4-0 win over New Zealand in its final warm-up game this morning, but even coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has begun to demand an improvement from his superstars, who play Australia in Munich on June 18.

While a 10-man Australia scored an encouraging 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in its friendly match overnight, the Socceroos' other Group F opponents Japan struggled in a tough 1-0 draw with lowly Malta while Croatia beat a Croatian All-Star side 5-0.

Brazil is tipped to cruise through the group, but the old guard is not so sure.

Pele has said his 1970 World Cup-winning side would beat today's model, and his former attacking partner Tostao wouldn't be surprised if Brazil was eliminated early.

"The team has an incredible potential," Tostao, who helped Brazil win its third World Cup in 1970 in Mexico, said.

"But right now, it's not that much better than the other teams (in Group F). It wouldn't be a surprise if it was eliminated.

"The differential for this team is that it has three spectacular players in Ronaldinho, Kaka and Ronaldo.

"But if they have bad days, the rest of the team is normal, in the same level as the others."

Falcao, a star at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, also agreed Brazil still has to improve before being labelled "better than the others".

"Brazil still hasn't been able to put a team together," Falcao said.

Brazil only led the All Whites in Geneva 2-0 with five minutes left following goals to Ronaldo and Adriano, before late strikes by Kaka in the 85th minute and Juninho in injury-time.

"We will need to be better than that at the World Cup," coach Parreira said.

"We have things to improve including the ball out of defence and the co-ordination of the four men up front (Ronaldo, Kaka, Adriano and Ronaldinho)."

Parreira claimed the New Zealand game was important because the Kiwis had a similar style to Australia.

In Dusseldorf, Keiji Tamada scored his first international goal for 18 months to lead Japan which was forced to make three changes from the side which drew 2-2 with Germany last week.

Frontline forwards Naohiro Takahara, Atsushi Yanagisawa and wing back Akira Kaji were all missing from Japan's final warm up game.

Japan's coach Zico, also a former Brazil World Cup star, was frustrated by his team's lack of penetration and will be anxious to have Takahara and Yanagisawa fit for the Group F opener with the Socceroos in Kaiserslautern on June 12.

"We were poor," Zico said. "Hopefully we've got it out of our system now because time is getting tight.

"It's a bit of a step back. We didn't have the right mindset, perhaps because we knew we were playing a weaker side."

Croatia fielded a second string side for its match with a team of Croatian professionals in , the day after its first-choice XI lost 1-0 to Poland.

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 04:07 AM
Croatia detects defensive chinks
June 5, 2006

CROATIA coach Zlatko Kranjcar has criticised his team's defending after the 1-0 defeat by Poland in its latest World Cup warm-up.

Kranjcar said after Saturday's game that he was happy with Croatia's dominance, but he has since focused on a defence whose blunders in the previous friendly helped Iran earn a 2-2 draw.

"It is evident that our defence is repeatedly showing weaknesses after corners or free kicks, when we often concede goals," the Vjesnik daily today quoted Kranjcar as saying.

"It also happened in the qualifiers that our opponents did not create chances but managed to score due to our occasional lack of concentration."

Croatia conceded a second-half goal from Ebi Smolarek after the Poland striker had found space in the box to head home a Maciej Zurawski corner in the 54th minute.

Kranjcar said the game also confirmed the importance of Rangers star Dado Prso to Croatia's attack, as the striker was sidelined with a mild viral infection that also struck several other players.

"Prso is our key force and we missed him a lot against Poland," Kranjcar said.

"I've yet to decide whether to pair him with Ivica Olic or Ivan Klasnic.
Croatia's final warm-up game against Spain in Geneva on Wednesday should remove one more uncertainty.

"That game will open the way to our first choice of goalkeeper," Kranjcar said.

The chief candidates are Tomislav Butina and Stipe Pletikosa, who have both shown solid form peppered with occasional mistakes.

Croatia opens its Group F campaign against Brazil in Berlin on June 13 before facing Japan on June 18 in Nuremberg and Australia on June 22 in Stuttgart.

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 04:10 AM
Japan missing heart: Nakata
From correspondents in Bonn
June 6, 2006

JAPAN's Hidetoshi Nakata has labelled his side a shambles a week before its opening World Cup game with Australia.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5164546,00.jpg Nakata ... says the Japan squad is 'too friendly'. Pic: Reuters





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Nakata blasted his teammates for lacking heart after Sunday's stuttering 1-0 win over Malta in its final warm-up game.

"We got nothing from the game," said Nakata. "It doesn't matter what sort of football you play - unless you run and work for each other it's pointless. Those are basic things."

The 29-year-old midfield player has already complained that the atmosphere within the Japan squad is "too friendly" and said the Asian champion is "not ready" for the World Cup.

Shunsuke Nakamura, the only player who has dared to cross swords with Nakata, suggested his fellow midfield player might want to lighten up. Nakata has clearly ignored the advice.

"We're hardly at the stage where we can suddenly change things," said Nakata. "What we're missing is the heart."

Japan's most recognisable player is no stranger to controversy, and was involved in frequent run-ins with former coach Philippe Troussier before the 2002 World Cup.

Nakata was influential in last week's morale-boosting 2-2 draw with Cup host Germany, but the mood in the Japan camp has changed after injuries to key players.

Front-line strikers Naohiro Takahara and Atsushi Yanagisawa are both carrying knocks, and wing back Akira Kaji looks doubtful for the Group F opener on Monday (AEST).

Japan is also drawn alongside Croatia and tournament favourite Brazil in a challenging first round.

Reserve striker Keiji Tamada scored Japan's winner against Malta and sought to defuse a potential rift in the squad during the countdown to the clash with Australia.

"We're in a strange country where we don't speak the language so it hasn't really hit us that we're at the World Cup," said Tamada. "But we'll be ready."

Meanwhile, Brazil coach Zico had pledged to stop tinkering with his side ahead of the Soccerooos game in Kaiserlautern,, but injuries could disrupt his plans.

Zico is unlikely to spring any late surprises despite calling up 66 players during his four years in charge.

"If it's not broke there is no point messing around with it," he tsaid overnight.

"At this stage I'm extremely happy with things and we are in good shape for the Australia game.

The return of Takahara and Yanagisawa for the opening game would be a huge boost for Japan.

"They did not play against Malta because they weren't 100 percent and we're saving them for Australia," said Zico. "I'm not worried."

Takahara, in particular, will be desperate to play after enduring Cup heartbreak four years ago when he was ruled out by a form of deep vein thrombosis.

Miraz
June 6, 2006, 04:53 AM
Mr. Cricket, why don't we discuss WC tournament and individual groups here? (http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/showthread.php?t=16393)

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 07:23 AM
Miraz: I can see your point, but I think (for the next fortnight anyway - e.g. 1st Round) that it will be too difficult to discuss every Group in just the one thread. There will be plenty of News (Injuries/Comebacks, etc) & Reviews (Match Results, Individual Performances, etc) to come out of the 1st Round. Therefore I think it's best that everyone opens a thread on their favorite Group (as I have done here) and hopefully it should make things easier (in the 1st Round anyway). Obviously everyone will still be posting their thoughts in the Tournament Thread during this time, nonetheless. :up:

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 08:02 AM
Kewell set for Liechtenstein game
June 6, 2006

AUSTRALIA will unleash Harry Kewell in its final World Cup hit-out against Liechtenstein but how big a role he will play remains unclear.

Australia coach Guus Hiddink has flagged using Kewell only as an impact weapon off the bench during the World Cup – worried about his level of fitness after a groin tear playing for Liverpool in the FA Cup final last month.

But Kewell played a storming 85 minutes as a starter in his surprise return from injury last Friday – albeit against a Dutch amateur team in an 8-1 romp – scoring twice and setting up two other goals.

Hiddink remains undecided on how best to use Kewell, with his role in the Liechtenstein game tomorrow (3.30am Thursday AEST) likely to provide a clear indicator of how Australia's gamebreaker will be used when the Socceroos kick off their World Cup against Japan next Monday.

"He was playing for almost 90 minutes in the amateur game ... there was no reaction and we will play him for sure in the Liechtenstein match," Hiddink said.

"But we have to be sure that he is top, top fit and he has missed a lot of the training the other players have done for the past three weeks."

Hiddink used Kewell to stunning effect off the bench against Uruguay in the second World Cup play-off game in Sydney.

His effective contribution after being introduced at the 30-minute mark – rather than the sad sight of him limping off in last year's European Champions League final and the FA Cup after breaking down as a starter – is surely looming large in the Dutchman's mind as he considers how to approach Japan.

Tiny Liechtenstein is ranked well outside the top 100 in the world and the match in Ulm, southern Germany, is being used as hopefully an easy kill for the Socceroos after a tough hit-out against world No.3 Holland in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Australia battled manfully for a 1-1 draw against the Dutch in a bruising encounter, fighting back from a goal down and spending the last half-hour with 10 men against a team ranked among the World Cup favourites.

The performance won the public admiration of Holland's coach Marco van Basten and – most importantly – proved to the Socceroos they belong at this World Cup.

tiger_man
June 6, 2006, 08:44 AM
once kewell comes back...australia will be a much stronger side....

i dont expect them to beat brazil but japs nd croatia shud be peice of cake..why?? coz japs dont know the full potential of our team....thats what i reckon took holland nd greece by surprise....

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 11:08 AM
http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/fifa/gen/xp/20060524/i/583348360.jpg

Australian World Cup soccer squad coach Guus Hiddink (L) walks with his team onto the Melbourne Cricket Ground before a training session in Melbourne May 24, 2006.


http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/fifa/gen/afp/20060604/i/4024759020.jpg

Back row L/R:
Marco Bresciano, Luke Wilkshire, Mark Schwarzer, Scott Chipperfield, Mark Viduka, Mile Sterjovski, Jason Culina.

Front row L/R:
Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Vince Grella, Brett Emerton

Mr-Cricket
June 6, 2006, 11:15 AM
Kewell takes hands-on approach
By Robert Lusetich in Stuttgart
June 7, 2006

AS Australia settled into its secluded German castle on Monday, they could have received no warmer welcome than the sight of Harry Kewell training at breakneck speed.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5164904,00.jpg Fired up .. Kewell at training yesterday. Pic: Gregg Porteous




</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff height=10></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Kewell moved freely and aggressively during the Socceroos' first practice in Germany and appears to have fully recovered from the recurrence of a groin injury sustained during the FA Cup final three weeks ago.

In what will be a major boost to a team that struggled to find an attacking spark against The Netherlands on Sunday, it now seems certain the left winger will start in Australia's final warm-up early tomorrow morning (AEST) against Liechtenstein.

If he gets through that game, Kewell, 27, will have made a compelling argument that he should be included in the starting line-up for the first World Cup game against Japan on Monday even if coach Guus Hiddink is leaning toward saving him as a high-impact substitute.

The Australians were further encouraged by the fact Tim Cahill, the goalscoring hero of the 1-1 draw against the Dutch, also appeared uninhibited in his movement on Monday, shaking off the effects of a knee injury sustained playing for Everton, while veteran defender Tony Popovic is also available for selection.

"Everyone is fine," a relieved assistant coach Graham Arnold said.

"We have total full-squad selection. We trained this afternoon and both Harry Kewell and Tony Popovic joined in.

"Everyone is back on board."

Liverpool's Spanish coach Rafael Benitez - who once thought Kewell to be a waste of money, openly questioning his desire to play - predicted the Australian could make a big splash in the tournament.

"Last season was Harry's best for Liverpool and it was very unfortunate he was hurt in the cup final. That was unlucky for him.

"Until then he'd had no problems with his fitness since his comeback and was getting stronger with every game.

"There were a lot of games last season when we saw Harry beating players and making a lot of crosses. He played his part in a much better season for us in the Premiership."

Kewell will need to show stamina much more than style against Liechtenstein considering his only outing since breaking down on May 13 was against a Dutch amateur side - even bigger cannon fodder than the tiny European principality - last Friday.

Last week in The Netherlands, Hiddink appeared to have made his mind up that Kewell would play as a super-sub during the Cup.

"He will not be top-fit in the tournament," the coach said. "He is not a player who will be able to go full out for 90 minutes for three games. We have to be careful how we deal with that."

But as Hiddink later acknowledged, Kewell is one of the few who can make the difference with one action.

The Australian

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 05:24 AM
Cahill fit, raring to go
By Guy Hand in Oehringen, Germany
June 7, 2006

AUSTRALIA midfield player Tim Cahill has declared he can play as many World Cup minutes as coach Guus Hiddink wants him to, saying he is fit and firing after recovering from a knee injury.

Cahill believes he is ready to play 90 minutes in the Socceroos' opener against Japan on Monday despite an interrupted preparation following a knee ligament injury sustained in April playing for English Premier League club Everton.

The Socceroos eased Cahill through their Melbourne training camp a fortnight ago, and he missed the 1-0 friendly win against European champion Greece.

He has since played two half-games with mixed results - against Dutch amateur side VV Kloetinge last Friday and a substitute's appearance against the Netherlands in last Sunday's 1-1 draw.

Cahill scored in the 8-1 win over Kloetinge but jarred his knee and left the field at half-time as a precaution.

He then came on to score the equaliser against the Netherlands in Rotterdam, turning in an all-action 40-minute performance in the sort of physical game he relishes.

"I'm doing what everyone else is doing," Cahill said of his preparation.

"It's been a long time coming since I've been injured but the only way to find out is by playing.

"I just jarred (the knee on Friday) - nothing I could do about it.

"I could have possibly played on, but it's the World Cup I've got to look forward too, not games like that.

"I'm not nervous - I just want to play."

Cahill has had plenty of first-hand experience against Hidetoshi Nakata, the midfield player considered to be one of Japan's stars.

Nakata has gone head-to-head with Cahill in the English Premier League - Nakata plying his trade for Bolton Wanderers - and the Australian is a big fan, nominating him as the player the Socceroos must stop.

"Great ball player," Cahill said of Nakata.

"He can see a pass before he's made it.

"He can makes things happen, and they've got a lot of good players like (Celtic midfield player Shunsuke) Nakamura.

"They're very good players and we've got to show them a lot of respect."

AAP

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 07:23 AM
Neill wary of referees
By Guy Hand
June 7, 2006

AUSTRALIA defender Lucas Neill fears overzealous officials looking to tone down physical play may ruin the team's hopes against World Cup favourite Brazil.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira today welcomed FIFA president Sepp Blatter's call for referees to "protect the good players" from overly rough play in the tournament starting on Saturday (AEST).

But Neill fears officials will get carried away, believing Blatter's call may have an adverse impact on the Socceroos - especially against Brazil in Group F on June 18.

The Australians were criticised by some Dutch players for their physical style in their drawn friendly in Rotterdam on Sunday.

"The game against Brazil is going to be all desperation and lunges, and I hope it doesn't turn into a bit of a farce," Neill said.

Neill defended Australia's committed approach that upset some of the Dutch players, because it was a warm-up game, saying the Socceroos were playing to their strengths against a more skilful team.

"We just try to assert our authority by playing a high-pressure, high-tempo game," he said.

"We had to try and upset the rhythm of their passing game because they're so technically gifted.

"I thought we did it very well."

Parreira meanwhile hoped that referees would heed Blatter's instructions.

"We always hear this before a World Cup," he said.

"They always say violence will not be allowed and gamesmanship will be stopped. It's a good idea and I want to see it put into practice."

Brazil is wary of the threat posed by Australia and its committed style.

"Australia are very tough opponents, and they're going to cause trouble for all the teams in the group, including us," Parreira said.

"We have to make our skill count, we have to impose our skill and keep the ball on the ground."

Australia plays Liechtenstein in its final pre-World Cup friendlies tomorrow morning (AEST), but the Socceroos are already focusing their attention on their opening World Cup match - against Japan in Kaiserslautern on Monday.

The fixture is considered a virtual sudden-death match for both teams.

Neill said the team's preparation had been perfect, having answered the three challenges posed by European champion Greece a fortnight ago, world No.3 the Netherlands on Sunday, and coach Guus Hiddink on the training pitch.

"I'm glad for the games we've had to prepare because it's asking some questions and we're answering them, and on the training pitch," he said.

"We're going to go in fully equipped and prepared."

thebest
June 7, 2006, 08:02 AM
Mate carry on with dream. Croatia and Japan would nail you. Did you watch how Japan played againest Brazil Confedartion game? They drew it and that was a competative game (not a frinedly). They beat european champion and simply unlucky to lose againest Mexico.

tiger_man
June 7, 2006, 10:59 AM
Mate carry on with dream. Croatia and Japan would nail you. Did you watch how Japan played againest Brazil Confedartion game? They drew it and that was a competative game (not a frinedly). They beat european champion and simply unlucky to lose againest Mexico.

nailing australia isnt as easy as u think.....uruguay tried nailing us but it backfired...same goes for greece

AsifTheManRahman
June 7, 2006, 11:07 AM
i don't know about croatia, but i am pretty sure the japanese will have the last smile after ninety minutes in the middle with the socceroos.

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 12:11 PM
Did you watch how Japan played againest Brazil Confedartion game? They drew it and that was a competative game (not a frinedly). They beat european champion and simply unlucky to lose againest Mexico.
If you want to talk Confederations Cup (Yes, 'that' tournament which took place 12 months ago) - Australia lost 4-3 to Germany & 4-2 to Argentina in the Group Stages. This was under Frank Farina's guideance.

The side has come a long way under Hiddink, since that tournament. In fact, Australia defeated Uruguay only a couple of months later to Qualify for this World Cup (a side that - beat Brazil 1:0, drew 1:1 with Colombia & drew 1:1 with Argentina - in the 4 months preceding the WC Qualifiers). Australia can certainly turn it on when it counts, too.

On Japan. Is this the same side that recorded a measly 1-0 over Malta the other night - prompting it's finest player, Hidetoshi Nakata, to blast his teammates for 'lacking the heart' and labelling his team 'a shambles' less than a week out from its opening World Cup fixture against the Socceroos? Hmmmmm.

Past 'successes' count for nothing, now, mate.

Mate carry on with dream. Croatia and Japan would nail you.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I will happily reserve my judgements until after the 1st Round.

'Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be. We're going to Germany. Que Sera Sera.'

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 12:22 PM
Australia
2006 World Cup squad
Coach: Guus Hiddink

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/74/Socceroos.jpg/180px-Socceroos.jpg

No. Pos. Player.Club.
1 GK Mark Schwarzer Middlesborough
2 DF Lucas Neill Blackburn Rovers
3 DF Craig Moore Newcastle United
4 MF Tim Cahill Everton
5 MF Jason Culina PSV Eindhoven
6 DF Tony Popovic Crystal Palace
7 MF Brett Emerton Blackburn Rovers
8 MF Josip Skoko Wigan Athletic
9 FW Mark Viduka Middlesbrough
10 FW Harry Kewell Liverpool
11 MF Stan Lazaridis Birmingham City
12 GK Ante Covic Hammarby
13 MF Vince Grella Parma
14 DF Scott Chipperfield FC Basel
15 FW John Aloisi Deportivo Alavés
16 DF Michael Beauchamp Central Coast Mariners
17 FW Archie Thompson PSV Eindhoven
18 GK Zeljko Kalac A.C. Milan
19 FW Joshua Kennedy Dynamo Dresden
20 MF Luke Wilkshire Bristol City
21 MF Mile Sterjovski FC Basel
22 DF Mark Milligan Sydney FC
23 MF Marco Bresciano Parma

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 12:31 PM
International Friendly
Group F

Australia v Liechtenstein
18:30 UK

Spain v Croatia
20:00 UK<!-- end pre-game --><!--end col-->

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 12:46 PM
Shocking start by the Socceroos.

Liechtenstein up 1-0 thanks to a Lucas Neill OG.

Almost conceded another, soon after, too.

tiger_man
June 7, 2006, 12:52 PM
ya its 3 40 in the morning nd i watched for a while...the sbs coverage was horrible...

i dont think australia is playing to their full potential....they wud rather take it easy nd give in than play to their full potential nd loose a player or 2 to injury

japs lost to mexico aswell....winning these last warm up match isnt worth it if its gonna cost u a few player...

viduka, aloisi, bresciano arent even on the field....i dont wanna stay up 4 in the morning nd watch a team of subs play ...so i left nd writing this post...

YAWN....newayz good nite...

tiger_man
June 7, 2006, 12:55 PM
btw, schwarzer isnt on the goalpost either...so ofcourse goals r gonna come raining down...

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 01:00 PM
Lets not start making excuses now. We started horribly.

Australia 1-1 Liechtenstein (30 mins)

Mr-Cricket
June 7, 2006, 02:29 PM
Full Time

Australia 3-1 Liechtenstein

Very lacklustre display by the Aussies. The passing was poor throughout the night, and the Defence had another one to forget. 7 changes from the squad that took on the Netherlands the other night. No Viduka, Culina, Bresciano, Grella, Chipperfield & Schwarzer. Kewell, Cahill & Aloisi returning from Injury + Popovic & Lazaridis also started. Kewell looked promising in patches, Aloisi worked hard, but Cahill can improve. Both Popovic & Lazaridis had shockers. In short, Defence was very sloppy, but for me, Josh Kennedy has really impressed in the 30 minutes he played.

Mr-Cricket
June 8, 2006, 12:02 AM
Socceroos make life tough
Guy Hand in Ulm, Germany
June 8, 2006

Liechtenstein 1 Australia 3
AUSTRALIA survived a huge pre-World Cup scare from tiny Liechtenstein this morning (AEST), scoring twice in the final 15 minutes to post a 3-1 friendly win in Ulm.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5165460,00.jpg Bright spot ... Kewell played for an hour. Pic: Reuters




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Substitute Joshua Kennedy scored in the 75th minute with a header to break a 1-1 deadlock and John Aloisi put the issue beyond doubt with Australia's third goal just seven minutes from time.

What was expected to be an easy kill for Australia against a team ranked well outside the world's top 100 was anything but.

The Socceroos had to fight back from a goal down, going behind after defender Lucas Neill sent a header into his own goal in the eighth minute.

Striker Mile Sterjovski got the Socceroos back on level terms after 20 minutes but Guus Hiddink's men could not find a way past their plucky opponent, despite several chances.

Liechtenstein, with a population of just 33,000, also had its chances particularly in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

The largely unimpressive performance will give Australia plenty to think about before its World Cup opener against Japan on Monday.

One of the few bright spots was the impressive performance from Harry Kewell who played for an hour before being substituted.

In the dying minutes, Hiddink also sent on Mark Milligan, as well as training extras Neil Kilkenny and Kristian Sarkies for their international debuts.

Coach Hiddink wasn't surprised his team lacked sharpness just three days after its 1-1 draw against the Netherlands in Rotterdam.

"It is normal that we don't play as well as we did over there. There was a bit of a lack of concentration and we cannot afford to make those types of mistakes,'' he said.

The Dutchman felt his men steadily improved as the match wore on.

"Well after that sloppy period in the beginning, we started to build up a little more pace in the second half especially with some changes on the left side and we went somewhat better," he said.

Hiddink was heartened by Kewell's return from a groin injury but felt the Liverpool star must continue to improve before the Japan clash.

"We planned to play him (for) an hour so he can practice again tomorrow and the day after.

"I hope, bit by bit, he recovers his strength because you need to be fit," Hiddink said.

"He did a rather good job but still has to find another 20 to 30 per cent more strength."

AAP

Mr-Cricket
June 8, 2006, 12:04 AM
Villain Torres makes amends
From correspondents in Geneva, Switzerland
June 8, 2006

Spain 2 Croatia 1
A CLASSY extra-time goal from striker Fernando Torres and a free kick from debutant Mariano Pernia earned Spain victory in a World Cup warm-up today (AEST).

Spain appeared to be heading for defeat after centreback Pablo Ibanez nodded the ball into his own net after Niko Kranjcar floated a seemingly innocuous ball into the area in the 14th minute.

But Pernia, making his first appearance in a Spain shirt after being called up to replace the injured Asier del Horno, equalised when his miscued free kick made its way through a forest of defenders and crept past keeper Stipe Pletikosa at the far post just after the hour.

Torres looked to have spurned the chance to win the match for Spain 15 minutes from time, when he had a weakly struck penalty saved by Pletikosa, but he atoned by scoring a fine individual goal in stoppage time.

The Atletico Madrid striker cut past two defenders and slotted the ball inside the post to give his side the win and stretch its unbeaten record to 22 matches.

Spain begins its Group H campaign against Ukraine in Leipzig bext Wednesday, then faces Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Croatia, which finished third in its inaugural World Cup in 1998 but went out in the first round four years ago in South Korea and Japan, faces a baptism of fire in Group F.

It meets five-time world champion and tournament favourite Brazil in its opening match in Berlin on Tuesday facing Japan and Australia.

Agence France-Presse

Mr-Cricket
June 8, 2006, 12:09 AM
Brazil warned to be 'patient'
From correspondents in Brazil
June 8, 2006

BRAZIL wingback Roberto Carlos has warned his teammates not to be over-confident but to be patient as they chase a sixth World Cup win.

"It's a short competition and there's no room for mistakes," said the Real Madrid defender overnight as he contemplated a second Cup triumph, after 2002, ahead of Wednesday's (AEST) Group F opener with Croatia.

"We are talking to the youngsters a lot to impress on them what the World Cup is all about. Most of them play for a big club and have big-match experience but a World Cup is different," said the 33-year-old veteran of the side which lost the 1998 final to France.

Oozing talent, Brazil is favourite to make it six titles in all – but Roberto Carlos said it must take nothing for granted.

"Everyone thinks it's easy but we have to keep focused. Over the past 12 years Brazil has been in the final (1994, 1998, 2002) and we must retain this mentality while respecting opponents.

"We mustn't fall into thinking we are the best – we lost the 1998 World Cup and the 1997 Copa America like that," he said, adding that Brazil has to watch out for Croatia on the counter attack.

Last year the teams parted 1-1 in a friendly when Croatia threw caution to the wind up front – a tactic Roberto Carlos doesn't expect to see this time.

"Frankly, I don't think they'll put three up front against us at a World Cup. But Croatia are a good side with experienced players of quality. I think for us it will be important to keep our nerve and control the ball."

With an ageing defence, Brazil's strengths appear greatest in attack, as is its tradition.

But Roberto Carlos insisted that "we have a solid backline.

"And in addition to that, we'll certainly get goals as we have a fantastic group of players up front."

Agence France-Presse

Mr-Cricket
June 8, 2006, 02:57 AM
Guus sick of sloppy Roos
By Toby Forage
Fox Sports editor
June 8, 2006

GUUS Hiddink went in hard on a sloppy Australia today after the Socceroos put in a lacklustre display against Liechtenstein in their final World Cup warm-up.
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5165819,00.jpg Promise ... but Hiddink feels Kewell is not 100 per cent. Pic: Reuters





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Australia recorded a 3-1 win, but the scoreline was a flattering one for Hiddink's charges, who went behind to a Lucas Neill own goal before pulling clear for victory with only 15 minutes of the match remaining.

The Dutch coach was given heart from some individual performances, but he got heartburn from several others.

"We played too slow. I didn't like the way we started the game," Hiddink fumed.

"I cannot stand this lack of concentration.

"We must wake up. We cannot afford this in the first game."

Hiddink has been putting the Socceroos through some serious training sessions over the past few weeks, flogging them into full match fitness ahead of Monday's Group F clash with Japan.
While they performed admirably against world No.3 the Netherlands on Sunday night - snatching a 1-1 draw despite being down to 10-men for half an hour - today's effort was far from convincing against a team ranked well outside the world's top 100.

Only 33,000 people live in Liechtenstein, yet the part-time minnow stretched the Socceroos far too much for Hiddink's liking.

He said the team could not afford so many mistakes against Japan, let alone defending champion Brazil which heads up Group F, and European dark horse Croatia.

"There is still lots to do still because we can't afford these errors," Hiddink said.

Liverpool star Harry Kewell was happier than his coach having got through the match unscathed as he continues his rehabilitation from a groin injury.

The playmaker was impressive for the 60 minutes he spent on the field, and claimed Hiddink's pushing of the past fortnight was key to him feeling as good as he is.

"I feel I could play 120 (minutes)," Kewell said. "But it's the manager's choice. We're working together and let's see where it takes me."

Hiddink, however, remains unconvinced by Kewell's fitness, and said while he is impressing, there is still work to do.

"He's not in full shape but that's why these games are very important for him," Hiddink said.

"He will be there against Japan if he makes progress in the next few days, whether it's from the start or coming in later."

Another bright spot for Australia was the performance of lanky striker Josh Kennedy, who scored Australia's second goal on his full international debut coming off the bench.

Kennedy climbed high to head home a Brett Emerton cross in the 75th minute to put the Socceroos 2-1 ahead and made a nuisance of himself in the penalty area on several other occasions.

The Socceroos had to fight back from a goal down after Neill awkwardly headed back into his own net in the eighth minute.
The clumsy defending came after a seemingly innocuous free-kick, which Neill managed to loop past a sprawling and helpless Zeljko Kalac.

Striker Mile Sterjovski got the Socceroos back on level terms after 20 minutes but they could not find a way past their plucky opponents despite a stack of chances, which will be a concern to Hiddink.

Liechtenstein also had its chances particularly in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, before Kennedy broke the 1-1 deadlock and nearly an hour of Socceroos frustration with 15 minutes remaining.

John Aloisi put the issue beyond doubt with Australia's third goal seven minutes from time.

With AAP

FOX SPORTS

Mr-Cricket
June 8, 2006, 03:07 AM
Pele tips Brazil to struggle




Japan missing heart: NakataCroatia detects defensive chinks



Guus sick of sloppy Roos


Heavens! Whatevers next? :D

tiger_man
June 8, 2006, 03:56 AM
i reckon every1 is trying to be modest....trying to make themselves sound very unprepared so opponents will go easy on them to begin with b4 they lauch the actual assault..

IanW
June 8, 2006, 10:12 AM
Tiger-man,

Never !

But seriously, 3-1 against Lichestein isnt good enough. I think Australia, Japan and Croatia will all be a totally mess, with all sides knowing 2 wins should be enough to progress ... and each of them having enough that, with a large helping of luck, that they can maybe take a point off Brazil.

It's a good group, and I'm expecting good games.

Ian Whitchurch

Mr-Cricket
June 9, 2006, 10:52 AM
Socceroos quiet on Viduka
From Guy Hand in Oehringen, Germany,
June 9, 2006

AUSTRALIA is playing down the disturbing sight of skipper Mark Viduka limping and wearing a compression sock just four days out from its World Cup opener.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5166372,00.jpg Worry ... Viduka looks on at training. Pic: Reuters



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Viduka didn't train with his teammates today, instead leaving the field with physiotherapist Les Gelis for treatment on a calf injury as serious training started for the rest of the Socceroos squad.

Viduka emerged late in the session wearing a compression sock on his right calf before limping to the team bus, fuelling fears he may have a fitness issue the Socceroos can ill afford going into their opening match against Japan in Kaiserslautern on Monday.

The official line is Viduka has a "tight calf" and the skipper will be fine to play Japan.

But the spin was similar for midfield player Marco Bresciano two days before, and he revealed today he was actually bed-ridden by an ear infection.

Set-piece specialist Bresciano had been put on cortisone and antibiotics to fight the pain and infection, although he recovered well enough to train with the team overnight and said he would definitely play against Japan.

"I've had it for about four or five days but a couple of nights ago I couldn't sleep and I found out it was an ear infection," Bresciano said.

"I'm actually feeling a lot better. I've still got pain but its bearable now.

"I was just in bed. It's more just the pain. There wasn't any imbalance or anything."

Bresciano's recovery is heartening news for the Socceroos, who are likely to rely heavily on the Italian-based player's delivery from corners and free-kicks to trouble a Japan defence they rate as vulnerable to set-pieces and aerial balls.

That perceived weakness could also lead to an opportunity for Australia's giant striker Josh Kennedy as a possible game-breaker against Japan.

Kennedy proved his mettle in Australia's lacklustre win over Liechtenstein yesterday (AEST).

Causing havoc in the air after coming on with the score at 1-1, Kennedy got his head to a Brett Emerton cross with 15 minutes remaining to break the deadlock.

If Australia finds itself in a similar situation against Japan, Kennedy now appears certain to be coach Guus Hiddink's weapon of choice.

Japan also has its own injury worries, with playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura - one of the two skilful midfield players Australia must muzzle on Monday along with Hidetoshi Nakata - quitting training early today with a hamstring injury.

"He felt something funny in his left hamstring and we told him to rest up and play it safe," Japan team doctor Tsuguo Morikawa said.

AAP

tiger_man
June 9, 2006, 10:01 PM
:down: :down: :down: great news.....he HAD to get injured b4 the biggest games...

Mr-Cricket
June 10, 2006, 02:58 AM
Yehhh, I'm not happy! I just got my Socceroos jersey numbered with 'Viduka' '9' on the front and back! :mad:

Mr-Cricket
June 10, 2006, 03:07 AM
Socceroos 'will find' 30pc
By Guy Hand in Oehringen
June 10, 2006

THE Socceroos have promised the "missing 30 per cent" coach Guus Hiddink has demanded will be found in time for Monday's World Cup opener against Japan.

Hiddink spoke of needing another 30 per cent improvement after his side's impressive 1-0 win over Greece nearly three weeks ago.

And he has spoken consistently since of being "70 per cent happy" and his players needing to raise the bar – even after the gutsy 1-1 draw with world No.3 Holland last week.

The Dutchman was ropable with elements of the Socceroos' final pre-World Cup hitout against tiny Liechtenstein in Ulm on Wednesday – describing the 3-1 win as sloppy and telling his players they needed to "wake up" in a rare public blast.

But his players say they are ready to fire after an intense preparation, marked by a heavy three-week training workload which is now only starting to taper off.

"From (the Liechtenstein game) there's a fair bit of improvement left in us," midfielder Brett Emerton said.

"We were only about 60 or 70 per cent in that game. We made a few changes and played a different formation, but that's no excuse.

"We'll be looking to put in a much better performance in the first game. It's a lot better to get a sloppy performance out of the way now than in the World Cup."

Midfielder Josip Skoko, one of few to emerge from the Liechtenstein game with some credit, said the disappointing performance had not eroded the team's confidence going into the Japan game.

"We have to work on some things, making less errors, but in bigger games against better quality opposition, we'll get it right," Skoko said.

"The negatives we'll look at and work on.

"We've had some good results coming in. It hasn't changed our confidence position."

The Socceroos are hoping to shelve speculation concerning skipper Mark Viduka's World Cup fitness, sweating on him being able to train fully with his teammates.

They have played down the disturbing sight of Viduka, Australia's attacking spearhead, limping and wearing a compression sock just days out from the team's World Cup opener against Japan.

Viduka didn't train with his teammates on Thursday, instead leaving the field with physiotherapist Les Gelis for treatment on a right calf injury, as serious training started for the squad.

He emerged late in the session wearing a compression sock on his calf before limping to the team bus, fuelling fears he may have a fitness issue the Socceroos can ill afford going into what looms as a must-win match against Japan.

Viduka also dodged a scheduled media appearance to add to the concern.

The official line is Viduka has a "tight calf" and will be fine to play Japan, and the Socceroos were given the day off on Friday after a testing three weeks of training.

They return to the training track in Oehringen today before they head to Kaiserslautern in the country's west the following day ahead of Monday's match.

It will be Australia's first World Cup finals appearance in 32 years, with more Aussies expected to tune in to the match (Monday at 11pm AEST) than any other soccer game in the nation's history.

AAP

Mr-Cricket
June 10, 2006, 01:03 PM
Roos ready for game of their lives
By David Lewis in Stuttgart
June 11, 2006

WITH the phony war finally over, Australia enter what is effectively its World Cup final against Japan tomorrow night happy to be the underdog.

A day on the golf course after a gruelling few months of two-a-day training sessions has the Socceroos primed for the game of their lives in Kaiserslautern, in what is the biggest game in the history of Australian football.

"We have a chance to create new history," defender Lucas Neill said from the team's base at Oehringen in southern Germany.

"We're determined not to go out and lose three games in a row. That would be 'well done, you got to the World Cup'.

"That's not good enough any more.

"We have set higher expectations than that. I don't want to just make up the numbers. I don't want to fall flat on my face."

Chastened by a below-par performance in the final friendly match against European minnow Liechtenstein, the Socceroos have to raise their game against a Japanese outfit rated the No.1 team in Asia.

While the 1974 Socceroos lost two matches and drew one in Germany, without scoring a goal in the group stage, Guus Hiddink's 2006 version has its eyes on the second round and beyond.

And for that dream to be realised, a win against the Japan - or at least a draw - is paramount.

"The first game is always the most important," midfield player Jason Culina said.

"You come away with three points and all you need is basically a point from the other two games."

Stellar displays against Greece and the Netherlands have the Socceroos brimming with confidence that they can escape Group F as the second-best qualifier behind Brazil.

Assistant coach Graham Arnold said: "The games against Uruguay, Greece and (the Netherlands) set the bar pretty high and now the players know that they have to live up to it every time they play.

"Anything less just isn't going to get us anywhere."

Arnold is well equipped to discuss Japan after rounding off his long overseas playing career with a two-year stint with Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

"They will probably expect to beat us, which actually suits us fine," Arnold said.

"Australians across all codes love to be the underdogs and we're also happy with that.

"If anybody wants to underestimate us, good.

"Japan are the No.1 team in Asia but we're not overly concerned by that and we're feeling confident of getting the result we need."

Arnold gave few clues about Hiddink's likely starting line-up against the Blue Samurai, though Mark Schwarzer is expected to be confirmed as goalkeeper ahead of Zeljko Kalac.

Everton midfield player Tim Cahill is more likely to start than Harry Kewell, with the Liverpool match-winner being considered as an impact player from the bench.

Arnold also doused any concerns over captain Mark Viduka, saying his rest from training two days ago was purely precautionary to protect a sore calf.

Marco Bresciano, the Parma midfield player, is on the mend from his ear infection and will also start.

Neill acknowledged the speed and skill of Japan, which reached the final 16 of the World Cup it co-hosted in 2002, but said it held no fears for the Socceroos.

"I think everyone feels Japan is a team that's there to be beaten," Neill said.

"They were a very strong force in the last World Cup, highly committed and obviously a lot of money was put into them because of the fact they were hosting the tournament.

"But I think they've dropped off the pace since then.

"They are in a transition period, and I think it's probably a perfect time to be playing them.

"Three points from this match would just shape our whole tournament. It could decide whether we make it into the second round.

"If we beat Japan we would go into the next match (against Brazil) thinking if we got a draw it could take us through.

"That's why it's so crucial. We'll be looking to make that our Cup final."

The Sunday Telegraph

Mr-Cricket
June 10, 2006, 01:06 PM
Viduka returns to training
From Guy Hand in Oehringen, Germany
June 11, 2006

AUSTRALIA captain Mark Viduka has rejoined his teammates for a closed training session ahead of Australia's World Cup opener on Monday.

Viduka missed the majority of training on Thursday with a calf injury, and eventually emerged late in the session limping and wearing a compression sock.

But he was back warming up with his teammates for the start of today's session with no apparent problems - though what happened beyond that is a mystery after coach Guus Hiddink locked out media to work on team shape and tactics.

Hiddink called off a planned morning session to concentrate on just the one hitout today.

The team is scheduled for a final training run at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern tomorrow - the venue for its match against Japan the following day.

Nine of the 11 starting spots in the team to play Japan seem to have been sealed, though conjecture remains about two midfield spots, including the one nominally belonging to Harry Kewell.

Much will depend on whether Hiddink decides to start Kewell or use him as an impact player to ensure no problems with the groin injury that has affected his World Cup preparation.

If he decides to take the latter option, striker John Aloisi may join Viduka up front in a 4-4-2 formation, or wide midfield player Mile Sterjovski may be named as a straight swap for Kewell in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Tim Cahill appears likely to get the nod ahead of Josip Skoko for the other midfield spot, though Skoko could still be a starter as another option to step in for Kewell.

Hiddink and Viduka meanwhile received a written message of support today from Prime Minister John Howard.

"All Australians will be right behind you," Mr Howard wrote, adding his and the nation's best wishes for the Socceroos' first World Cup appearance in 32 years.

The team has been inundated with messages of support from a diverse range of high-profile Australians, including champion swimmers Grant Hackett and Leisel Jones, three-time Gold Logie winner Rove McManus and singer Shannon Noll.

AAP

Miraz
June 10, 2006, 01:15 PM
Here's the preview of the Japan- Australia match

Japan (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/team/overview.html?team=jpn) kick off their FIFA World Cup bid on 12 June at Kaiserslautern's Fritz-Walter-Stadion (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/d/s/kaiserslautern.html) with a stated target of reaching the semi-finals. Their opponents Australia (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/team/overview.html?team=aus) are appearing at their second FIFA World Cup, 32 years after their first appearance, also on German soil, and this opening Group F clash could well prove vital to both sides' hopes of a place in the next round. <TABLE align=right><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>


Colours for the game
Australia: yellow shirt, green shorts, yellow socks
Japan: blue shirt, white shorts, blue socks
The players
Japan are particularly well served in the midfield area, boasting talented overseas-based players such as Hidetoshi Nakata - set for his third consecutive FIFA World Cup and with experience of Italy's Serie A and the English Premiership - and Shunsuke Nakamura, currently at Celtic after three seasons playing for Reggina in Italy. The Australia squad also comprises mainly European-based players and the Japan defence must be particularly aware of the quick footwork of Liverpool winger Harry Kewell, who could prove a major threat down the left for Australia. Captain Mark Viduka will also test the Japanese with his power and skill up front.
How they qualified
Japan topped Group B in the final round of the Asian qualifiers and were the first team to qualify for the finals after the host nation Germany. Their only defeat in that final round was a 2-1 loss to Iran in Tehran. The Socceroos qualified by defeating Uruguay in the intercontinental play-off. The aggregate score was level at 1-1 after two legs, taking the second-leg tie in Sydney into penalties, where goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was Australia's hero.
Past meetings
The two sides have never met at the FIFA World Cup although they did face each other in the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001, where Japan were narrow 1-0 winners thanks to Hidetoshi Nakata's pinpoint free-kick. In ten meetings overall, Japan have three victories to their name and Australia four.
Tournament history
A FIFA member since 1929, Germany 2006 will be Japan's third FIFA World Cup finals following their participation in the previous two editions. Their first appearance came at France 98, where they lost all three matches, but the Blues bounced back four years later to reach the last 16 on home soil. As for Australia, they head to Germany having missed out on the last eight tournaments. Since gaining FIFA member status in 1963, their only other appearance was at the 1974 tournament in Germany, where they were knocked out in the first round. Subsequent qualifying campaigns have seen them regularly overpower their regional rivals in the Oceania qualifying zone, only to fall at the last hurdle, the intercontinental play-offs. The Socceroos are therefore especially determined to make an impression this time around.
Key contest
The inspiration behind Japan's attacking play is the gifted left foot of Brazilian-born wide manAlessandro Santos (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/player/187349_SANTOS_Alessandro.html). The Urawa Reds man will line up against Blackburn Rovers winger Brett Emerton (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/player/178306_EMERTON_Brett.html). Emerton scored four goals in eight games in qualifying, and his attacking abilities will certainly put Santos under pressure. Attacks down the flanks could hold the key for both teams, and the battle between this pair may prove pivotal. The coaches
This tournament will be the first time that Japan coach Zico (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/team/coach.html?team=JPN) has led a team into a FIFA World Cup finals. As a player, wearing Brazil's coveted No.10 shirt, he played in three consecutive finals (1978, 1982 and 1986). He has endeavoured to give the players as much freedom as possible, an approach which has helped many Japanese internationals reach their full potential. Although a less-exalted player than Zico, Australia coach, Guus Hiddink (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/team/coach.html?team=AUS), is one of the world's most-respected coaches. He took the Netherlands to the semi-finals at France 98, then led Korea Republic's historic charge to the last four at Korea/Japan 2002. He worked his magic again this time round by breaking Australia's play-off hoodoo and taking them safely through to Germany.

Mr-Cricket
June 10, 2006, 01:22 PM
Thanks Miraz. :up:

Mr-Cricket
June 11, 2006, 06:06 AM
Kaji ruled out of Australia match
From correspondents in Bonn, Germany
June 11, 2006

JAPAN coach Zico has ruled out injured first-choice right winger Akira Kaji from the Asian champion's World Cup opener against Australia on Monday.

But the 26-year-old Osaka Gamba star may be ready for Japan's second match against 1998 semi-finalist Croatia on June 18.

"Kaji is in the process of improving," Zico said after training today before Japan left Bonn for Kaiserslautern, where it plays Australia.

"I think he can make it on the 18th, barring any more problems."

Kaji, who leads Japan's wing attacks with Brazilian-born left-winger Alessandro "Alex" Santos, hurt his right ankle when he was tackled from behind by Bastian Schweinsteiger in a 2-2 friendly draw against Germany 11 days ago.

Kaji, the member of Japan's injury-hit squad still unable to resume full team training, was seen jogging separately at today's training session.

"It still hurts when I make small steps and turns," Kaji said of the injury.

"But I can kick the ball without feeling any pain.

Zico also said that he expected Atsushi Yanagisawa, one of Japan's top strikers, to be fit for the match against the Socceroos.

Yanagisawa complained of pain in his right hamstring after playing in the Germany friendly.

His strike partner, Naohiro Takahara, also injured in the Germany match, in which he scored twice, has regained full fitness.

"Yanagisawa has cleared everything, expanding his regimen day by day," Zico said.

Agence France-Presse

Mr-Cricket
June 11, 2006, 06:09 AM
Roos anger at fair-play slur
June 11, 2006

AUSTRALIA has reacted angrily to Japan suggestions they are a dirty team, raising the stakes even further for the most important football match in Australian history.

Japanese Football Association chief executive Saburo Kawabuchi has inflamed tensions between the two sides ahead of their World Cup opener in Kaiserslatuern tomorrow.

"Australia are guilty of a lot of dirty fouls," Kawabuchi told Japanese sports magazine Japanese sport daily Hochi.

"They target ankles in particular. Japan must stand up to them."

Playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura also bought into the argument, saying Japan hopes to be able to draw fouls around the edge of the box because of the Socceroos' penchant for getting stuck in.

But Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink described the Japanese comments as "irresponsible behaviour" and believes the furore arising from Australia's style of play in the 1-1 draw against Holland last week is designed to influence referees.

"That's ridiculous," an angry Hiddink said of the comments.

"I am getting very angry when people are suggesting this.

"We have a good team, they like to fight in a game, and when people come out with this (these comments) ... it is irresponsible behaviour."

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has also publicly questioned Australia's tactics the past week and urged referees to protect his players against the Socceroos when they play their second Group F match on June 18.

Hiddink said comments designed to influence referees were not sportsmanlike.

"That's not fair – you should play fair at the beginning. Judge if the moments are there (in a game). Don't condition referees by making those comments," he said.

"The people who make these comments show irresponsible behaviour towards our team and the sport in general."

Skipper Mark Viduka vowed the team would not change its approach and "would never pull out of a tackle".

"To be honest I don't know what the hype's about. We as Australians play fair every time we go out," he said.

"We're very competitive people, we want to win, we will never pull out of a tackle.

"But it doesn't mean we go out to hurt people."

Hiddink looks set to use Harry Kewell off the bench, saying today he is unsure whether the Liverpool star would be able to last a full game because he had missed so much fitness work following his groin injury.

It is believed that Mile Sterjovski will start as Viduka's attacking support from midfield, with Kewell and giant striker Josh Kennedy likely to be used as impact weapons off the bench to test Japan's defence late in the match.

Tim Cahill is also expected to be preferred to Josip Skoko in midfield, although Hiddink's intentions will become clearer in the team's final training session ahead of the match overnight (AEST).

He usually hands out the coveted yellow bibs, indicating the starting 11, for a match simulation during training against those who haven't made the team.

The Socceroos' final session will be at the venue for tomorrow's match – the Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern.

They will stay overnight in the town in western Germany, which is a two-hour drive from their Friedrichsruhe base.

AAP

Mr-Cricket
June 11, 2006, 02:26 PM
A couple of hilarious Nike 'Joga Bonito' Socceroos videos off Youtube. Currently being shown on TV down here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GOvjTaW3fM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lBMnN_0GEk


LOL @ "Soccer-who's"! :D

abdulw11
June 11, 2006, 02:46 PM
The second video is the best :D

IanW
June 12, 2006, 09:56 AM
Ahem, a short message from the man of the match's old club ...

"No-one loves us we dont care, Millwall, Millwall".

Ian Whitchurch

Orpheus
June 12, 2006, 10:19 AM
A couple of hilarious Nike 'Joga Bonito' Socceroos videos off Youtube. Currently being shown on TV down here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GOvjTaW3fM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lBMnN_0GEk


LOL @ "Soccer-who's"! :D

Not bad.

Anywas from the ads so far shown here, I really like the adidas ad. Jose + 10

Very cool ad....I like the shoretened one where Jose picks beckenbauer.. and every is like Beckenbauer? haha... and Beckenbuer runs in...

Gem.

Miraz
June 12, 2006, 11:16 AM
Australia really surprised me with the pace and fitness. They were sim ply superb in attack and dominated the midfield right from the beginning.

Japan made few tactical mostake after leading by a solitary goal. They were attackign through wings but had little support in the middle. Wingers also wasted most of the cross.

Now, I think, Brazil - Australia will be a good match.

tiger_man
June 12, 2006, 11:18 AM
i think brazil-australia is gonna be a piece of cake waiting to be eaten...with cahill and aloisi on attack....we will eat them alive...

Mr-Cricket
June 12, 2006, 12:15 PM
aaaaaaaahhhhhh omg what a win amazing stuff fellas jujst got hommee tpook me few goes to log in australia!! timmhyy!!!!!

amazing!!

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 04:29 AM
Cahill keeps the dream alive
By Andy Withers
Fox Sports
June 13, 2006

Australia 3 Japan 1
TIM Cahill grabbed his place in World Cup folklore this morning, scoring Australia's first goals in finals history as the Socceroos came back from the dead to beat Japan 3-1 in Kaiserslautern.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5167985,00.jpg Aloisi ... another bare-chested celebration. Pic: Reuters http://www.foxsports.com.au/images/camera.gif Pics (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19453111-5004540,00.html#) http://foxsports.news.com.au/images/video/red_video.gif Video (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19453111-5004540,00.html#)


</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff height=10></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
The Everton midfield player scored twice in the final six minutes of regulation time before fellow super-sub John Aloisi netted in injury time as Australia recovered after trailing for much of the match to a controversial first-half strike from Shunsuke Nakamura.

Australia's World Cup dream seemed to be heading for a nightmare opening in Group F as it looked to be running out of ideas in the 35C heat.

But Cahill had other plans.

A second-half substitute for Marco Bresciano, he struck in the 84th minute to turn the fixture that had been given a pre-match "do or die" label.

Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, who had only just made a fine right-hand save to deny Aloisi from a free-kick, was at fault for the goal, going for Lucas Neill's long throw-in without ever looking likely to claim it.

Substitute striker Josh Kennedy, who made a substantial impact after his 60th-minute introduction for centre-back Craig Moore, involved in everything that was good about Australia's play, beat the keeper to the ball, which then fell to Cahill to lash home from inside the six-yard box.

Cahill was typically modest about the first goal, describing it as "a lucky swipe" that was "a bit fortunate".

"Basically it was just a long throw from Lucas Neill from the left,'' he said.

"It got a flick on (from Josh Kennedy) and it came through to Harry (Kewell).

"Harry's gone in on a challenge, the ball's popped out and I've just swiped at it.

"I think it went through John Aloisi's legs, and one of the defenders' legs and rippled into the net.

"It was a bit fortunate."

Cahill, sent into the fray in the 52nd minute, said it felt "fantastic" to go into the record books as Australia's first goal scorer at a World Cup finals.

"This is what we'll all look back to, not only the lads here, but our families and everyone who has helped us," he said.

"Just being part of this World Cup is unbelievable, but to get the goal is the icing on the cake.

"When you're a kid you dream of moments like this."

Cahill, who has been carrying a knee injury since the last weekend of the English Premier League season, beat Kawaguchi for the second time five minutes later.

He netted off the inside of the left goal post with a wonderful right-foot shot from outside the penalty area.

The goals continued Cahill's tremendous scoring record for Australia, and he has now hit 12 in 17 internationals.

Spain-based striker Aloisi, the third of coach Guus Hiddink's second-half substitutions, was sent on for midfield player Luke Wilkshire.

He added further lustre to the recovery when he scored a sensational goal, driving into the penalty box to lash home a left-foot shot after being set up by Kennedy in midfield.

The goals were a salvation for Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who was partially to blame for the goal that seemed likely for 60 minutes to end the Socceroos' dreams prematurely.

Schwarzer was unconvincing as he went for Nakamura's 26th-minute chipped diagonal cross ball into the six-yard box, and the ball sailed straight into the net after he failed to get a touch following heavy contact with Japan striker Naohiro Takahara.

The Socceroos claimed that Takahara, who led with his left arm, had obstructed Schwarzer, but Egyptian referee Essam Abd El Fatah judged the Japan striker had simply stood his ground.

The decision caused consternation among Australia's ranks, and Hiddink was visibly upset as he viewed a replay on a touchline television monitor.

Kewell, a surprise inclusion in Australia's starting XI, and holding midfield player Vince Grella were also seen protesting at the official, who gave Grella a yellow card five minutes later after persistent backchat.

Hiddink paid tribute to his side's ability to fight back after things had gone against it, saying justice had eventually been done.

"Regarding the weather, regarding the circumstances, it was very difficult to come back, and that's why I think these guys deserve big compliments for how they kept on going," Hiddink said.

"I'm not saying this out of arrogance, but we were sure that they were capable of doing so (coming back).

"This team is nice to work with because they never give up, and this team tried to play good football."

Cahill played down the importance of his perfomance.

"Just being a part of this World Cup means everything to all of us," he said.

"We've all worked ever so hard to be here, and the goal is just the icing on the cake."

Australia made a nervous start to the match, raising a spectre of the opening disasters in recent friendlies against the Netherlands and Liechtenstein, and Bresciano conceded a free-kick in the opening minute on the edge of the Socceroos' penalty area.

The chance came to nothing, but Japan winger Alex, a Brazilian expat, soon twice skinned Wilkshire, another surprise selection, before the Socceroos settled into a rhythm.

Australia captain Mark Viduka was an imposing presence in attack, particularly in the first half, both as a static target man and as a mobile striker who pulled his markers to the left and right.

Viduka had Australia's first chance, in the sixth minute, after he was played in behind the Japan defence on the left.

He forced Kawaguchi into a double save, first from a right-foot half volley and then with a first-time left-foot snap shot.

The keeper had to be at his best again in the 24th-minute, stretching to make a fine left-hand save to deny Bresciano after Viduka had set up the midfield player with a fine backheel pass.

Japan warned Australia that it remained an attacking threat five minutes before the goal when Alex ghosted past Wilkshire and laid the ball off to Takahara.

The striker shimmied past Scott Chipperfield to create space, but he dragged his shot wide of the left upright.

Japan continued to play more on the counter-attack in the second half, looking particularly dangerous with Yuichi Komano, Hidetoshi Nakata and Nakamura taking turns to exploit space on Australia's left defensive flank.

Yet it created just one opportunity in the second stanza, in the 87th minute, just after conceding the equaliser, when second-half substitute Shinji Ono teed-up Takashi Fukunushi in space.

The midfield player advanced, stepped inside Neill and rasped a right-foot shot past Schwarzer only to see his strike go the wrong side of the post.

Fukunushi could not then realise how much his miss - as he should have hit the target - would cost his side.

The Socceroos looked dangerous in attack in the second half but were rarely able to carve out a clear-cut opportunity.

Their best opportunity of the period, until the heroics of Cahill and Aloisi, fell to Viduka.

The Socceroos captain stepped up to accept the responsibility of a 67th-minute free-kick on the edge of the penalty box when Australia seemed to be running out of ideas and energy in the heat.

Viduka hit a vicious drive goalwards through the wall, and he cut a slightly disconsolate figure when he saw Kawaguchi make yet another fine save.

As at Telstra Stadium last November, when he feared his penalty miss in the shootout against Uruguay had cost Australia, his crestfallen face was soon to turn a radiant smile.

Australia next plays World Cup champion Brazil in Munich on June 19 (AEST), before lining up against Croatia in Stuttgart on June 23 (AEST).

Brazil and Croatia open their campaigns against each other in Berlin tomorrow.


<HR SIZE=1>AUSTRALIA 3 (Cahill 84, 89; Aloisi 90)
JAPAN 1 (Nakamura 26)
Referee: Essam Abd El Fatah (Egy)
Crowd: 45,800 at Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Kaiserslautern.

AUSTRALIA: Mark Schwarzer; Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill, Craig Moore (Josh Kennedy 60), Scott Chipperfield; Vince Grella, Jason Culina, Luke Wilkshire (John Aloisi, 75), Marco Bresciano (Tim Cahill, 52), Harry Kewell; Mark Viduka (captain).
JAPAN: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi; Yuichi Komano, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (captain), Hidetoshi Nakata; Naohiro Takahara; Shunsuke Nakamura, Atsushi Yanasigawa (Shinji Ono, 78), Alsessandro 'Alex' Santos, Takashi Fukunushi; Keisuke Tsuboi (Teruyuki Monawa, 56), Yuji Nakazawa.

Schwarzer: Referee admitted error (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19455096-5004540,00.html)
Players: Socceroos hail Guus the genius (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19455116-5004540,00.html)
Analysis: Hiddink plays trump at right time (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19454775-5004540,00.html)
Respect: Brazil impressed by Socceroos (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19455182-5004540,00.html)
Zico: Japan not out of it (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19455111-5004540,00.html)
NEWS.com.au: Fans paint it green and gold (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19453111-5004540,00.html#)


FOX SPORTS

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 04:33 AM
Brazil set to enter the fray
By Chris Wright
June 13, 2006

ENTER the heavyweight. Tonight sees the entrance of the team we all want to see.

Berlin's renovated Olympic Stadium is the suitably grand venue as the boys from Brazil open their quest for a sixth title, with unpredictable Croatia the opponent in its opening match in Group F.

And no one will be watching with more interest than Australia, who plays Brazil in its next match.

The great Brazil sides past weigh heavily on the squad of today, but the bulk of this year's vintage already have winners' medals from 2002.

As four years ago, Ronaldo is the focus of controversy.

The striker currently shares the Brazilian record of 12 World Cup goals and is closing in on German Gerd Muller's all-time World Cup record of 14.

But there are allegations he is overweight and he has been dogged by blisters and a fever all week.

Even Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has asked about Ronaldo's weight. Brazil's coach Carlos Parreira says that 29-year-old Ronaldo's "body has changed. He is not the youngster he was in 1994".

In another injury-ravaged season for Real Madrid, Ronaldo has not looked the player he was either. But they said the same thing four years ago after a string of serious knee injuries - yet he scored eight goals to lead his country to glory.

"I only want respect," said Ronaldo - and a goal against Croatia would doubtless mean all would be well with his world again, blisters or no blisters.

Another man who cannot be overlooked in a side bursting with creativity is world player of the year Ronaldinho, who has fulfilled in spades the potential he showed back in Asia.

The 26-year-old from Porto Alegre has turned football into high art this season, carrying Barcelona to the Champions League title as well as the Spanish championship for a second straight season.

Add AC Milan playmaker Kaka and Inter Milan hotshot Adriano - and going forward Brazil look unstoppable.

Brazil is alone in appearing in every World Cup. With wins in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002 and runner-up finishes in 1950 and 1998 their pedigree is unmatched, making them the clear 9/4 favourite.

The favourite's tag is not one worn lightly, however.

"It is always the same. Brazil will win it. Brazil are the favourites ... the other teams want to take the attention off themselves and the pressure," Kaka - who was only a bit-part player in 2002 - complained.

The Croatians will not arrive as lambs to the slaughter but their squad has been battling a mysterious virus since arriving in Germany last week.

Doctors could not determine the cause of the infection, which has struck down stars including Darijo Simic, Ivica Olic, Bosko Balaban, Dado Prso, Stjepan Tomas, Anthony Seric and Joseph Didulica.

The Daily Telegraph

tiger_man
June 13, 2006, 06:48 AM
in australia, the game is in really odd time..

korea's game is in 11 oclock...thats kind of ok...

france vs swiss is at 2 am....rite when i am snoring out loud..

nd the big match brazil vs croatia is 5 am......the hours couldnt get anymore horrible...

all the games are in this time slot....11pm, 2am and 5am..

i am sure every one located in australia is feeling the same dillema...except those living in perth or adeliade or darwin...

tiger_man
June 13, 2006, 06:50 AM
every occasion in australia happens to be in odd hours for some reason...

ashes, WC cricket nd soccer, all falls at past midnight...

even fasting..rite in the middle of summer when u wake up at 3:30 am nd finish at 8:30pm...

AsifTheManRahman
June 13, 2006, 09:04 AM
taaw to bhai raat jege khela dekhte paren...amra to north americay taaw pari na...shob khela office hours e...khali lunch breake ekta khelar ordhek dekhei shontushto thakte hoy :(

Rabz
June 13, 2006, 10:32 AM
tiger man..i feel ur pain bro... ha ha
we cudnt have any worse time to see those games...
and we are talkin bout winter as well.. hv the brave the breezy cold winter nights to see any matches...

that's why im not risking sleeping at all for tonights brazil game..
its 1.30 in the morning.. france game starts in about half an hr...
i'll just hv to wake up another 3.30 hr for the brazil game..
no sleepin after that..cuz the match wud finish bout 6.30 in the morning..

well...wat the hec...at least we r gettin to watch those matches..
red eyes or no red eyes...

the real wc begins tonight....

tiger_man
June 13, 2006, 12:23 PM
tiger man..i feel ur pain bro... ha ha
we cudnt have any worse time to see those games...
and we are talkin bout winter as well.. hv the brave the breezy cold winter nights to see any matches...

that's why im not risking sleeping at all for tonights brazil game..
its 1.30 in the morning.. france game starts in about half an hr...
i'll just hv to wake up another 3.30 hr for the brazil game..
no sleepin after that..cuz the match wud finish bout 6.30 in the morning..

well...wat the hec...at least we r gettin to watch those matches..
red eyes or no red eyes...

the real wc begins tonight....

talking about winter nights, i wanted to go to the TAB nd watch in big screen, but realize i dont wanna be wating outside in freezin cold... :mad:

and my heater at home got stuffed aswell.....life cudnt be any worse.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 12:39 PM
I'm not so sure - I'm actually loving the times!

Australia vs Japan: 11pm kickoff.
Australia vs Brazil : 2am kickoff.
Australia vs Croatia: 5am kickoff.

Went to Fed Square, in the City, last night, for the first one. Atmosphere was amazing. Nothing like watching Football, on a big screen, on a cold, winters night, with thousands of strangers. After the game, the corner of Flinders & Swanston St's was turned into a makeshift Football oval. Traffic lights were used as goalposts. Strangers hugged, flares were lit. A good time was had by all. The next installment cannot come soon enough! :lol:

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:07 PM
Brazil vs Croatia
June 13, 2006

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=425><!-- begin leftcol --><TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #555555" align=middle colSpan=2>Teams</TD></TR><TR class=colhead style="FONT-SIZE: 9px"><TD align=left width="50%">Brazil</TD><TD align=right width="50%">Croatia</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>1 Nelson Dida (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=2726&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Stipe Pletikosa (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=19255&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 1</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>6 Roberto Carlos (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=2765&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Robert Kovac (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12652&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 4</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>2 Cafu (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12338&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Dario Simic (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12394&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 7</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>3 Ferreira Lucio (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12638&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Josip Simunic (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=10815&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 3</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>4 Juan (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=22438&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Igor Tudor (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=11950&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 5</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>10 Ronaldinho (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=20128&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Marko Babic (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=13362&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 8</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>5 Fereira da Rosa Emerson (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12339&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Nico Kovac (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=34011&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 10</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>8 Kaká (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=21364&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Niko Kranjcar (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=26740&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 19</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>11 Jose Ze Roberto (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=20122&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Darijo Srna (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=25253&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 2</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>7 Adriano (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=43022&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Ivan Klasnic (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=9829&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 17</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>9 Ronaldo (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=20123&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Dado Prso (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=8999&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 9</TD></TR><TR class=colhead style="FONT-SIZE: 10px"><TD align=middle colSpan=2>Substitutes</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>12 Ceni Rogerio (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=73253&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Tomislav Butina (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=76761&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 23</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>22 Julio César (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=39748&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Joseph Didulica (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=33750&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 12</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>16 Gilberto (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=65539&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Anthony Seric (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12045&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 20</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>13 Cicinho (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=47492&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Mario Tokic (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=31230&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 11</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>14 Anderson Luisao (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=32072&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Stjepan Tomas (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=9554&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 13</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>15 Cris (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=2749&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Ivan Bosnjak (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=14749&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 22</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>17 Gilberto Silva (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=20131&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Ivan Leko (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12124&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 15</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>19 Pernambucano Juninho (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12630&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Jerko Leko (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=23721&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 16</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>18 Carlos Mineiro (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=73257&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Luka Modric (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=76762&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 14</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>20 Luis Ricardinho (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=41608&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Jurica Vranjes (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=12647&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 6</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>21 Fred (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=47265&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Bosko Balaban (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=9318&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 21</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow><TD align=left>23 Robinho (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=47426&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)</TD><TD align=right>Ivica Olic (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=21018&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) 18</TD></TR><TR class=colhead style="FONT-SIZE: 10px"><TD align=middle colSpan=2></TD></TR><TR><TD align=left bgColor=#cccccc colSpan=2>· Club Squads: Brazil (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team/squad?id=205&cc=3436) | Croatia (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team/squad?id=477&cc=3436)</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:17 PM
Croatia started well, but Brazil threatening to pull away.

Great long range effort from Carlos, and good chance from resulting corner, too.

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 02:26 PM
Good going Croatia:D

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:34 PM
Brazil are still playing in 1st gear. Started very tentatively. Not much has changed since. Full credit to Croatia.

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 02:39 PM
what a chence for croatia

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:39 PM
Croatia tantalizinly close to scoring the opener, there.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:42 PM
Croatia make first substitution of the match.

Nico Kovac (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=34011&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) Off
Jerko Leko (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=23721&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) On

Croatian Captain off Injured in the 40th minute.

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 02:43 PM
yeallow card for Emorson:)

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 02:44 PM
Goallllllll.............

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:45 PM
Brazil 1-0 Croatia

Ohhh what a goal!

Kaka scores a beauty from outside the box.

Bit unfair on Croatia, really.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 02:51 PM
<TABLE class=gameHeader cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>












</TD><TD style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 18px; PADDING-TOP: 18px" align=middle width=442><TABLE class=gameHeader cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>http://soccernet-att.espn.go.com/design05/i/clubhouse/badges/205.gif (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=205&cc=3436)
1







</TD><TD style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 18px; PADDING-TOP: 18px" align=middle width=442><TABLE id=inlinetable style="WIDTH: 362px; HEIGHT: 225px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width=362 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#efefef><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=left width="100%">Half Time - Olympiastadion</TD><TD width=130><SPACER width="130" type="block"></TD><TD align=right width="100%"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 12px" align=left width=216>Brazil</TD><TD style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 12px" align=middle width=55>1 - 0</TD><TD style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 12px" align=right width=216>Croatia</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff><TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top align=left width=244>Kaká (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=21364&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) (44) </TD><TD width=244></TD><TD vAlign=top align=right width=244></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#efefef><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%">Game 11 </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>




</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>http://soccernet-att.espn.go.com/design05/i/clubhouse/badges/477.gif (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=477&cc=3436)
0







</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
</TD><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>





</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 02:54 PM
Is there any Brasil suporter?

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:00 PM
So far, Brazil hasn't really lived up to the hype. Playing within themselves for the most part. Ronaldo & Adriano have made no impact, whatsoever. Time for a change, perhaps?

Croatia very unlucky. Captain off injured. Conceded 1st goal soon after, after containing Brazil for most of the 1st half. I can't see them getting back into this one.

But all it takes is one chance.

allrounder
June 13, 2006, 03:03 PM
brazil has 11 fouls and croatia has only 3.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:05 PM
And they're winging about Australia's incompetence!

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 03:08 PM
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h176/sabacc003/worled%20cup/11502286101.jpg
Kaka

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:09 PM
Dado Prso! Ohh soo close to that equaliser!

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:11 PM
Brazil really havn't started very well in this 2nd half.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:13 PM
Klasnic give Dida some catching practice. Good shot.

It's all Croatia in this 2nd half.

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 03:14 PM
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h176/sabacc003/worled%20cup/26426244181.jpg
BRA : CRO, 13 June 2006, Berlin, Germany
RONALDINHO (BRA), ROBERTO CARLOS (BRA), KAKA (BRA), RONALDO (BRA)

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:15 PM
Ronaldo fizzes one just over the bar.

All it takes is one chance.

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 03:28 PM
Where are Brasil's diffender???????

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:30 PM
Ronaldo (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=20123&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) Off
Robinho (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=47426&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) On

Had about one shot for the match. Can't remember him actually bothering to run, at all. Had a shocker.

Croatia piling on the pressure.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:33 PM
Adriano should have sealed it there.

Though they didn't deserve to.

They've been woefull.

Miraz
June 13, 2006, 03:35 PM
Croatia is plain unlucky. They should have been leading by two to three goals.

Poor poor football by Brazil, at the moment.

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 03:40 PM
Croatia need a good finisher and they miss their stricker Nico Kovac (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=34011&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436)

sabbir ahmad
June 13, 2006, 03:52 PM
Bed luck:( for Croatia And good luck:p for Brasil

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:52 PM
<TABLE class=gameHeader cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 18px; PADDING-TOP: 18px" align=middle width=442><TABLE class=gameHeader cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>http://soccernet-att.espn.go.com/design05/i/clubhouse/badges/205.gif (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=205&cc=3436)
1








</TD><TD style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 18px; PADDING-TOP: 18px" align=middle width=442><TABLE id=inlinetable style="WIDTH: 362px; HEIGHT: 225px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width=362 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#efefef><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=left width="100%">Full Time - Olympiastadion</TD><TD width=130><SPACER width="130" type="block"></TD><TD align=right width="100%"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 12px" align=left width=216>Brazil</TD><TD style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 12px" align=middle width=55>1 - 0</TD><TD style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; FONT-SIZE: 12px" align=right width=216>Croatia</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff><TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top align=left width=244>Kaká (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/international?id=21364&league=fifa.world&season=2006&cc=3436) (44) </TD><TD width=244></TD><TD vAlign=top align=right width=244></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#efefef><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%">Game 11 </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>



</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>http://soccernet-att.espn.go.com/design05/i/clubhouse/badges/477.gif (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=477&cc=3436)
0








</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
</TD><TD class=score vAlign=top width=164>




</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 03:54 PM
A very unconvincing display from the Brazilians.

They played within themselves for most of the match.

Credit to Croatia for their tight defending througout.

Only one blemish on an otherwise great team performance.

Brazil resorted to taking cute pot shots from outside the box.

They're a bunch of crowd pleasers.

As the commentator said "its like watching the Harlem Globetrotters play".

Lets hope Brazil don't suddenly come good in time for the Australia match.

All in all, Croatia was by far the more entertaining team tonight.

A good contest, nonetheless.

I can't decide whether this is good or bad news for the Socceroos.

ialbd
June 13, 2006, 04:02 PM
Brazil looked a bit rusty, it was hard to find ronaldinho on the field and not to mention ronaldo (whom I noticed when he was getting substituted). kaka & robinho played well, and the most experienced wingers cafu & carlos performed as expected.

Adrianor chorbi bere gese dekhi aro, ronaldor shathe eto ghurle ar ki hobe....

and Dida will be the forgotten hero of the match...
________
Ford excursion specifications (http://www.ford-wiki.com/wiki/Ford_Excursion)

Spitfire_x86
June 13, 2006, 04:17 PM
Ronaldo was totally useless today, and Adriano missed a great chance. Their defence didn't look so good either.

Mr-Cricket
June 13, 2006, 04:37 PM
<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width="100%"><TBODY><TR class=stathead><TD colSpan=9>Group F</TD></TR><TR class=colhead align=right><TD width="36%"></TD><TD width="8%">GP</TD><TD width="8%">W</TD><TD width="8%">D</TD><TD width="8%">L</TD><TD width="8%">GS</TD><TD width="8%">GA</TD><TD width="8%">GD</TD><TD width="8%">P</TD></TR><TR align=right bgColor=#b8dba6><TD align=left>Australia (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=628&cc=3436)</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>2</TD><TD>3</TD></TR><TR align=right bgColor=#d6ebcc><TD align=left>Brazil (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=205&cc=3436)</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>3</TD></TR><TR class=oddrow align=right><TD align=left>Croatia (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=477&cc=3436)</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>-1</TD><TD>0</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Japan (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=627&cc=3436)</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>-2</TD><TD>0</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>


Australia, for the moment, has topped Group F.

Oleee, Ole, Ole, Ole! Aussie! Aussie!

Mr-Cricket
June 14, 2006, 02:21 AM
Samba stars out of step
By Toby Forage
Fox Sports editor
June 14, 2006

Brazil 1 Croatia 0
AUSTRALIA may feel confident it can beat Brazil, let alone earn a draw, after the world champion laboured to a 1-0 victory against a stubborn Croatia this morning (AEST).

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5168478,00.jpg Kaka ... hugged by captain Cafu after his strike. Pic: Agence France-Presse



</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff height=10></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
A superb goal just before half-time from AC Milan superstar Kaka was all that separated the two sides at the final whistle, and Croatia might even have forced an upset had its strikers had their radars working better.

Kaka speared his shot into the top left corner from outside the box after a lay-off from his captain, Cafu, on 44 minutes.

It was a wonderful strike from the 24-year-old midfield player, enhancing the belief that he, and not teammate Ronaldinho, will be the brightest star of Germany 2006.

Kaka appeared to have an eternity to size up the target and pick his spot, looking up at the goal before sending a perfectly aimed shot past Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira elected to pick Kaka with his three other attack-minded superstars - Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Adriano - and the decision appeared justified as they bossed the edges of the penalty area for much of the early stages.

But in the second half, Parreira was forced to withdraw an ineffective Ronaldo, and the questions about the Real Madrid striker's fitness are likely to continue after another lacklustre display.

Adriano was also very quiet, tending to sit back in the midfield rather than put pressure on Croatia's back three.

Robinho, Ronaldo's clubmate at the Spanish giant, replaced him on 69 minutes and made an immediate impact within minutes of his introduction when he stabbed a close-range shot just wide of the target.

He gave Brazil more urgency up front than Ronaldo had, and Parreira may have a tough decision to make for the Australia game in less than a week's time.

While Ronaldo needs just one more goal to surpass Pele as Brazil's top World Cup goalscorer, the coach could leave him on the sidelines for the Australia game, and perhaps increase the striker's hunger for a goal.

"The challenge is not only the first game," Parreira said after the win.

"In addition to the fact that the team hasn't played a lot together, we faced an adversary that was good and marking very well, with energy.

"I think the game was balanced, we had more shots on goal (six to three) but we had a certain difficulty imposing our own rhythm."

Parreira, who elected to play warm-up games against an array of sub-standard club sides and second XIs, will also want to look at his defence, which began to struggle as the match moved deeper into the second half.

Even goalscorer Kaka could work that out.

"The win is important, but we lacked mobility and have to straighten things out at the back," he said.

Goalkeeper Dida, who had not a single save to make in the first half, was forced into several stops as Croatia began to create space not only on the flanks but also around the edges and just inside the penalty area.

Ivan Klasnic came closest on 54 minutes when he struck a shot from the edge of the box on target, but it flew straight at Dida, who managed to keep it out of his net.

Just prior to that, Rangers striker Dado Prso also forced the AC Milan keeper into a sharp save.

At the other end, Ronaldinho had arguably the best chance of the entire 90 minutes when he met a pinpoint right-wing cross from Cafu.

But despite being unmarked, the Barcelona man failed to direct his header downwards in accordance with every coaching manual's advice, and Pletikosa was able to make a diving stop to his left.

As it turned out, it mattered not as the match petered out with Croatia out of ideas and energy by the game's end. Brazil has now won a record eight straight matches at the World Cup finals, its seventh being the victory over this tournament's host Germany in the 2002 final.

If Australia is confident it can break down Brazil's defence, it now knows it will also need to sharpen up its own if it wants to beat not only the world champion, but Croatia as well.

The unpredictable Europeans did enough to suggest they could cause Guus Hiddink's men some serious problems, particularly out wide where the Socceroos failed to keep Japan at bay for large parts of the Group F opener.

Croatia coach Zlatko Krancjar also insisted that his team could still make it through to the next round.

"Brazil made a goal from just the one chance. This defeat won't stop us from going further," he insisted.

"But they have fantastic players in their side with the likes of Kaka."

One can only imagine what Krancjar thinks of Tim Cahill and John Aloisi, whose goals have left Australia unthinkably at the top of Group F after the first round of matches.

The Socceroos, whose dramatic 3-1 win over Japan yesterday has the nation in a football frenzy, plays Croatia in its final first round match on June 23 at 5am.

They play Brazil in Munich on Monday at 2am (AEST).



<HR SIZE=1>
BRAZIL 1 (Kaka 44)
CROATIA 0
Referee: Benito Archundia (Mex)
Crowd: 72,000 at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin.


FOX SPORTS

Ejaj
June 14, 2006, 04:45 AM
Well. its true.. Brazil's game was not upto mark. But, thinking about Australia beating Brazil.. is just too much. Brazil will pick up their game as tournament progresses.. and Next match will start to show that. Australia wasnt that great.. except last 15 mins of the game. And. this Croatia.. is a hell of a team and I knew this even before the world cup began. Austraila will be beaten comprehensively at the hands of Croatia. So.. I dont see any chance for Australia to qualify for next round.

I felt pretty worried abt the combination of Strikers at front for Brazil. They always had one very good goal scorer and one speedy forward who can also score pretty much. LIke Romario/Bebeto in 94, Ronaldo/Rivaldo in 98 , Ronaldo/Ronaldinho at 2002 , but this time, both Ronaldo and Adriano are almost same type of players. They both are lethal goal scorer but have poor mobilty. I hope, Robinho comes to play more often than last 20 mins. He can certainly generate the required pace plus lethal wing attack. Just a thought, i think, Gilverto silva would make a better mid fielder than Emerson. Brazil badly miss Edmilson. He was the perfect midfielder who was equally good at attack and defense and with real good pace. Emerson, pretty slow and mostly defensive.

Anyway.. waiting for next match against Australia.

tiger_man
June 14, 2006, 10:21 AM
relax

brazil never performs their peak in the first few games....

i dunno....maybe its their overconfidence...last time they had the urge to win back the WC which they lost to France in 98...now its already in their hand...they just gotta keep it....

but from the experience of watching 98 world cup, i can tell that if attitude goes on, Brazil has the potential to loose this world cup big time again exactly like they lost to France....ronaldo if i can remember was totally useless in 98, in 2002 he came back, nd now he is sloppy again...

if they are gonna pick up, better now than later.....
brazil's player hardly looked like they were putting any effort in Croatia game. they still won by 1 goal.......with any other team putting brazil's effort, they wud be nailed to the ground with croatia's fanatic attacks...

tiger_man
June 14, 2006, 10:23 AM
also, brazil shud not give too many chance to its star players....ronaldo should be benched if does not perform against australia nd japan....not like 98 where he was given chances after chances till they lost to france in finals nd not to mention that sickness drama....

Mr-Cricket
June 14, 2006, 10:40 AM
Hard part to come for Socceroos
By Robert Lusetich
June 15, 2006

THE three points that Australia earned against Japan looked valuable when the Socceroos walked off Fritz-Walter Stadium in Kaiserslautern on Monday. Now, they look downright priceless.

The Socceroos' third group opponent, Croatia, countered suggestions it was a team in decline with an impressive showing in its 1-0 loss to Brazil early yesterday (AEST).

Needing probably a minimum of four points to qualify for the second round, it is clear how difficult a task confronts the Australians.

Before the hands start wringing about Brazil's performance against Croatia, consider that when you are the only nation to win five of these things, there is always the off chance you might know what you are doing.

For people who think of second place - much less making it to the second round - as an abject failure, the World Cup isn't won in the first match of the group phase.

"The truth is, for a team like this, what matters is how you finish the tournament, not how you begin it," former Czech Republic coach Jozef Venglos said.

The opening-round matches are merely about moving into the knockout stage and the Selecao took a large step in that direction with an admittedly laborious performance in Berlin yesterday.

Carlos Alberto Parreira seemed a tad bemused by the reaction to the stilted performance which leaves Australia as leader of Group F.

If Roger Federer begins a Wimbledon defence with a rusty performance but moves on, does it really make him any less likely to win the final?

"At the World Cup, it's important to start with a win because it breeds confidence," the Brazilian coach said. "It's a case of playing seven games, and tonight we've taken the first step. I think it was a tremendous result.

"Of course we can improve, but that will happen as we get more games under our belt."

In truth, Brazil eased into its championship defence, got a win it probably didn't deserve, and in the process gave striker Ronaldo, who appears to have confirmed tabloid tales of being overweight and unprepared, a chance to get some valuable match fitness.

"I didn't think we would be up to speed yet," Parreira said. "And if we want to go further in the tournament we can't afford to play flat out at this stage.

"We played at about 60 or 70 per cent, and I was perfectly happy with that."

For Guus Hiddink, though, it was a match which offered plenty of food for thought.

It showed that no matter how out-of-sync Brazil appeared, one moment of magic - yesterday it was Kaka - can be enough.

Ronaldo will linger around the penalty box - much like the classic poacher who preceded him, Romario - and not move around much against Australia, but if he is at all forgotten, those predatory instincts won't have disappeared because he is a little more round around the edges.

Kaka showed that he may be the world's most lethal attacking midfield player. He will require constant supervision and even that may not be enough. Kaka may be Brazil's most likely goalscorer, so perhaps it would prompt Hiddink to assign a player to man mark the AC Milan star.

Adriano had a relatively poor game, mostly on the flanks, reinforcing the belief that he is unable to play well when Ronaldo occupies the central position.

The Inter Milan striker was much more dangerous when Ronaldo was substituted for Robinho, who prefers to run at the box from angles.

Ronaldinho is the world footballer of the year and Brazil works everything through him, which means Vince Grella will be in for a long night in Munich.

At the back, Hiddink will be buoyed by the fact the Brazilians looked vulnerable, or at least vulnerable for them. Lucio is magnificent, seemingly always able to stretch those long legs to block shots or make crucial tackles and Dida did not put a foot wrong in goal, but the years are catching up with Cafu and Roberto Carlos on the flanks.

If Hiddink at some stage reverts to the Plan B aerial attack which worked so well in the final quarter of the game against Japan, the Brazilian flanks can be penetrated.

When Australia held the Brazilians to a scoreless draw at the 1997 Confederations Cup, the blueprint was very simple: stay disciplined and close them down.

It is a lot to ask for Australia to beat Brazil at a World Cup, but a draw is not out of the question: the Brazilians have drawn with Sweden and lost to Norway in first-round matches over the past decade.

Croatia showed yesterday that it is here to play. The Croats were better than advertised and the last thing the Socceroos need is to have to win against a bunch of fanatical players on a mission, supported by an army of fans several hundreds of thousands strong.

"I have to give credit to my players," Croatian coach Zlatko Kranjcar said.

"We've shown tonight that we're more than capable of going further in the tournament.

"We came to grips with them and didn't let them play. We were in good shape, and you need to be if you are going to compete with Brazil."

Kranjcar's team benefited from not having to play during what was another oppressively hot German afternoon but the Croats' conditioning looked impressive.

In other words, don't expect them to wilt as the Japanese did late against the Socceroos.

Croatia also seems to have changed its style under Kranjcar. Where the star-studded team of the late 1990s was more about individualistic flair, this team is very disciplined and plays very much as a unit. In other words, not unlike Australia under Hiddink.

To play the way they do successfully, the Croatians need to have indefatigable midfield players and, with Marko Babic, Jerko Leko and the captain, German-born Niko Kovac, they have ironmen.

Dado Prso is the sort of lone striker who is a constant threat, and not just directly but - again, not unlike Mark Viduka - because he does so much work off the ball to set up goalscoring chances for teammates.

If there was good news for the Socceroos it was that three key Croatian players - defensive standouts Robert Kovac and Igor Tudor as well as Niko Kovac - go into the game against Japan with yellow cards.

"Nothing is lost yet," Niko Kovac declared afterward. "We have a realistic chance of winning against Japan and Australia.

"We could be in a better position after this match, but we can still manage it because our team has a lot of quality (and) our fans are unbelievable.

"We're in a strong group and it will go down to the last match."

Australia need not fear Croatia but nevertheless, the Socceroos could do worse than mention in their prayers that it would be nice if he was wrong.

The Australian

Mr-Cricket
June 14, 2006, 10:45 AM
Interesting article, for those that have the time to read it. Also, it appears people have written off Japan's chances. If they can regroup to draw against Croatia, or maybe even sneak a win, it'll dent Croatia's chances of progressing.

Beware of the wounded beast.

IanW
June 14, 2006, 06:06 PM
Interesting article, for those that have the time to read it. Also, it appears people have written off Japan's chances. If they can regroup to draw against Croatia, or maybe even sneak a win, it'll dent Croatia's chances of progressing.

Beware of the wounded beast.

I think Japan are stuffed. Three goals in ten minutes appears to have broken them psychologically.

I just can't see them taking a point off Croatia or Brazil. Sorry.

Croatia are better than expected, and Brazil are worse.

Looks like - barring a miracle by Australia - Australia vs Croatia is going to have all the cookies on the table.

Ian Whitchurch

Hatebreed
June 14, 2006, 08:29 PM
Croatia are a good team so it's unwise to underestimate them, and it's too early to say Brazil are worse, especially after Paraguay-England and Poland-Germany matches, I wasn't too surprised from Croatia's performance against Brazil.

Here's an excerpt from the BBC report of Brazil v Croatia (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4852868.stm) match-

"Brazil have won their last eight World Cup matches which is a new record, breaking Italy's seven successive victories between 1934 and 1950. Brazil's last defeat dates back to 1998 when they lost the final against France (3-0). They've kept a clean sheet in their last three World Cup matches. Brazil have remained unbeaten in their World Cup opener for the 16th consecutive time, winning the last seven.

Croatia suffered their first defeat since a 2-4 loss to England on 21 June 2004, during Euro 2004, a streak of 10 matches.
Six of Croatia's 11 World Cup matches have ended with a 1-0 scoreline (two wins, four defeats)."

So I'm not surprised Croatia gave Brazil a hard time in their very first match. I hope this is only the beginning, because Australia is next :lol:

Mr-Cricket
June 15, 2006, 02:24 AM
What I meant to say was, despite Croatia's commendable performance against the Brazilians the other night, it is still entirely possible that Japan could steal a point off of them. No one is underestimating Croatia, here. But, it is, after all, a World Cup. Anything can, and will happen. I wasn't saying Japan still had a chance of progressing. Far from it. But if Japan can steal some points off Croatia in its next game, it makes Australia's chances of progessing that much easier.

tiger_man
June 16, 2006, 04:28 AM
to me brazil and japan look rather out of form....

its not just the disspointing 1-0 game against croatia but also that 2-0 against new zealand in the warm up matches......a team like new zealand should have fallen for figures like 4-0 or 5-0 or sth like that against brazil..

thats why i rule out brazil winning against australia untill i actually see it....i reckon there is a high probability of scraping a draw...which is quite good enough for aussies.

tiger_man
June 16, 2006, 04:29 AM
Does anyone have a video of last 10 or better 8 minutes of japan vs australia match??? please post it out if u have recorded it...

sadi
June 16, 2006, 08:34 AM
its not just the disspointing 1-0 game against croatia but also that 2-0 against new zealand in the warm up matches......a team like new zealand should have fallen for figures like 4-0 or 5-0 or sth like that against brazil..



Brazil won it 4-0.... :D

Mr-Cricket
June 16, 2006, 09:33 AM
Does anyone have a video of last 10 or better 8 minutes of japan vs australia match??? please post it out if u have recorded it...
I recorded the last 10 minutes of the game, as well as an extended highlights package (about 9-10 minutes). I've watched each of them about 10 times! Trouble is, they're about 80mb each. Also, try to do a bit of research before you post:

e.g.

Brazil 4-0 New Zealand
Germany 8-0 Saudi Arabia

Cheers. :up:

tiger_man
June 16, 2006, 09:58 AM
I recorded the last 10 minutes of the game, as well as an extended highlights package (about 9-10 minutes). I've watched each of them about 10 times! Trouble is, they're about 80mb each. Also, try to do a bit of research before you post:

e.g.

Brazil 4-0 New Zealand
Germany 8-0 Saudi Arabia

Cheers. :up:

you can put em up in megaupload.com....nd paste the link....megaupload in think takes upto 250 mb, so 80 mb shud fit in confortably.

Mr-Cricket
June 16, 2006, 10:08 AM
It'll take 1-2 hours to upload both of them.

I'll post the links when I wake up in a couple of hours.

Hopefully it should be done by then. :)

Mr-Cricket
June 16, 2006, 10:22 AM
Hiddink plans bold approach
By Tom Smithies in Munich
June 17, 2006

GUUS Hiddink is preparing to send out Australia with orders to drown out the samba beat of Brazil with an Australian military tattoo in tomorrow's World Cup clash.

Australia's win over Japan last Monday has fired up the team, and Hiddink is thought to be considering a bold strategy of attacking Brazil for a period at the start of the game.

It's a strategy that will meet with the approval of skipper Mark Viduka, who yesterday declared the team should go for it and insisted Brazil are not superheroes.

The aim would be to knock Brazil out of its elegant stride and try to grab a precious goal before the South American tidal wave is able to swamp the Australian defences.

While Hiddink is also weighing up the merits of keeping key players carrying a caution into the game out of the firing line, he is determined his players still maintain an in-their-face style to disrupt Brazil's game.

The strategy will be to press from the front, defending as an 11-man flexible unit to stem Brazil's attacks at source. Midfielders Jason Culina, Marco Bresciano and Brett Emerton will be crucial to the game plan, nipping at the Brazilians' heels and preventing them from settling.

But there can be no relaxing, says Viduka, who wants the game treated as if lives depended on it.

"Every game's a crunch game," he said. "You saw in the Japan game it was end-to-end stuff. It's not like a league. You've got to go for it, which means you could be vulnerable as well. I think we have to go for it.

"To get the three points in the first game - and the manner in which we got them - gave everybody a high afterwards."

"They (Brazil) are not superheroes. They're people like us. The game against Croatia showed Brazil are vulnerable in places. I thought Croatia should have got something out of it. They were the better team."

The Socceroos' foursome of Vince Grella, John Aloisi, Craig Moore and Tim Cahill are all carrying yellow cards, and Hiddink has dropped heavy hints some may be rested.
Aloisi will probably be on the bench anyway, but Grella and Moore may well sit it out as well.

In Grella's absence Jason Culina may switch to a defensive midfield role, where he plays for PSV.

Culina is determined to carry out Hiddink's instructions to the letter.

"We got into the Dutch faces a few times and they didn't like it," he said.

"Teams that like to play pretty football, they get frustrated by our tactics. We'll try to do a bit of the same."

"We've got to go out there and not show them too much respect, otherwise we'll be on the back foot," he said. "They're No.1 in the world but we also played the No.3 in Holland and did well against them, so anything is possible.

"Some of our players have played against the biggest in the world in the past. We won't be starstruck."

The forecast in Munich is for much cooler evening air than southern Germany has had recently so the Socceroos will not face the 38C temperatures of the Japan match.

Instead the heat could come from a fired-up Brazil, and defender Lucas Neill was ready for a barrage.

"There's a few positives to come out of (Brazil's game)," he said.

"But there's also the fear that Brazil have not warmed up the way they would like to do.

"They're a team that can easily start to cook and we've got to make sure they don't come to the boil against us.

"They didn't turn on the samba style the other night so we've got to fear the backlash. But we've got to think we won't let that happen. We're confident we can give them a game."

Neill was keen to stress that Australia's win over Japan gives it the luxury of being able to drop points in either the Brazil or Croatia games and still progress.

"We've put ourselves in a position after the first game where if we were to lose, it's still in our hands," he said.

"As the third or fourth favourite in the group that's a great position."

The Daily Telegraph

Mr-Cricket
June 16, 2006, 03:42 PM
Does anyone have a video of last 10 or better 8 minutes of japan vs australia match??? please post it out if u have recorded it...
I recorded the last 10 minutes of the game, as well as an extended highlights package (about 9-10 minutes). I've watched each of them about 10 times! Trouble is, they're about 80mb each.
you can put em up in megaupload.com....nd paste the link....megaupload in think takes upto 250 mb, so 80 mb shud fit in confortably.
It'll take 1-2 hours to upload both of them.

I'll post the links when I wake up in a couple of hours.

Hopefully it should be done by then. :)
2006 FIFA World Cup - Australia v Japan - Highlights
Actual Length: 9 minutes 12 seconds
Filesize: 79.4mb

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=AZ91DSWK

2006 FIFA World Cup - Australia v Japan - Last 10 minutes
Actual Length: 13 minutes 31 seconds
Filesize: 117mb

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=79WRZ67V

tiger_man
June 17, 2006, 10:43 AM
thanks for the link... :lol:

BangladeshFan
June 17, 2006, 02:59 PM
somehow i feel if brazil gets beaten it will be by a team full of guts and determination(98 final france 3-brazil 0) and not a team of skill and class. if a team gets intimidated , brazil eats them up. but a team with courage and tough, athletic defending will undo brazil. australia with their tradition of tough sportsmanship may just be the team, who knows?

Mr-Cricket
June 18, 2006, 02:37 AM
Hiddink will go for broke
By Tom Smithies and David Lewis
June 18, 2006

GUUS Hiddink has vowed to go for it against world champion Brazil, insisting he will not rest any of his stars on yellow cards.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5170834,00.jpg In control ... Guus plans to attack Pic: Associated Press


</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff height=10></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Contrary to week-long conjecture, he will unleash all the force Australia can muster by naming his strongest line-up and telling them to tip Aussie spirit all over Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and the rest of Brazil's stellar cast.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph, Hiddink said: "This game has the potential to shape the way the public view football in Australia and it's important I allow the team to go out and play the Australian way.

"That means going for it and attacking the Brazilians. That's the Australian way, not being meek and mild and failing to try and make a statement.

"This team isn't like that, and I don't want to try and hold them back. They have that great Aussie spirit and I want them to show it.

"It will be a massive test for them and if we lose the match and maybe end up not qualifying for the second phase, then we have to take that risk."

To that end, Hiddink has told Tim Cahill, Craig Moore and Vince Grella - all on yellow cards and walking a suspension tightrope ahead of the final Group F match against Croatia on Thursday - to tread carefully.

"You look at teams like Portugal, who two years ago played with a certain freedom and expression, and you look at them now when they play a big team and they shrink away from the battle and play with caution," Hiddink said.

"I don't want to see my Australian team play that way. Yes, it's a gamble. But I believe it's the way the boys want to play.

"I want to help the game grow in Australia and that can't be achieved by being in charge of a team that plays with fear.

"We want the people in Australia to be proud of this team and the way they approach matches."

Which means he will deal his best hand and see where the cards fall for the match against Croatia.

"They are an excellent team, and we have to face the possibility that we might not progress from this group," he said.

"If I had a stronger squad, maybe 20 top-class players, I would approach the Brazil game maybe a bit differently with the yellow-card players (of which striker John Aloisi is a fourth) but beneath our first 13, the guys are really only average, honest professionals who work hard and run hard, but maybe don't have the capacity to change a match.

"So, after a lot of thought, I have decided to go for it."

Tonight's game in Munich will be one of the biggest fixtures in the World Cup group stages, the fascination the world has with Brazil added to admiration for how well the Socceroos played against Japan.


The Sunday Telegraph

Mr-Cricket
June 18, 2006, 02:40 AM
Personally, I think Guus is up to something - again. In the leadup to the Japan game, it was almost a certainty that Cahill would start, and Kewell would come off the bench (as an impact player). We all know how that one turned out!

Go Aussies!

tiger_man
June 18, 2006, 03:39 AM
Personally, I think Guus is up to something - again. In the leadup to the Japan game, it was almost a certainty that Cahill would start, and Kewell would come off the bench (as an impact player). We all know how that one turned out!

Go Aussies!

while Guus maybe an excellent strategist, the brazialians are no less......they too can modify their strategy to counter Guus....

IMO, lets not be too optimistic.....while i frevently hope victory will come australia's way, i am embracing for the worst....socceroos are already heros, i think we have the potential to go for round of 16....and face weaker opponent than brazil...

this match will definitely have a positive impact on socceroos...whether they win or not....by playing world no 1, socceroos performace will go elevate to a higher level...

we have played against minnows for too long.....matches against netherland and japan and uruguay is no more than a wakeup call for us...

Mr-Cricket
June 18, 2006, 04:30 AM
Lets not kid ourselves here. While I hope Australia can come away from this game with a couple of points, I really don't expect them to. A couple of months ago, just dreaming Australia could take anything away from a competitive game against Brazil, at the World Cup, would have been unimaginable. All we were worried about was getting there, and we did that by defeating Uruguay. I just want the boys to go out there, tonight, and make us proud. A draw is all I ask from Guus.

Banglatiger84
June 18, 2006, 05:17 AM
Australia to win 2-1....

You heard it here first !

Miraz
June 18, 2006, 05:51 AM
Preview for Today's Brazil - Australia game

Sunday’s Group F encounter between Brazil and Australia sees the group’s top two teams pitted against each other, both of whom will be looking to make great strides towards early qualification for the knockout stages. Whoever comes out on top can guarantee their passage through to the second round, provided that neither Croatia nor Japan pick up maximum points in their match earlier in the day.

Colours for the game
Brazil: yellow shirts, blue shorts, white socks.
Australia: dark blue shirts, shorts and socks.
The story so far
Brazil made another winning start (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/match/template.html?id=11&day=13&month=06&year=2006) to the FIFA World Cup™ finals, their seventh consecutive opening game victory at the world’s greatest football tournament. But the Seleção never got into top gear against Croatia. Their display was more solid than stunning, and the Croats looked strong for large chunks of a difficult second half for the reigning champions. Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira knows his men will have to raise their game to their sizzling best if they are going to bring home their sixth FIFA World Cup Trophy.


(http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/photos/index.html?aid=357754&d=1)Australia meanwhile chalked up a magnificent victory (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/match/template.html?id=12&day=12&month=06&year=2006) in their first game at this level for 32 years. Guus Hiddink’s side came back from the dead against Japan, who led a pulsating encounter 1-0 until the 84th minute. Everton’s marauding midfielder Tim Cahill was the architect of the Socceroos’ amazing fightback; his quick-fire brace laying the foundations for an impressive 3-1 win.

Key contest
Mark Viduka (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/player/159597_VIDUKA_Mark.html) and Ronaldo (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/player/92699_RONALDO.html): Neither Viduka nor ‘The Phenomenon’ found the net in their first match, but the two experienced front-men will be looking to stamp their authority on proceedings at the second time of asking. The Australian skipper is confident that the Socceroos can cause an upset against the Auriverde: “The game against Croatia showed that they are vulnerable.”
The Brazilian legend, for his part, looked sluggish against the forceful Croats, and was taken off in the second half. Since the game, his starting berth in Sunday’s game has been put in further jeopardy by his admission that he spent Wednesday night feeling ill. The Real Madrid hitman has Gerd Muller’s 14-goal all-time FIFA World Cup scoring record in his sights, and is desperate to prove his ability to the fans back home in Brazil and around the world.
Past meetings
Brazil and Australia have met five times. The South Americans hold the whip hand with three victories, compared with one solitary win for the Antipodeans. The world champions have plundered nine goals, conceding just one in the process, but in their last meeting, at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001, Australia emerged victorious. What they think
Ronaldo (BRA): I’m not ill. I know that I played poorly against Croatia and I owe myself a good performance. I have to improve.
Harry Kewell (AUS): We’re going to play our natural game. Obviously, we respect them, because they are world champions, but we’re just going to play the way we’re capable of playing. To be honest, it doesn’t bother me what the Brazilians think of Australia. Plenty of other people aren’t worried about us, so why should they be any different?
<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->

Sam
June 18, 2006, 01:49 PM
Ultimately Brazil thrashed Australia 2-0 and they look comfortable in the point table.

abdulw11
June 18, 2006, 02:13 PM
Ultimately Brazil thrashed Australia 2-0 and they look comfortable in the point table.

I wouldn't call 2-0 a thrashing. Australia fought hard and I think the scoreline flatters Brazil.

Rabz
June 18, 2006, 02:41 PM
well fought socceroos.. proud of ya boys..
now go n crash 'em Croats...

Aritro
June 18, 2006, 04:00 PM
A draw would have been the most suitable outcome in the context of the match.

The defensive organisation in that first half is one of many indications that Hiddink occupies a place between man and God.

allrounder
June 18, 2006, 04:03 PM
Brazil won 2-0 without sweating.......

Miraz
June 18, 2006, 04:09 PM
It was not a convincing performance by Brazil. Aussies could have won if they could utilize the opportunities. It was frustrating football from Brazil. Australia can hold their head high and Brazil need to improve tremendously to have any chance in this World Cup.

abdulw11
June 18, 2006, 04:23 PM
Guus Hiddink is one of the best coaches in the world. He is a master tactician...however the best is sometimes not good enough when it comes to playing Brazil.

BangladeshFan
June 18, 2006, 04:35 PM
australia fought hard but in the end brazil was just too much for them. brazil is actually improving gradually and that is an ominous sign for other teams. even without an out of form ronaldo, they are a very strong side. infact robinho looks better than ronaldo. japan is in for a huge thrashing.

IanW
June 18, 2006, 06:28 PM
The game went about how I expected.

There were chunks where I thought we could pinch it, and there were chunks where I thought we could get a draw, but in the end, Brazil won.

Adriano's finishing was the difference - Viduka missed a couple, Kewell missed a couple, Bresciano missed a couple, and Adriano didnt miss.

The big lesson of this game - and it's the same one from Croatia - is that Brazil play as well as you let them. You need good play, hard running, and a plan, and after you have that you either need quality or luck, but if you deny them time and space, they become yet another good counter-attacking team.

If Brazil get through, then forget the Magic Square - it's the steel in their defense that will have seen them through.

Ian Whitchurch

Tehsin
June 18, 2006, 06:49 PM
Very dissapointed with Brazil's finishing. Yes, they did get two goals but they did not look convincing, they would struggle against a stronger team. Aussies did good, could have done better as Brazil didn't even play half as good as they should have. Ronaldo definitely needs to lose some weight. A younger/fitter forward could have changed the face of the game from the get go. Also, the talents did not gel together for Brazil. There were some individual brilliance (using the term lightly) but it went nowhere.

Only consolation for Brazil (well, not really a consolation) is that France was even worse.

IanW
June 18, 2006, 10:38 PM
Tehsin,

The difference is that Australia want to put up a good show and, ideally, make the quarters. Brazil want to win the whole thing, and they've been lucky to take the points against Croatia and Australia (I could easily see both those games as 1-1 draws).

At the moment, I would be backing Spain or Argentina ahead of Brazil.

I think either England or Germany could leave Brazil scoreless at the end of 90 minutes as well.

Ian Whitchurch

Mr-Cricket
June 18, 2006, 11:37 PM
Guus Hiddink is one of the best coaches in the world. He is a master tactician...however the best is sometimes not good enough when it comes to playing Brazil.
Had we taken our chances - and there were plenty, mind you - it may well have been.

I was extremely pleased with the organisation at the back.

Huge step up from that Liechtenstein game.

Bad luck, fellas'. You did us proud.

Ultimately Brazil thrashed Australia 2-0 and they look comfortable in the point table.
Brazil won 2-0 without sweating.......

<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR class=stathead style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #555555"><TD align=middle colSpan=3>Match Stats</TD></TR><TR class=colhead align=right><TD></TD><TD>Brazil</TD><TD>Australia</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Shots (on Goal)</TD><TD>18(6)</TD><TD>14(4)</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Fouls</TD><TD>9</TD><TD>23</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Corner Kicks</TD><TD>7</TD><TD>4</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Offsides</TD><TD>5</TD><TD>1</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Time of Possession</TD><TD>53%</TD><TD>47%</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Yellow Cards</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>2</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Red Cards</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>0</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Saves</TD><TD>6</TD><TD>5</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

I'd hardly call that a walkover.

Brazil was pushed through brilliant defending for the entire first half.

Australia actually dominated many passages in the game.

I have to admit that it did surprise me.

I think this blog from Fox Sports sums it up quite well.


The lack of strike weapons was particularly galling because Australia played well, quite possibly as well as any Australia side has ever played. The players showed great discipline and maintained their shape to deny the superstar Brazilians space in the first half. And the Socceroos only lost their shape in the second half because they were chasing the game.

Mr-Cricket
June 18, 2006, 11:41 PM
Croatia pays the penalty
From Alastair Himmer in Nuremburg, Germany
June 19, 2006

Croatia 0 Japan 0
CROATIA missed a first-half penalty in the goalless draw with Japan in Nuremburg today, a result that left the World Cup of both sides in limbo.

Darijo Srna's 22nd-minute penalty miss proved costly for Croatia, who largely controlled the Group F fixture between sides who each lost their opening match.

Croatia, beaten 1-0 by Brazil in its opener last week, takes on Australia in a must-win game on Friday morning (AEST).

Japan faces the daunting task of having to beat world champion Brazil in its final group game on Friday after its 3-1 defeat by Australia.

Japan striker Atsushi Yanagisawa missed the Blue Samurai’s best chance six minutes into the second half, hitting his right-foot shot wide of an open goal after being fed superbly by Akira Kaji.

Croatia came straight back with Niko Kranjcar poking just wide, but it failed to capitalise on its territorial advantage in a scrappy second half.

The Croats, who beat Japan 1-0 on their way to the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup, had the better of the first half, with Kranjcar stinging the hands of Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi early on.

The game burst into life in the 21st minute when Japan captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto conceded a penalty for a clumsy trip on Croatia striker Dado Prso.

However, Kawaguchi produced a brilliant save to keep Japan level, plunging low to his left to turn away Srna's firmly struck kick.

Kranjcar headed the resulting corner into the side-netting and the same player then lashed a right-foot shot against the bar in the 28th minute, compounding Croatia's frustration.

Kawaguchi was forced into another sprawling save from Ivan Klasnic five minutes before the break as Croatia pushed for the opening goal.


<HR SIZE=1>
JAPAN 0
CROATIA 0
Referee: Frank de Bleeckere (Bel)
Crowd: 41,000, at Franken-Stadion, Nuremburg.

Reuters

Mr-Cricket
June 19, 2006, 12:16 AM
Fred up as Australia downed
By Andy Withers
Fox Sports
June 19, 2006

Australia 0 Brazil 2
AUSTRALIA produced a brave performance against world champion Brazil in Munich this morning, but it paid the ultimate price for a singular inability to score.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5171186,00.jpg Adriano ... celebrates scoring the opening goal. Pic: Agence France-Presse






</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff height=10></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
The Socceroos matched their illustrious rivals in every area of the pitch but for the most important: in front of goal.

Brazil produced two moments of brilliance to score twice in the second half, while Australia missed chance after chance . . . after chance.

Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink was left to lament them all.

"The way the team acted during almost the whole game, we can be proud,'' Hiddink said.

"We had two or three good opportunities, but we failed to make the goal.

"Brazil did not have the power to dominate the Australian team. But the morale is high.''

The result saw Brazil confirm its qualification for the knockout stage of the tournament, while Australia knows that a draw against Croatia on Friday morning (AEST) will see it through alongside the world champion.

Ronaldo, much maligned for his below-par performance in Brazil's opening Group F fixture against Croatia, again failed to produce his brilliant best form, but he was heavily involved in the opening goal.

It came four minutes after half-time. The Real Madrid star ran on to a beautifully weighted through ball between Lucas Neill and right-back Brett Emerton, with Australia appealing for offside.

Ronaldo continued his advance to the edge of the penalty area, where he squared a lateral ball to strike partner Adriano. The Inter Milan forward stepped back inside Australia left-back Scott Chipperfield and crashed a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Brazil iced the victory with a 90th-minute score from substitute Fred, who had been on the pitch for just two minutes after replacing Adriano.

The Lyon striker took the ball on the edge of the penalty area, from where he fed Robinho, a second-half substitute for Ronaldo.

The young Real Madrid star crashed a shot against the right-hand goal post, beating Schwarzer all ends up, and the ball ran to Fred, who tapped it into an empty net from inside the six-yard box.

Kaka, Brazil's goal scorer in the opening 1-0 victory against Croatia, also saw a bullet header hit the cross bar in the 81st minute, and he wasted a glorious opportunity in the dying moments, putting a free header wide of the goal.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was adamant his side had deserved the three points.

"We are happy to have qualified, and it is a deserved victory,'' Parreira, coach of the 1994 World Cup-winning side, said.

"We imposed both our style of playing, passing the ball around, and also imposed ourselves physically.

"It is true that with three Australian forwards in our half it was more complicated, and we struggled at times, but overall I think there are more positives than negatives."

Parreira, who is in his third spell in charge of Brazil, said he wasn't concerned by the fact the side wasn't firing on all cylinders.

"It is normal that we are not in top form," he said.

"We only played three friendlies before the finals and we are getting better and better little by little.

"We played better than we did against Croatia and we will play even better in the next one (against Japan).'"

Whatever Parreira's public pronouncements, the Socceroos had enough chances to grab a draw, and they will feel aggrieved they did not get a result from a match in which they were thoroughly competitive.

Harry Kewell, a 56th-minute for Tim Cahill, will feel he should have done better just moments after entering the fray, but the Liverpool man blazed wide of an open goal after Brazil goalkeeper Dida had made a hash of clearing an up-and-under in his penalty area.

Kewell also tried his luck from 35 metres eight minutes later, after being played in behind the defence by Mark Viduka's flick, but his dipping shot was just too high.

Marco Bresciano, a first-half substitute for Tony Popovic, who succumbed to a long-standing calf injury, also caused Brazilian hearts to flutter in the 79th minute when he pirouetted in midair to put a spectacular right-foot shot on target, but Dida was its equal.

And five minutes before Fred secured the victory for Brazil, Bresciano played Viduka in behind the defence, but the Socceroos captain's lifted shot over Dida under serious pressure landed on the roof of the net.

Bresciano was at the heart of many of Australia's moments after his introduction, but he will rue his indecision after beating the offside trap on the left flank in the 53rd minute.

The Parma man broke into the penalty area, but he seemed uncertain whether to shoot or to pass inside to the advancing Viduka, and his indecision allowed Brazil midfield player Ze Roberto to get back and clear the danger.

The second half was an open affair as Australia chased an equaliser.

They finished the match with a three-man attack which after Hiddink sent John Aloisi into the fray to replace centre-back Craig Moore, and it caused Brazil several problems.

As such, it was totally different to the first half, in which the Socceroos maintained great tactical discipline as a team, closing down space across the pitch to deny the world champion time to weave any kind of magic.

Viduka and midfield player Jason Culina, twice, had shots on target from central positions in space 25 metres from goal, but neither player’s effort had the power to trouble Dida.

At the other end, Australia maintained shape and firm discipline in defence, restricting Brazil to just two meaningful opportunities in the first 45 minutes.

First, Kaka pulled a third-minute volley just wide of the Australia’s left goal post after neat interplay between the midfield player and Ronaldo fashioned the chance just outside the penalty area.

Then Ronaldo hit a 42nd-minute shot just wide of the opposite goal post after Adriano had put him into space in a central position with a neat back heel.


<HR SIZE=1>AUSTRALIA 0
BRAZIL 2 (Adriano 49min, Fred 90)
Referee: Markus Merk (Ger)
Crowd: 66,000, at Allianz Arena, Munich.

AUSTRALIA: Mark Schwarzer; Lucas Neill, Craig Moore (John Aloisi, 69), Tony Popovic (Marco Bresciano, 41), Scott Chipperfield, Vince Grella; Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Tim Cahill (Harry Kewell, 56), Mile Sterjovski; Mark Viduka (captain).
BRAZIL: Dida; Cafu (captain), Lucio, Roberto Carlos, Juan; Emerson (Gilberto Silva, 72), Ze Roberto, Kaka, Ronaldinho; Adriano (Fred, 88), Ronaldo (Robinho, 72).


<HR SIZE=1>
Socceroos gear up for Croatia (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19515170-5004540,00.html)
Uncool Harry praises ref (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19516883-23215,00.html)
'Improved' Brazil praises Socceroos (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19517146-23215,00.html)
Video: Roos fall down, but party goes on (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19515048-23215,00.html#)


FOX SPORTS

Mr-Cricket
June 19, 2006, 12:22 AM
<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width="100%"><TBODY><TR class=stathead><TD colSpan=9>Group F</TD></TR><TR class=colhead align=right><TD width="36%"></TD><TD width="8%">GP</TD><TD width="8%">W</TD><TD width="8%">D</TD><TD width="8%">L</TD><TD width="8%">GS</TD><TD width="8%">GA</TD><TD width="8%">GD</TD><TD width="8%">P</TD></TR><TR align=right bgColor=#b8dba6><TD align=left>Brazil (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=205&cc=3436)</TD><TD>2</TD><TD>2</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>6</TD></TR><TR align=right bgColor=#d6ebcc><TD align=left>Australia (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=628&cc=3436)</TD><TD>2</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>3</TD></TR><TR class=oddrow align=right><TD align=left>Croatia (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=477&cc=3436)</TD><TD>2</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>-1</TD><TD>1</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow align=right><TD align=left>Japan (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team?id=627&cc=3436)</TD><TD>2</TD><TD>0</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>1</TD><TD>3</TD><TD>-2</TD><TD>1</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Parody restored as Brazil claims top spot in Group F.

Brazil now progesses through to the 2nd Round.

Ejaj
June 19, 2006, 01:51 AM
Few words about Brazil's performance so far. I must say, i had been pretty disappointed with them. I simply fail to understand, why does an unfit Ronaldo had been picked for the team.Even worst, in the first eleven. I remember, Romario wasnt picked up for 98 worldcup just because he was slow by that time.. even though he was the saint four years back. I had huge respect for Perira and I am just soo blinded by this studpid decision of him. Everyone could see, the attacks get much more pacy whenever Robinho comes in. He might not be at the same level as Ronaldo was in this age.. but, he is still much better than Ronaldo at the moment. Infact, Even Romario would be a much fitter player than Ronaldo now. This is really awful.

But, even though, both the game werent too convincing, I must say. game was much better against Aussie than Croatia and this is a typical brazilian sign. They tends to get stronger as tournament goes on.. atleast this had been the way since 94. So, I guess, i can be optimist about them.
Few words about defence. Juan and Lucio.. they both are quite disaapointing. Juan reminds of the brazilian defence back in 80's. Its really annoying to see both Juna and Lucio trying to do the roles of wingers. I wonder, why the hell do they need to do that. when, they cant even cope with Australian forwards. They were comprehensively beaten a lot of specially in counter attacks. They even looked slower. Even though, Cordination among the attacks is a problem at the moment for Brazil, to me, its the defence that is really worrying me. The defence this time is worst than 2002. I was totally shocked at the way they were defending.

I feel sorry for Adriano. To me, he is the hit man and just because of Ronaldo, he is unable to play his natural role. Ronaldo must be dropped from the next match, if Brazil wants some kinds of coordination to grow up before knockout stage. Juninho should be brought in place of Emerson. He is almost like another Ronaldo. Last but not least, Robinho should be given chance to play in first 11. He suits perfectly on typical brazilian no.7 role. I am sure, the attacks will be much more sharper adn pacier, if Robinho comes in the first eleven. Ronaldo can be tried for a sub. Ronaldinho should play moe in the front. He is playing too much in the back.
I really hope, that brazil can show why they were rated so high. The sooner they pick up the game, the better it is.

Mr-Cricket
June 19, 2006, 04:26 AM
Just on last nights game, I must say looking back, some of the Guus' selections actually puzzled me. Against Japan, John Aloisi & Tim Cahill played a part in every goal. It was from John Aloisi's blocked free kick that Lucas Neil threw in the ball which resulted in Cahill's first goal. Aloisi himself layed off the ball to Tim Cahill for Australia's second. And finally, Cahill returned the favour by supplying Aloisi with the ball that sent Aloisi on his brilliant individual run for Australia's third.

Although only the second goal directly resulted from an assist, the fact remains that both players played a huge part in bringing Australia back from the brink in the final stages of the Japan game. So in that sense I found it quite perplexing in that both players were not on the field at any one stage in the Brazil game (Kewell for Cahill - 56th & Aloisi for Moore - 69th). I was also surprised that Bresciano started the game on the bench, and that Skoko, yet again, missed out - this time for Sterjovski (last game Wilkshire). Skoko played well against Greece, but has had limited opportunities since.

That said, the substitutions, again, almost payed off. Kewell had a golden opportunity within minutes of coming on, and Bresciano himself had his chances both at the end of the 1st half, and throughout the 2nd. Just on Kewell - he really is starting to peak at the right time for us. He's improving with each game. Australia outworked and outplayed Brazil for large periods of last night games, only for their finishing to let them down. Who could have ever have envisaged this occuring following our ignomious loss to Tunisia at the Confederations Cup, under Frank Farina, only one year ago?

The moral?

Guus is god. Don't question him.

Mr-Cricket
June 19, 2006, 06:08 AM
Kewell faces ban after ref clash
June 19, 2006

HARRY Kewell could miss Australia's final group match after being charged by FIFA with insulting referee Markus Merk following the 2-0 defeat by Brazil.

The Liverpool winger has been reported by Merk for swearing at the German official several times after the final whistle and disciplinary proceedings have been opened against him.

A decision will be announced before Australia's last game of Group F against Croatia in Stuttgart on Friday (AEST).

FIFA communications director Markus Siegler said: "FIFA have opened disciplinary procedures against Harry Kewell. It was reported in the referee's report that he insulted the referee several times. He has until tomorrow (June 20) to respond and a decision will be taken before Australia's final group match."



AAP

Sovik
June 19, 2006, 06:35 AM
I am disappointed on Brazil's performance so far. Ronaldo is out of shape as well as out of shape. He should play better against Japan otherwise he should be dropped and Robinho should be given the chance

abdulw11
June 19, 2006, 06:38 AM
Ronaldo is out of shape as well as out of shape. He should play better against Japan otherwise he should be dropped...

I think he has had enough chances and clearly he has not proven himself. He should be dropped for the Japan game...maybe thats the only way to get him to perform.

sadi
June 19, 2006, 08:50 AM
Ronaldo is getting better though... he was much sharper yesterday than the first game and he will keep getting better.... one thing that goes in his favor is his rep... whenever he gets the ball, he draws so many defenders toward him that opens up space for other players... for example, the first goal from adriano came from a pass from ronaldo when he drew three defenders and then gave a through pass to adriano who was open on the other side.... Robinho is good though... and he will be much better coming out of the bench as he is quick and break apart tired defences in the second half with his speed.... I don't think there is anything to worry about just yet... Brazil will keep getting better and will peak when its time... :)

tiger_man
June 19, 2006, 09:01 AM
Kewell faces ban after ref clash
June 19, 2006

HARRY Kewell could miss Australia's final group match after being charged by FIFA with insulting referee Markus Merk following the 2-0 defeat by Brazil.

The Liverpool winger has been reported by Merk for swearing at the German official several times after the final whistle and disciplinary proceedings have been opened against him.

A decision will be announced before Australia's last game of Group F against Croatia in Stuttgart on Friday (AEST).

FIFA communications director Markus Siegler said: "FIFA have opened disciplinary procedures against Harry Kewell. It was reported in the referee's report that he insulted the referee several times. He has until tomorrow (June 20) to respond and a decision will be taken before Australia's final group match."



AAP
most decisions made against australia by those [Edited ] referees were very unfair to australia..for little things..

so i can understand kewell's frustration...

Mr-Cricket
June 20, 2006, 12:18 AM
Socceroos commit Harry kari
By Ray Gatt
June 20, 2006

HARRY Kewell faces suspension from Australia's crucial Group F decider with Croatia on Friday after being reported to a FIFA disciplinary committee for his animated clash with referee Markus Merk.

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"> <tbody><tr> <td align="center"> http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5171918,00.jpgUnhappy ...
Roos coach Guus Hiddink. Pic: Agence France-Presse
</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td> </tr> </tbody></table> http://foxsports.news.com.au/images/video/red_video.gif Video: Kewell blows up in Munich (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19524689-5004540,00.html#)

A furious Kewell released his pent-up emotions on the match official after the German referee infuriated Australia and coach Guus Hiddink with several of his decisions.

Officials confirmed Kewell had been asked to submit a written explanation by 9am tomorrow morning Germany time (5pm AEST) and said a decision on any sanction would be made before the game against Croatia (4.30am on Friday AEST).

Reputedly one of the best referees in the world, Merk continually blew for free-kicks against the Socceroos while seemingly treating Brazil more lightly.

Kewell and Hiddink were visibly upset with Merk, the Australia forward spending at least a minute giving the German a piece of his mind while Hiddink waited at the sideline after the match before launching his own remonstrations.

Merk appeared to take the blasts in his stride, but eventually decided to report Kewell to FIFA for his actions. For a player to front a disciplnary panel having not been booked for the offence is extremely rare in football.

Hiddink also walked a thin line during the game, often throwing his hands in the air in disgust or complaining to the fourth official, Costa Rican Leonel Leal.

At one stage it appeared as though the Australia coach was going to be ordered off the bench close to the end of the first half after he threw a bottle of water to the ground in anger after another mystifying ruling.

Leal jumped off his seat and motioned to Hiddink that he was going to be sent to the grandstand to watch the remainder of the game if his behaviour continued.

The Costa Rican approached the linesman to make him aware of what was going on then made contact with the referee via the radio headset.

However, as play continued, Leal went to Hiddink and indicated with his finger that he would be given one more chance.

Kewell did not comment on the incident with Merk or the refereeing and neither did defender Lucas Neill, who was seen complaining bitterly to Hiddink about Merk at the end of the match.

When asked his thoughts, Neill's body language told the story. He screwed up his face and shook his head from side to side before shrugging his shoulders and saying: "I want to play the next game."

Kewell has played down the altercation with Merk, who took charge of the 2004 European championship final between Greece and Portugal.

"You're frustrated, you're losing the game, every referee puts up with it," the Liverpool star said. "I mean it's part and parcel of the game. He knows there's no harm meant by it."

Reserve Australia goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac had one word to describe the refereeing.

"Terrible, terrible, terrible," Kalac said, adding that the officials were intimidated by Brazil.

"I think so, I think they all are. You touch them (Brazil) and they go down and it's a foul straight away," Kalac said.

Defender Scott Chipperfield said the Socceroos were frustrated.

"(Mark) Viduka was fouled a lot whereas, at the other end, Adriano was doing very much the same thing but was getting away with it," Chipperfield said. "When you play against the top teams, the decisions don't usually go your way."

Refereeing controversy aside, Kewell, who came on six minutes after half-time as Hiddink chased an equaliser, had an immediate impact on the game.

He should have equalised two minutes after taking the field when Brazil keeper Dida dropped a high ball.

Kewell latched on to it immediately but sent the ball soaring over the goal with an empty net at his mercy.

"It's one that you'd love to get in but I messed up. I got over the top of the ball so, instead of the back of the net, it went over the roof of the stadium, it was just one of those things," Kewell said.

Kewell skated around the question when asked if he was disappointed he did not start the match. There had been rumours circulating during the week that he was again having problems with his troublesome groin injury and that he would not even be on the bench for the Brazil game.

"Again, that's the manager's decision. He obviously had a plan and I fitted in there somewhere along the line and of course everyone wants to start," he said.

With Agence France Press


The Australian

IanW
June 20, 2006, 04:50 AM
Tigerman,

If this gets moderated, it gets moderated.

You violated Godwin's law. You called on team to 'rape' other teams.

**** off, and dont come back.

We dont need your sort around here - at BanglaCricket, or supporting Australia in the Beautiful Game.

If you want to discuss the matter in person, I'm in Sydney.

But I travel.

Ian Whitchurch

Mr-Cricket
June 20, 2006, 07:04 AM
Kewell free to play
From correspondents in Oehringen, Germany
June 20, 2006

HARRY Kewell has been cleared by FIFA over his post-match tirade against a referee and will be free to play in Australia's crucial World Cup Group F match against Croatia on Thursday (Friday AEST).

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"> <tbody><tr> <td align="center"> http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5171780,00.jpgClash ...
Kewell confronts Merk: Pic: Gregg Porteous
</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td> </tr> </tbody></table>Football Federation Australia confirmed that FIFA had thrown out the case against Kewell over his confrontation with referee Markus Merk following the Socceroos' 2-0 loss to Brazil on Sunday.

Australian officials received advice today from FIFA's disciplinary committee (EDS: 1900AEST) that Kewell had been cleared.

An FFA spokesman said the reasons given by FIFA not to proceed with any action against Kewell were in part "inconsistent reporting by the match officials about the incident", which took place immediately following the final whistle.

That was despite photographs and television replays clearly showing Kewell striding purposefully towards Merk, mouthing off and pointing his finger at him – the sort of anti-referee histrionics FIFA usually frowns heavily upon.

Australia can secure a spot in the World Cup round of 16 with a draw against Croatia in Stuttgart, provided Japan does not produce a big win over Brazil in its last game.

It was a stunning and unexpected conclusion to a saga which had threatened to drag on into Australian football's most important ever match, with a spot at the business end of the tournament up for grabs.

The Socceroos had earlier submitted Kewell's side of the story, leaning heavily on the fact referee Merk refused to talk to Australia skipper Mark Viduka when approached during the game to explain certain decisions to him and his teammates.

A team captain is permitted to ask a referee for clarification of decisions during a game, but assistant coach Graham Arnold said the Socceroos were denied even that right by Merk.

Arnold had earlier said Kewell's outburst was entirely out of character for the Liverpool star, who along with his Australian teammates was clearly frustrated with referee Merk, who had hammered them in the foul count 25-9.

"It's very unlike Harry Kewell. He's played in massive games, Champions League and FA Cup finals, and it's unlike him to react like that," Arnold said.

"I suppose there's a bit of frustration, not only on his part, but on all the team's part on a lot of the decisions."

"The fact Mark Viduka even tried to speak to the referee, but he wouldn't have a bar of it, frustrated the players even more."


AAP

AsifTheManRahman
June 20, 2006, 08:59 AM
i'm gonna put my money on the socceroos to beat croatia and advance to the second round. they are a highly competitive bunch, and the only reason - imo - that they lost against brazil was that the latter are simply too good.

Mr-Cricket
June 20, 2006, 11:15 AM
Sorry Harry to play Croatia
By David Lewis in Oehringen
June 21, 2006

HARRY Kewell was last night celebrating after being cleared to play in Friday morning's crunch World Cup clash against Croatia following his bust-up with German referee Markus Merk.

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"> <tbody><tr> <td align="center"> http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5172506,00.jpgThumbs up ... A relieved Kewell. Pic: Gregg Porteous
</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td> </tr> </tbody></table> After examining a written statement from the Australia star midfielder, and a report from the match officials, a FIFA disciplinary panel unconditionally exonerated Kewell for his bust-up after the final whistle of Sunday night's luckless 2-0 loss to the world champion.

Kewell, who was facing a possible four-match ban, expressed delight and relief at the verdict, declaring: "What can I say – the decision is just brilliant.

"It's better than I expected. I was prepared for the worst but I'm glad FIFA saw it the way they did.

"There was nothing deliberate or malicious (in what happened). It was just spur of the moment.

"At the end of the day, the referee is always right."

The panel was unconvinced by the statements of Merk and his assistants over the incident, citing conflicting evidence as the reason for clearing Kewell, who had faced a possible four-match ban.

Football Federation Australia's legal eagles worked feverishly to provide mitigating circumstances in Kewell's defence for a fusillade sparked off by Merk's lop-sided handling of the match in which the foul count went three-to-one in Brazil's favour.

And Kewell added: "I'd like to thank the FFA and the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) who worked together on this.

"I couldn't get a better result than this. Now it's on to Croatia, and let's go out and get the result we need."

It's understood Merk's failure to give Kewell a yellow, or even a red card, at the time of the flashpoint, as FIFA rules generally stipulate, also helped him escape punishment.

Angered by Merk's handling of the match, Kewell snapped when he saw him laughing and joking with Brazilian players at the end of the game in Munich.

Borrowing a line from the John McEnroe book of insults, he strode over to the official, finger pointed, and told him, amongst other things: "You can't be serious."

Following the player's 30-second outburst, Merk allegedly informed Kewell pointedly: "Your World Cup is over."

In a written statement giving his reasons for his tirade, a contrite Kewell said his remarks were borne of frustration and were deeply regretted.

Kewell told Channel 9 last night: "It was enormous pressure (during the game). It's the first time I ever did something like that.

"It's a big game for us being in the World Cup and I overheated."

In his submission, Kewell also acknowledged the difficult job that referees face and insisted his anger was simply a rash reaction at the end of an emotional evening.

Socceroos coaching staff believe Kewell's actions, however ill-expressed, spoke not just for his teammates but also a nation which felt shortchanged by Merk.

Seemingly starstruck by the world champion the official – one of FIFA's most highly thought of – couldn't find it in his remit to punish them, no matter how flagrant the infraction.

Last night Australia assistant coach Graham Arnold refused to chastise Kewell, 27, for the bust-up.

"Harry's played in massive games, Champions League finals and (his loss of composure) was very unlike Harry Kewell," he said. "You don't usually see him react like that.

"But there was a bit of frustration there, not only on his part but also the team's behalf for some of the decisions that went against us.

"Mark Viduka even tried to talk to the referee during the game but he wouldn't have a bar of it and that frustrated us even more.

"The captain should at least be able to ask a question – but the ref wasn't having it."
Kewell admitted having words with Merk, explaining afterwards: "You're frustrated, you're losing the game, every referee puts up with it.

"I mean, it's part and parcel of the game. He knows there's no harm meant by it."



The Daily Telegraph

Mr-Cricket
June 20, 2006, 11:18 AM
The panel was unconvinced by the statements of Merk and his assistants over the incident, citing conflicting evidence as the reason for clearing Kewell, who had faced a possible four-match ban.

Football Federation Australia's legal eagles worked feverishly to provide mitigating circumstances in Kewell's defence for a fusillade sparked off by Merk's lop-sided handling of the match in which the foul count went three-to-one in Brazil's favour.

Angered by Merk's handling of the match, Kewell snapped when he saw him laughing and joking with Brazilian players at the end of the game in Munich.

Following the player's 30-second outburst, Merk allegedly informed Kewell pointedly: "Your World Cup is over." That's the first time I've heard about any of this.

Reading it really does anger me.

The referee deserves to be stood down immediately.

Good on Harry for speaking out.

Mr-Cricket
June 21, 2006, 07:52 PM
Roos to target the jugular
From David Lewis in Stuttgart, Germany
June 22, 2006

AUSTRALIA coach Guus Hiddink has instructed his team to go for broke against Croatia in Stuttgart tomorrow morning (AEST) - even though a point will almost certainly secure qualification for the knockout stage of the tournament.

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"> <tbody><tr> <td align="center"> http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5173078,00.jpgDirection ... Hiddink explains a role to Kewell. Pic: Reuters
</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td> </tr> </tbody></table> http://foxsports.news.com.au/images/list_bullet_red.gif Analysis: All-out attack a fatal mistake (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,19544784-5004540,00.html)

Unwilling to play the percentages, Hiddink has embraced the desire of his players to have a crack at Croatia, insisting attack is the only way they know how to play.

Unperturbed by the risk of the strategy backfiring and Australia being dumped out of the tournament, Hiddink said: "It's almost impossible to tell my team: Hey guys, one point is enough, let's keep a clean sheet.

"This team has the spirit to go forward; the players don't have the mentality and the personal character to sit on a draw.

"They have so much ambition and a will to attack teams, even if it might seem a little bit stupid at times.

"So I can't tell them not to.

"I like that approach. It makes you a winner, not just in results but the impression you give worldwide.

"It's impossible to hold them back; to watch them go forward pleases me.

"If it doesn't work then at least you can look back and be proud of your team." Hiddink delivered a similar mantra before Monday's (AEST) match against Brazil, and the Socceroos pushed the world champion before the South Americans found an escape route.

But he conceded that he would have accepted had he been offered three points from matches against Japan and Brazil at the start of the tournament.

"We're in a good position and the players believe they will qualify for the next round," he said.

This time, Hiddink will have more confidence in his side delivering the result Australia craves against a team suffering a crisis of confidence after picking up just one point and failing to score in so far in the tournament.

To succeed, Hiddink believes his side must win a mental war and an intensely physical duel.

"I expect a tougher game than against the Brazilians because that was a good game and clean game, though it was over-controlled by the referee (Markus Merk) who gave a lot of non-fouls against us.

"The game against Croatia will be far more physical.

"It's true that they haven't scored yet, but I feel they will be far more dangerous than a lot of people are thinking.

"But our team has been growing in confidence. It started when we neutralised (the Netherlands) in the warm-up match."

With Harry Kewell cleared to play after his dust-up with Merk, Hiddink hinted - though his hints are often subterfuge - that the winger would be held back as an impact player from the bench, as he was against Brazil.

"I haven't made my decision but the question is: When do you bring Harry in when he is not game fit?

"The answer might be to bring him in later, that might be a possibility."

Since Croatia will play two forwards - Dado Prso and Ivica Olic - Hiddink is likely to field a back three, most likely Craig Moore, Lucas Neill and Scott Chipperfield.

He is then likely to string six players across the middle, with Vince Grella containing danger deep, Jason Culina and Brett Emerton operating centrally with Marco Bresciano, and Tim Cahill and Mile Sterjovksi going forward to support lone striker Mark Viduka.

Whatever happens tomorrow, Russia-bound Hiddink hopes he has created a legacy that will guide Australia out of the football wilderness.

"In Australia, people are getting crazy about football," he asid.

"The aim is to build a good foundation for the development of the game there. That's a winning situation for Australia.

"Now we want to win also against Croatia."


The Daily Telegraph

Tehsin
June 21, 2006, 09:20 PM
Ian,

I'm hoping to see Australia represent Asia (for soccer only) and give us two really good teams to show to the world. The other one being Korea. You are right, the way Brazil played, they'd have a horrid time against more experienced teams.

The Aussies have done a great job exporting the talents to Europe. That and the coach make the Aussie a better team and won't be surprised if they blindside couple of teams in the next 1/2 (maybe more) matches. They also have a physical advantage/style, that worked well to disrupt the Brazilian flow/flambouyance (sp) the other day.

Ejaj
June 22, 2006, 02:49 AM
I think Croating will win against Australia. They have the speed to defeat Australia although they made a draw against Japan. I will still put my money on Croatia.
I really like to see Junihno gets a chance to play. He had been in superb form for Leon and he should make place for Ronaldo. Expect a better match today.

Rabz
June 22, 2006, 03:44 AM
i believe in the Socceroos..
they can do it..
They hv what it takes to beat the Croats...

Looking forward to the victory parade in the CBD early tomorrow morning...
cuz the match finishes our time 7am..

C'mon Aussie C'mon...
C'mon...

abdulw11
June 22, 2006, 08:44 AM
I think Guus Hiddink will work his magic against Croatia today. I have massive respect for this man.

I will be supporting Australia (for the 1st time as it happens) today and hope they advance to the next round.

tiger_man
June 22, 2006, 10:54 AM
I think Guus Hiddink will work his magic against Croatia today. I have massive respect for this man.

I will be supporting Australia (for the 1st time as it happens) today and hope they advance to the next round.

australia will give croatia the GUUS bumps... :flag: :flag: :flag:

tiger_man
June 22, 2006, 11:02 AM
I think Croating will win against Australia

didnt know such a country existed in first place.

Sovik
June 22, 2006, 02:54 PM
looks like kangaroos will play against italy in 2nd round

allrounder
June 22, 2006, 03:37 PM
looks like kangaroos will go home packing, better luck next time. You may join the mourning parade in the morning.

I guess Australia made it now.

Sovik
June 22, 2006, 04:02 PM
brazil vs ghana
australia vs italy

akabir77
June 22, 2006, 04:03 PM
lucky assis scored the 2nd one from clear offside....

allrounder
June 22, 2006, 04:26 PM
The kangaroos were denied of a penalty, so they are unlucky too.

Miraz
June 22, 2006, 04:48 PM
Well Done socceroooooooo's.

Congrats!!!!

tiger_man
June 22, 2006, 05:22 PM
the refeering was simply horrible.....this is the worst refereeing i have ever seen...

viduka was grabbed and pulled down soon after the first goal in the penalty area, the ref just ignored it....
the croatian number 3 got like 3 yellows in the match and he is still playing.......

our biggest opponents is not croatia, italy or brazil, but the FIFA refs...everytime the soccrooos go onto the field, the ref and thier yellows are bigger worry these days than opponent strikers.......and i dont blame kewell for mouthing off at the refs....if i were him, i would spare my voice and nail a punch in the nazi refs face...

i hope FIFA does something about this......their bull$hit refereeing nearly put australia out of world cup not once but twice...in the match against japan, aussies had to bloody spend the entire game trying to equalise the goal that never should have happened in first place.....had viduka been given the penalty for that horrendous tackle, would probably have 3-2 score.......and as far as i am concerned, a hard working team like australia doesnt deserve this unjust treatment...

IMO, it looks like all the refs have packed to togather to put australia out of world cup...

abdulw11
June 22, 2006, 05:49 PM
IMO, it looks like all the refs have packed to togather to put australia out of world cup...

Look man, I'll admit the referee had a bad game but you have to get it out of your head that everyone is against Australia...

Sovik
June 22, 2006, 08:39 PM
aussies deserved this win but they will face much harder opposition

tiger_man
June 22, 2006, 10:19 PM
Look man, I'll admit the referee had a bad game but you have to get it out of your head that everyone is against Australia...

i didnt say everyone is against australia, what i said was that refs decisions seem to go against australia all the time starting from game 1 against japan....

i dont have to go into details but if you have watched all the australia matches, you would know what i am talking about......particularly the match against brazil where australia had 21 fouls compared to brazils 7....a

so therefore i think i have a very good reason to complain about ref's anti-australian stance...

this game agianst croatia left me disgusted.....World cup refereeing has sunk to its lowest level.....i reckon our referees from our local club matches (abahoni nd mohamaddan) can do a better job than these damned idiots...

australia my have survived against croatia and japan, but as we go up the ladder our opponents are are mostly from rank 1-8......so i dont see how we can survive this WC if this nonsense continues to stay on...

tiger_man
June 22, 2006, 11:12 PM
lucky assis scored the 2nd one from clear offside....

that wasnt a very "clear" offside....it was only picked up after slow motion replay of the goal...

but regardless, considering the number of decision that went against australia and the number of missed opportunities, (we should have had 2 penalty for that tackle on viduka), it was time we deserved that goal... offside or not....

speaking of fairness, i dont think the game is was any fairer to australia for the past 2 games.....so i dont see why croatia should cry an offside goal when they got some benefit of refs bulllying of socceroos...

Tehsin
June 23, 2006, 12:02 AM
I thought Australia does play a little rough. The refs have tarnished this world cup a little bit and some of the decisions have favored the stronger sides.

On the other hand, that was one mean (very late and looked intentional) tackle by the Aussie defender on Ronaldo the other day. It left a mark on Ronaldo's calf muscle. It's stupid (and dangerous) plays like those that make the refs do what they do.

jabbar
June 23, 2006, 12:23 AM
Australia through to Knockout stage after thrilling draw against Croatia!!!:D

What a game!! I'm still trying to recover from my jangled nerves and aching heart. I wanted us to win so bad! Especially after "kalamity Kalac" 's miss and the referee's continuous blunders throughout teh match, I felt we deserved to win.

We are a real chance to upset Italy. Watch out, the Socceroos are on the prowel!!!!!:mad:

Banglatiger84
June 23, 2006, 01:37 AM
On one hand I agree that Australia have suffered poor refereeing decisions on at least 3-4 occasions this WOrld Cu

On theother hand some Aussie players arre extremly rough and just jump into challenges oblivious of whether someones leg will break or not.

Ejaj
June 23, 2006, 02:10 AM
Just as I thought, only, I wanted Adriano to be in place of Ronaldo. it had been disappointing from Perihra not to play Juninho. He had been in such a great form and he should be playing in place of slow Emarson. Inclusion of Robinho proved how effective he is and the combination. I believe it would be more lethal if Adriano plays along side Robinho instead of Ronaldo. Althoguh, the fat lazy striker did score twice, but. agaisnt any good defence, he wont be able to do so. Japan defender were simply awful not been able to mark the slowest striker of the world. This is wont happen with other team. So, my choice is still Adriano. Perihra should really be more open minded towards Adriano. I believ, he is the best striker in Brazil at the moment.

Gilberto should play in place of Cafu. With older players, Brazil has the most inefficient and slowest defence in the world. Cicinho and Gilberto should play. Unfortunately, Brazil doesnt have have any more better Center backs. Lucio is simply, crazy and awful. Both the defenders played almost at the half line and t they did so.. even when they dont have the pace to cover back in right time. It was truely shocking. This defence is pretty much similar liek 98. I am realyl worried abt that.

Rabz
June 23, 2006, 02:52 AM
olee ole ole
ozi ozi ozi

Wow !! what a game...
Go Socceroos
Go King Kewell

Australia thorougly deserves to win that match against Croatia... even though we couldnt be more happy with a draw itself.. he he

By far the WORST referring i hv ever seen in my entire life...
2 penalites not given, and a world's first... 3 YELLOW CARDS to a Croatian player..
well..what u expect out of a pommy referre but to make a blunder ... i bet that guy has officiated his last wc game...

Dream come true !!
Congrat boys ....
Now bring it on ITALIA!! we are not scared anymore... we can take the whole world..

Good Day for GUUS as well.. bonus of AUD 800,000 !!! ( approx USD 632,000)

Come this tuesday morning, we will rewrite history ... again...

In Guus We Trust

tiger_man
June 23, 2006, 06:20 AM
On one hand I agree that Australia have suffered poor refereeing decisions on at least 3-4 occasions this WOrld Cu

On theother hand some Aussie players arre extremly rough and just jump into challenges oblivious of whether someones leg will break or not.

when australia does a rough tackle, they get dealt with appropiately....why do you think they got so many yellows already???

..but when others do that against australia, it somehow becomes acceptable in referees view...

tiger_man
June 23, 2006, 06:22 AM
olee ole ole
ozi ozi ozi

Wow !! what a game...
Go Socceroos
Go King Kewell

Australia thorougly deserves to win that match against Croatia... even though we couldnt be more happy with a draw itself.. he he

By far the WORST referring i hv ever seen in my entire life...
2 penalites not given, and a world's first... 3 YELLOW CARDS to a Croatian player..
well..what u expect out of a pommy referre but to make a blunder ... i bet that guy has officiated his last wc game...

Dream come true !!
Congrat boys ....
Now bring it on ITALIA!! we are not scared anymore... we can take the whole world..

Good Day for GUUS as well.. bonus of AUD 800,000 !!! ( approx USD 632,000)

Come this tuesday morning, we will rewrite history ... again...

In Guus We Trust

while i share your sentiments whole heartedly, i wouldnt get very excited if i were you..

there is a big difference between japan, croatia and italy....

if we do the same poor start as we had done earlier matches and cop a goal or two in the first half....getting back wont be easy, especially when almost half the team has yellows...

Mr-Cricket
June 23, 2006, 08:51 AM
Reborn Ronaldo equals record
From Shigemi Sato in Dortmund
June 23, 2006

Japan 1 Brazil 4
RONALDO grabbed two goals to equal German Gerd Mueller's World Cup scoring record as champion Brazil romped to a Group F win today (AEST).

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"><tbody><tr><td align="center">http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5174191,00.jpg
Ronaldo ... back in the scoring groove. Pic: The Associated Press
</td></tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td></tr></tbody></table>The win completed an unbeaten group record and a last 16 meeting with rank outsider Ghana.

Ronaldo was all smiles after showing he is by no means over the hill with two predatory finishes.

"The record wasn't my main goal. I just wanted to be there for the team," he said.

"I have been very patient. If you don't have that you can't keep progressing. You have to keep working and not lose heart," said the 29-year-old, who added that the support of his family "has carried me through the bad times".

The samba stars reacted in style after Keiji Tamada smashed home Japan's opener, against the run of play, after 34 minutes.

Ronaldo nodded the champion level seconds before the break to move ahead of Pele in the goal stakes.

A Juninho piledriver and Gilberto's neat finish within 15 minutes of the restart and a neat Ronaldo swivel and shot wrapped up the romp.

Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said Brazil showned just what it can do.

"I am very happy with the result and the manner in which it was achieved. Today, we played our game, passing the ball around. We deserve to top the group. And Ronaldo is getting better and better. He is a very special player."

With Brazil legend Zico in its coaching hotseat Japan, needing a win to have any hope of advancing, refused to buckle under early pressure but fell away badly in the second half.

"We didn't lose out on qualification tonight but against Australia in the first game," said Zico.

"We conceded a goal just before the break. Overall, I think we did as much as we could today."

Pele congratulated Ronaldo on his achievement.

"It was good he got off the mark right on half-time. That will have been a weight off his shoulders," he said.

"We played a lot better in the second half as the Japanese held back and maybe showed too much respect," added the three-time champion.

Ronaldo, criticised for sluggish showings in the narrow wins over Croatia and Australia, almost broke his tournament duck twice early on as he finally began to look like the man whose eight goals, including two in the final, won Brazil the title four years ago in Japan.

Japan keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was a busy man as he got a hand to a low drive after Ronaldo motored past two defenders before letting fly, the enthusiasm clearly coursing through the Real Madrid striker's veins once more.

Kawaguchi then made another brilliant stop, tipping over a fierce 23rd-minute effort by Juninho.

But then came a majestic finish from Tamada as Japan sighted a repeat of its "miracle," 1-0 win over Brazil in the first round of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Tamada lashed home left-footed past stunned keeper Dida when Brazil-born Alex flipped a nonchalant through ball to him.

The watching Pele slumped in his seat while Zico leapt off the bench, his hands aloft, as his decision to drop goal-shy strikers Naohiro Takahara and Atsushi Yanagisawa for Tamada and newcomer Seiichiro Maki, and bring in Juniichi Inamoto for midfield player Takashi Fukunishi, seemed set to pay off.

With six points in the bag Brazil felt able to ring the changes, classy Lyon midfield player Juninho starting as Parreira rested yellow-carded captain Cafu and Emerson, as well as defender Roberto Carlos and striker Adriano.

Ronaldo nodded Brazil level after clubmate Cicinho headed on a Ronaldinho cross just as referee Eric Poulat prepared to blow for half-time.

Juninho's blockbuster and then a crisp left-footer from Gilberto on the hour allowed Parreira to send on Ricardinho and Ze Roberto for Ronaldinho and Kaka in the closing stages before Ronaldo claimed his second goal to draw level with 1974 champion Muller.

<hr size="1"> JAPAN 1 (Tamada 33)
BRAZIL 4 (Ronaldo 45, 81, Juninho 53, Gilberto 59)
REFEREE: Eric Poulat (France)
CROWD: 65,000 in Dortmund


Reuters

Mr-Cricket
June 23, 2006, 08:57 AM
Kewell puts Roos through
<table align="left" width="45"> <tbody> <tr> <td>http://www.news.com.au/files/toby-forage-newbyline.jpg</td></tr> <tr> <td>
</td></tr></tbody></table>By Toby Forage
Fox Sports editor
June 23, 2006


Croatia 2 Australia 2
HARRY Kewell scored the most important goal of his life this morning to ensure Australia drew 2-2 with Croatia and made the second round of the World Cup for the first time in its history.

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="center">http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5173927,00.jpg
Kewell ... what a moment. Pic: Getty Images
</td></tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td></tr></tbody></table>http://foxsports.news.com.au/images/video/red_video.gif Video:Fans go nuts in Circular Quay (http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/#)
FoxBlog: Too much heart-attack material (http://blogs.foxsports.com.au/football/worldcup/index.php/foxsports_worldcup/comments/oh_my_goodness/)
Schwarzer: Guus explains baffling change (http://foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,19562604-5004540,00.html)
Kewell: Harry hails his greatest goal (http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/URL)

(http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/#) Kewell blasted home a close-range shot with his right foot in the 79th minute after a cross from substitute Marco Bresciano had been headed into his feet by fellow replacement John Aloisi.

The Liverpool midfield player managed to get the ball out of his feet quickly as the Croatia defence drew in, and hit it past goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa to send Australia into delirium and a second round clash with Group E winner Italy.

Kewell's heroics will live long in the memory as Australia moves through to second round for a clash with Italy.

"That's what we wanted," Socceroos captain Mark Viduka said in the tunnel after the game.

"We knew if we kept composure we could do them some damage. We did that but then conceded another goal, and it was an uphill battle.

"But we did it.

"We threw on all the forwards to get a goal thank God Harry was in the right place at the right time, and a beautiful goal.

"We had a bit of luck on our side but I think we earned it today."

Teammate Tim Cahill, who scored twice to rescue Australia in its first Group F win against Japan, also praised Kewell.

"This is very special. Harry was very tired but he did it," Cahill said.

"We fought to the end. We are a family out there and we are very disciplined.

Whatever anyone throws at us, together we are stronger."

Everton star Cahill said the Socceroos now have nothing to lose against Italy, who they will play in Kaiserslautern - where it all started against Japan - for a place in the quarter-finals.

"We are confident. With each game we have shown what we are capable of," Cahill said.

The last 10 minutes ensured no nails survived, punctuated by Croatia peppering Australia's goal, which was so vulnerable after goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac had made an astonishing blunder to allow Croatia to take the lead for the second time on 56 minutes.

Croatia skipper Nico Kovac put in a speculative shot, scuffed it weakly, but Kalac showed no more resistance than a sheet of damp toilet paper as he somehow allowed the ball to get through him and into the back of the net.

From that point on, anything that went close to the Socceroos penalty area stopped green and gold hearts Down Under and in the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium in Stuttgart, because there was no telling what Kalac would do next.

The AC Milan goalkeeper was a shock inclusion in the side, coach Guus Hiddink dropping Mark Schwarzer to the bench for inexplicable reasons.

Hiddink, whose reputation as a coaching and tactical genius would have surely gone down the gurgler were it not for Kewell's late strike, was no doubt a relieved man when the final whistle went.

Darjio Srna had put Croatia ahead as early as the second minute with a brilliant free-kick after Viduka had fouled his counterpart Kovac on the edge of the box.

Kalac could no nothing about that strike, leaping to his right but getting nowhere near the ball as it travelled unhindered to the top corner and into the net.

But Australia was thrown a lifeline when referee Graham Poll awarded a penalty in the 38th minute after a blatant handball from Stjepan Tomas when jumping with Tim Cahill to reach a cross.

Former skipper Craig Moore took the spot kick - current captain Viduka having missed his past two - and belted it down the middle of Pletikosa's goal as the keeper dived to his left, breathing new life into the Socceroos.

It stayed 1-1 at half-time, and Australia looked the better side as the second period got underway, but for all its industry, it created few chances.

Kewell might have scored in the 70th minute when he sent a fierce drive towards goal, but Pletikosa got a solid stop on diving to his right and the ball was cleared behind by his defenders.

Bresciano, so impressive after his introduction, caused a fair amount of havoc, and Cahill and John Aloisi almost benefited when the went for a dangerous corner delivered by the bald-headed Parma man.

But Poll blew for a free-kick as the ball was in Pletikosa's hands.

It was about the last sensible decision Poll made as he completely lost control of the game in the dying minutes. He booked Brett Emerton for a handball - his second yellow turning red and ruling him out of the Italy game.

If that decision had been lineball, his next was bizarre. He booked Australian-born Croatia defender Josip Simunic for a second time, but didn't issue the red and Simunic stayed on the field.

Before the end of the match, Simunic put in another bad challenge and was booked a third time, and Poll's short-term memory didn't fail him that time and he issued the red - after a third yellow to the defender - before mercifully blowing the final whistle.

Croatia's Dario Simic had also been sent off prior to that little drama for a second bookable offence, and Poll will have to answer to FIFA for his display of mild insanity as the game came to an end.
<hr size="1">
CROATIA 2 (Srna 2min; Kovac 56)
AUSTRALIA 2 (Moore 38 pen; Kewell 79)
Referee: Graham Poll (Eng)
Crowd: 52,000 at Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium, Stuttgart.

CROATIA: Stipe Pletikosa; Josip Simunic, Dario Simic, Stjepan Tomas (Ivan Klasnic 83); Marko Babic, Niko Kovac (captain), Igor Tudor, Darijo Srna; Nico Kranjcar (Jerko Leko 65); Ivica Olic (Luka Modric 74), Dado Prso.
AUSTRALIA: Zeljko Kalac; Scott Chipperfield (Josh Kennedy 75), Lucas Neill, Craig Moore; Jason Culina, Mile Sterjovski (Marco Bresciano 71), Vince Grella (John Aloisi 63), Brett Emerton; Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell; Mark Viduka (captain).


FOX SPORTS

Mr-Cricket
June 23, 2006, 09:00 AM
<table class="tablehead" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1" width="100%"><tbody><tr class="stathead"> <td colspan="9">Group F</td></tr> <tr class="colhead" align="right"> <td width="36%"></td> <td width="8%">GP</td> <td width="8%">W</td> <td width="8%">D</td> <td width="8%">L</td> <td width="8%">GS</td> <td width="8%">GA</td> <td width="8%">GD</td> <td width="8%">P</td></tr> <tr align="right" bgcolor="#b8dba6"> <td align="left">Brazil (http://www.banglacricket.com/team?id=205&cc=3436)</td> <td>3</td> <td>3</td> <td>0</td> <td>0</td> <td>7</td> <td>1</td> <td>6</td> <td>9</td></tr> <tr align="right" bgcolor="#d6ebcc"> <td align="left">Australia (http://www.banglacricket.com/team?id=628&cc=3436)</td> <td>3</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>5</td> <td>5</td> <td>0</td> <td>4</td></tr> <tr class="oddrow" align="right"> <td align="left">Croatia (http://www.banglacricket.com/team?id=477&cc=3436)</td> <td>3</td> <td>0</td> <td>2</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>3</td> <td>-1</td> <td>2</td></tr> <tr class="evenrow" align="right"> <td align="left">Japan (http://www.banglacricket.com/team?id=627&cc=3436)</td> <td>3</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>2</td> <td>7</td> <td>-5</td> <td>1</td></tr></tbody></table>

Mr-Cricket
June 23, 2006, 09:07 AM
World Cup Round of Sixteen

<!-- end pagetitle -->June 26, 2006
Fritz-Walter Stadion
Italy v Australia

June 27, 2006
Signal Iduna Park
Brazil v Ghana

Mr-Cricket
June 24, 2006, 03:49 AM
Personally, I have been horrified by the standard of officiating in all Australia games, to date, in this World Cup. It started about a week before the World Cup even begun, with Japan coach Zico, and Brazil coach Carlos Periera pleading with officials to protect it's players against "overphysical" Australian players. Players of both sides also expressed concerns.

This in effect conditioned referees decisions/opinions before they even took the field. That is, instead of awarding a foul when one is commited, referees were subconsciously awarding fouls before one had even occured.

I'm not only distressed by decisions that have gone against the Australians (and there have been plenty), but the standard in general. The following are some reactions to the refereeing by other respected members of this forum. Clearly others have been affected too. I have included some extracts from Fox Sports to illustrate my frustrations.

the refeering was simply horrible.....this is the worst refereeing i have ever seen...

viduka was grabbed and pulled down soon after the first goal in the penalty area, the ref just ignored it....
the croatian number 3 got like 3 yellows in the match and he is still playing.......

our biggest opponents is not croatia, italy or brazil, but the FIFA refs...everytime the soccrooos go onto the field, the ref and thier yellows are bigger worry these days than opponent strikers.......and i dont blame kewell for mouthing off at the refs....if i were him, i would spare my voice and nail a punch in the nazi refs face...

i hope FIFA does something about this......their bull$hit refereeing nearly put australia out of world cup not once but twice...in the match against japan, aussies had to bloody spend the entire game trying to equalise the goal that never should have happened in first place.....had viduka been given the penalty for that horrendous tackle, would probably have 3-2 score.......and as far as i am concerned, a hard working team like australia doesnt deserve this unjust treatment...

i didnt say everyone is against australia, what i said was that refs decisions seem to go against australia all the time starting from game 1 against japan....

i dont have to go into details but if you have watched all the australia matches, you would know what i am talking about......particularly the match against brazil where australia had 21 fouls compared to brazils 7....a

so therefore i think i have a very good reason to complain about ref's anti-australian stance...

this game agianst croatia left me disgusted.....World cup refereeing has sunk to its lowest level.....i reckon our referees from our local club matches (abahoni nd mohamaddan) can do a better job than these damned idiots...

australia my have survived against croatia and japan, but as we go up the ladder our opponents are are mostly from rank 1-8......so i dont see how we can survive this WC if this nonsense continues to stay on...
I thought Australia does play a little rough. The refs have tarnished this world cup a little bit and some of the decisions have favored the stronger sides.

On the other hand, that was one mean (very late and looked intentional) tackle by the Aussie defender on Ronaldo the other day. It left a mark on Ronaldo's calf muscle. It's stupid (and dangerous) plays like those that make the refs do what they do.
On one hand I agree that Australia have suffered poor refereeing decisions on at least 3-4 occasions this World Cup.

On the other hand some Aussie players are extremly rough and just jump into challenges oblivious of whether someones leg will break or not.

By far the WORST referring i hv ever seen in my entire life...
2 penalites not given, and a world's first... 3 YELLOW CARDS to a Croatian player..
well..what u expect out of a pommy referre but to make a blunder ... i bet that guy has officiated his last wc game...

Aussies would have protested loss (extract)
From Guy Hand Oehringen, Germany
June 24, 2006

"The Socceroos have now advanced to the second round despite enduring three controversial refereeing displays at the World Cup.

First Egyptian referee Essam Abd El Fatah allowed Japan a goal when others might have called back the play for a debateable foul on goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Over-officious German referee Markus Merk then hammered the Socceroos with 25 fouls to nine against Brazil before Poll plumbed new depths, waving away two possible Australia penalties prior to Simunic's card fiasco."

English referee Graham Poll's error in not sending Croatia defender Joe Simunic off automatically for a second yellow card, allowing him to remain on the field undetected for the final seven minutes of the dramatic 2-2 draw that saw Australia through to the second round, nearly had dire consequences for the Socceroos.


AAP

<hr size="1">
Poll labelled 'Three Card Thick' (extract)
June 23, 2006

IT was not only Australians ripping their hair out over referee Graham Poll's bungling display, his country's own media have torn shreds off the whistleblower.

The English premier league referee had been praised before the clash because he was expected to hand the Socceroos a "fairer" deal because of his involvement with so many of the players at club level.

However 90 minutes later his reputation had gone down the gurgler and his chances of officiating another match at the World Cup seemingly gone.

It was described "as one of the most error-strewn in the tournament's history" by The Guardian.

"The English official Graham Poll seemed to be overwhelmed by a frenetic contest that has deservedly borne Australia off to a last 16 match," it said.

"Poll will wish he could forget all about the entire night."

Among Poll's other blues were missing Viduka being manhandled in the penalty area by Simunic early in the match and Croatia defender Stjepan's Tomas's blatant handball in the second half in the penalty area.

To top his horrid display, Poll blew the final whistle just as the winning goal was going in.

Tim Cahill was already running away in celebration when the goal was ruled out.

AAP

Mr-Cricket
June 24, 2006, 03:50 AM
I thought Australia does play a little rough. The refs have tarnished this world cup a little bit and some of the decisions have favored the stronger sides.

On the other hand, that was one mean (very late and looked intentional) tackle by the Aussie defender on Ronaldo the other day. It left a mark on Ronaldo's calf muscle. It's stupid (and dangerous) plays like those that make the refs do what they do.
On one hand I agree that Australia have suffered poor refereeing decisions on at least 3-4 occasions this World Cup.

On the other hand some Aussie players are extremly rough and just jump into challenges oblivious of whether someones leg will break or not.
"Vince Grella has also survived after a couple of poor tackles, not least a potential leg breaker on Ronaldo in the Brazil game that might have seen him sent off on any other occasion." Fox Sports

Vince Grella is an uncomprimising, gritty but highly skilled midfielder that plays in the Serie A for Parma. Make no mistake. He is a hard-man. He is Australia's hard-man. And every team has one. No one likes them, because they are, at times, "over-physical". But make no mistake. He is no Roy Keane. He does not go out on to the field to intentionally injure opposition players. Call it what you will, dangerous, clumsy, but the tackle against Ronaldo was by no means intentional. He is not the first, and god help us, he will not be the last to commit such a foul. They are a part of the game, and more often than not, are duly punished by the referees. Poor refereeing was to blame for this tackle being left unpunished.

Mr-Cricket
June 26, 2006, 05:02 AM
Guilt of the innocent
By Paul Kent
June 26, 2006

THIS was my bad dream last night. Sources within the FIFA executive revealed that Australia has no chance against Italy.

There was too much at stake. It was only two weeks ago that they discovered that it wasn't Austria in Group F but a colony of brutal brickies' labourers located somewhere south of the Cook Islands.

This, according to Japan's coach, Brazil legend Zico, was a bunch of Neanderthals, not even from Europe or South America, who would flood the pristine turf with the blood of their butchered victims.

Immediately a select band of histrionic incompetents and stooges was called in to referee these savages out of the World Cup as soon as possible.

Against Japan we had an Egyptian gentleman who allowed a goal after our goalie Mark Schwarzer had been felled so blatantly that even Barry Hall would have got a free kick.

Against Brazil we copped Fritz Nerk (Fred's German cousin), who was so biased in protecting the helpless little Brazilian choirboys that, as psychiatrists and Interpol agents tried clambering the fence to get at him, Harry Kewell was forced to give him a severe lecture.

Then, against Croatia, we had an English comedian named Graham Poll, who could have been Ronnie Barker, even though Ronnie is deceased.

Well maybe it was Ronnie, because who else could have put together an act in which the Croatians were allowed to punch the ball away better than Leo Barry, drag Mark Viduka down in the box better than any Wallaby, allow a Croatian player to shove him in the chest without issuing a card, give another Croatian three yellows cards without sending him off, and give Brett Emerton a yellow for deliberate handball after the ball had been kicked into his shoulder like a rocket from three metres away - thus ensuring that he will miss the Italy knockout round.

But none of this was good enough. Boss Sepp Blatter's stockbroker phoned in and warned him that if these hackers were allowed to roll over the Azzurri his stocks in International Gel Inc. would go through the floor.

And these hairy antipodean brutes would start poncing around their hotels like tarted-up gorillas in Versace suits and Gucci loafers and their goalie would be carrying an Ermenigildo Zegna manbag on to the pitch.

So posses of FIFA operatives were - apart from large tracts of South America where the Italians are not loved - scouring the world's nursing homes for optically-challenged and demented retired referees to put the issue beyond doubt.

The optical problems had to include a rage-inducing aversion to bright gold and the soothing effects on the damaged psyche of azure. But the cane must be left in the dressing room to avoid suspicion.

The right candidate had to be legally blind but still able to distinguish the bulky figure of Viduka, especially when he was standing and waiting to bring the ball on to his chest so he could off-load it.

There would very likely be situations when, as he was doing this, he would be under attack from behind - kneed in the kidneys, elbowed behind the ear, and kicked in the calves and Achilles tendons. Hell, there could even be chainsaws and sledgehammers involved.

The instinctive reaction should be to blow a foul. Against Viduka for illegal parking.
Also, given the Croatian precedent, any disgruntled Italian player should be allowed to lay on hands. What's a body slam or a back-breaker between friends in a crisis like this?

If, mistakenly, he blew a free kick for Australia he would just have to cop it. After all, there would be at least six former Miss Italys in the limo to the stadium - even though with his eyesight we could save on six Tongan transvestites.

On the eve of the vital contest, a meeting would be arranged with Guus Hiddink at the Socceroos' hotel bar. Guus might get a shock - the guy could be a dead ringer for the "history" character in the Nike Joga Bonito commercials.

The old guy, if he could see Guus' ear, would whisper in it that he was his greatest fan. He had been watching SBS and reading the Australian papers and knew that Mr Hiddink was the greatest genius and master tactician in the history of the world game.

Therefore he should stick to his brilliant strategies and not be put off by the odd fool back home who dared to question him.

Of course Zeljko Kalac must be retained in goal. A good soldier like Zeljko must be forgiven the odd glitch. And Schwarzer had been hogging all the penalty saves lately.

And under no circumstances must Harry Kewell be allowed to operate down the left side - that goal against Croatia from near the left post was a mere fluke.

Anybody would think that just because he was left-footed and had scored some sizzling goals in the Premier League he should be allowed to wander anywhere he liked.

Who was in charge Mr Hiddink? You are sir! Another brandy?

And, of course, known scorers such as Marco Bresciano, John Aloisi, and Josh Kennedy must not be brought on until Italy were at least 3-0 up.

And heaven forbid that Stan Lazaridis get a run and introduce some havoc down the left flank after we had gone to so much trouble to get rid of Emerton on the right.

OK, that should all be clear now, sir. Now come on say it again. You will need it on the pitch to encourage the Italians if there is an outbreak of moaning.

It's not that hard. Take out your whistle first. "Forza Italia" not "freezer Amelia". Stop your dribbling. That's for the Australian players, you old goat.


The Daily Telegraph

Mr-Cricket
June 26, 2006, 05:06 AM
Humourous little article, that.

Although you'll probably only appreciate it if your an Aussie.

Go Socceroos!!

Ejaj
June 26, 2006, 05:56 AM
What a crap!.. Only an Aussie can enjoy such article. There is a limit of whining.. and the above article crosses that limit. Pathetic!!

Mr-Cricket
June 26, 2006, 06:16 AM
What a crap!.. Only an Aussie can enjoy such article. There is a limit of whining.. and the above article crosses that limit. Pathetic!!
Mate, you just proved my point - that only an Aussie will appreciate the humor in the article, lol.

The writer isn't even remotely serious. He's actually taking the piss out of everyone, including our own team.

Anyways, I got a laugh out of it. :up:

Ejaj
June 26, 2006, 09:31 AM
Mate, you just proved my point - that only an Aussie will appreciate the humor in the article, lol.

The writer isn't even remotely serious. He's actually taking the piss out of everyone, including our own team.

Anyways, I got a laugh out of it. :up:
Glad that you could enjoy the article. Just wondering, why the hell Aussies are making such a big fuss about their world cup performance. So far, I wont say that they played bad, but they didnt play any sort of quality game too. I remember, back in 2002 world cup, Turkey was playing good football and reached semifinal, All the turks here in Germany were just too much in talk talk talk mode. They were making team Turkey like the best ever team played on earth and then, there were whining too about Ref's bad decision against Brazil. Even Germany who played in the fianl, didnt make such noises as these Turkey ppl did. I clearly see a similar resembles this time with Aussies. They are good team but, yet not that good enough to shout. And, Probably, will see same fate like what happend to Turkey for 2006 world cup qualifier... They failed.

Just as a note, Ausssies are master in Cricket world. They are liek Brazil in Football. Did you ever see they make any fuss about such incidents in cricket?,. India and England are the teams who do the whining and blaming thing.. b ut , never Aussies. So, its more logical that ppl can get irritated by this crap stuff.

tiger_man
June 26, 2006, 12:51 PM
So I guess here we say good-bye to a wonderful episode of socceroos and Hiddinks....i doubt socceroos will ever be in such peak.....


Good job refs, you just proved that your decisions arent worth 5 cents of what FIFA or whoever pays you your salaries.

Ubiquitous
June 26, 2006, 01:25 PM
That was sad, sad, sad. The Aussies deserved to win hands down, and the Italians should have gone home. That decision at the end was just appaling...

allrounder
June 26, 2006, 01:29 PM
That was sad, sad, sad. The Aussies deserved to win hands down, and the Italians should have gone home. That decision at the end was just appaling...

from what angle did the aussies deserved to win ? Italians were attacking more than the Aussies with 1 less man and had more shots and chances of scoring than the aussies.

Rabz
June 26, 2006, 02:04 PM
What a crap!.. Only an Aussie can enjoy such article. There is a limit of whining.. and the above article crosses that limit. Pathetic!!

mate.. dont get so an*l.. no one asked you to laugh with the joke..
take a chill pill...

to understand .. u also hv to understand the aussie culture..which i guess u dont hv clues worth two cents... and pls dont tell me u do..by braggin about ur brash with few drunken aussie tourist down in Hamburg...

so what ?? just becuase the up-tight Germans didnt make a fuss bout their team doesnt mean the whole world would hv to shut their mouth as well...

may be u can come here at down under and learn how to appreaciate and enjoy life... exchange some sunny beautiful weather instead of almost-yr-long-blistering-snowy-cold-winter of Bavaria.. no wonder u sound so constipated...

why so fuss bout the soccer? cuz..if u dont know..which i assume u dont...
soccer is not one of the top ranking sports in the australian sporting calendar..but still they made it to its greatest show and doing reasonably good to send the whole nation into soccer frenzy... that reason is worth celebrating for, and to be cherished... and to be made some noisy-fuss.. when they are robbed and made to loose the game delibarately...

Rabz
June 26, 2006, 02:06 PM
from what angle did the aussies deserved to win ? Italians were attacking more than the Aussies with 1 less man and had more shots and chances of scoring than the aussies.

they also didnt deserve to loose that way either...

Mr-Cricket
June 26, 2006, 04:51 PM
It's 8am.

I'm shattered.

Although I am bitterly dissapointed with the eventual result, ultimately, I am very proud of our boys for putting up such a gallant performance. The meteoric rise of the Socceroos has been a pleasure to witness over the last year or so, ever since Guus Hiddink took over the reins. God bless the man, and I wish him luck in his future endeavours with the Russian team. Ultimately, with a man up, we should have done better to first score, then close out the game. It's quite obvious that we lacked that killer instinct at times, but I guess this will come with experience. Quickly, clear bookable offence. Under the laws of the game, two footed studs up tackle is a straight red, although, on this occasion, most other referees may have just stuck with the yellow. And although at first I agreed with the foul against Neil in the 93rd minute, in retrospect, I'm not so sure.The Italian's are a class outfit, but I can't say outright that they deserved to win this game. Far from it. We had our chances, just as they had theirs. And this is what makes the result all the more difficult to swallow.

Mr-Cricket
June 26, 2006, 05:59 PM
Glad that you could enjoy the article. Just wondering, why the hell Aussies are making such a big fuss about their world cup performance. So far, I wont say that they played bad, but they didnt play any sort of quality game too. I remember, back in 2002 world cup, Turkey was playing good football and reached semifinal, All the turks here in Germany were just too much in talk talk talk mode. They were making team Turkey like the best ever team played on earth and then, there were whining too about Ref's bad decision against Brazil. Even Germany who played in the fianl, didnt make such noises as these Turkey ppl did. I clearly see a similar resembles this time with Aussies. They are good team but, yet not that good enough to shout. And, Probably, will see same fate like what happend to Turkey for 2006 world cup qualifier... They failed.

Just as a note, Ausssies are master in Cricket world. They are liek Brazil in Football. Did you ever see they make any fuss about such incidents in cricket?,. India and England are the teams who do the whining and blaming thing.. b ut , never Aussies. So, its more logical that ppl can get irritated by this crap stuff. Look, there are plenty of flaws in your post, and even though the Aussie's lost, I'm still not really in the mood to start a verbal war. The defeat has also taken its toll I must admit. For my views on the 'winging' situation, refer to posts 170 and 171 in this thread. And for a greater understanding of Australia's history, refer to post 650 in the Tournament Thread. And just quickly, the Australian Cricket team and the Australian Soccer team is not one and the same. Far from it. If you want to draw parallels, do so between the Australian Soccer and Bangladeshi Cricket teams.

Cheers.

tiger_man
June 26, 2006, 09:45 PM
Look, there are plenty of flaws in your post, and even though the Aussie's lost, I'm still not really in the mood to start a verbal war. The defeat has also taken its toll I must admit. For my views on the 'winging' situation, refer to posts 170 and 171 in this thread. And for a greater understanding of Australia's history, refer to post 650 in the Tournament Thread. And just quickly, the Australian Cricket team and the Australian Soccer team is not one and the same. Far from it. If you want to draw parallels, do so between the Australian Soccer and Bangladeshi Cricket teams.

Cheers.

this ejaj reminds me of History character in NIke's Joga Bonito ad they show in SBS here.

Ejaj
June 27, 2006, 01:09 AM
Sorry for being bit harsh on u guys. I have my utter most sympathy for ur Aussies. I just wanted u guys not to whine so much abt refs and the outcome of matches. Sincerely I wouldnt even do so if same things happen against BD In cricket. I never do that and U can look for all my posts to justify this, if u have time for that. Wrong decisions are part of the game and it should be taken as such. Against Italy, there was a very harsh decision to sent off one italian defender and u guys dont even talk about that. Whatever happend to that last minute situation, if earlier one was a foul , serious enough to give a red card to the italian, then, i dont see any reason why it shouldnt be a foul , serious enough to give a penalty. Anyway.. never mind. I am really sorry for past behaviour and I hope , this stupid verbal argument is over. I do assure u my sincere appology.

I am not an Aussie nor a German. I am a plain Bangladeshi and I made my points because of what I am. Sorry, if that hurts u. I am a supporter of Brazil and trust me, I will not even make any big fuss if any wrong decision such as one against Aussies at the last minute happens against Brazil. I just alaways take it as a part of the game. If I do make posts, I normally tend to criticise the tactics of my own team. So, no hard feeling and again sorry for whatever I wrote before. If possible, I request the Mod's action to delete my post. That was really a very stupid thing I wrote ( what the hell i was doing while writing that one!!!!!.. I dont rem-)

Chao

Rabz
June 27, 2006, 01:42 AM
Ejaj, its all good mate...
this arguments are also part of the game..cuz we all have our different point of view...
take it easy

Cheers

Mr-Cricket
June 27, 2006, 01:51 AM
Ejaj, I agree with Sydney's sentiments. No sports fan will ever see eye to eye on every issue. So in that sense, I don't expect everyone to agree with everything a blind Aussie supporter says. What you, and some others said, in itself, wasn't actually all that bad, and personally, I didn't take huge offence to it. But it was more the timing, in the hours immediately following such a heartbreaking (and I thought at least in some part undeserved) exit from the World Cup. And to a penalty in the 93rd minute too. That said, we're all mature adults here, and should be able to cop decisions/results on the chin and live with it. As I have here. But unfortunately, too, this doesn't always happen, either. And so in that sense, I also apologise for our past grieveances with the referees and the such. But I am in no way accepting their decisions, either. :up:

sadi
June 27, 2006, 08:59 AM
And they post happily ever after!!! :)

Ejaj
June 27, 2006, 01:24 PM
It was a much better performance from brazil today, though, not the best. I still expect much more from them. The score really doesnt show how much blind goals had been missed. The score line could easily be 6-0. Ronaldo had been surprising me for last two matches and Adriano.. is really dissappointing. He should have passed that ball to ronaldo. It was a pathetic selfish act. I really hope, Robinho replaces Adriano from next match. Also, I want Gilberto silva in place of Roberto carlos and Juninho in place of slow pathetic Emerson. Emerson is now the worst player in the team (Ronaldo luckly escaped). The game improved so much after Emerson got changed by Gilberto silva. I will be really mad if I see emerson in the starting eleven in the next match too. Its just soo annoying.

Btw, the ever unreliable defence played excellent today. Specially Lucio. Both the center backs didnt do much fancy stupid things today. I was really relieved.

Sam
June 27, 2006, 08:07 PM
Hi guys, I was reading all the post of this thread and could visualize the attack and counter attack, similar to that in the football match. Off course, I can understand the heartbreaking event for the Aussie fans at the 93rd minute. However, I am quoting here a neutral analysis of that match by one of the esteemed member of the FIFA Technical Study Group:

TSG analysis by Alvin CORNEAL (TRI)
Football was the big winner in a game that had all that is best about the world’s favourite sport. It was a match of contrasting footballing philosophies that pitted the hard-running and hard-tackling Australians against the sophisticated and experienced Italians.

The Socceroos impressed with their collective play and enjoyed the advantage in several areas of the field, although they were never able to convert this into clear-cut scoring opportunities. They also had the lion’s share of possession, especially after the sending-off of Marco Materazzi. For their part, the Azzurri demonstrated their traditional strengths. In addition to a highly organised defence, their individual technical skill again shone out. <TABLE align=right><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
The match began cautiously but soon burst into life. The ‘Aussies’ were visibly superior, although the better scoring opportunities went to Marcello Lippi’s side, with five clear-cut chances in the first half alone. Though Australia gave their all, it quickly became apparent that they lacked the individual technical proficiency of the Italians.
Following the red card, coach Lippi demonstrated that he is a master of his trade. He made decisive substitutions, changed his team’s tactics and posed the Australians problems that they were unable to solve. His faultless strategy formed the basis for Italy’s eventual victory.
A further crucial factor was the form of Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The 28-year-old exuded remarkable composure, made no mistakes and nipped a number of potential Australian chances in the bud. That the Italian goal remained impregnable throughout was down in no small measure to the Juventus shot-stopper, and it was a logical decision to choose the 1.90m-keeper as the Budweiser Man of the Match.
Overall the Azzurri were deserved winners. Although at a numerical disadvantage they followed their tactical game to perfection and created the crucial breakthrough with the penalty award. In this nerve-wracking situation Francesco Totti kept his head and scored the winning goal. Italy thus won through to the quarter-finals thanks to a masterful tactical performance by coach Lippi. But Australia can go home with their heads high. They had a great tournament and can be proud of both their performances in Germany and their terrific fans.

'Tactical masterstroke by Marcello Lippi' (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/060626/1/8b34.html)

I think, none of you have any hard feelings now.

Mr-Cricket
June 28, 2006, 01:15 AM
Lucas heights have no limits
From Guy Hand in Oehringen, Germany
June 28, 2006

AUSTRALIA defender Lucas Neill and midfield player Brett Emerton have earned themselves prime spots in world football's biggest shop window after impressing at the World Cup.

<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="170"> <tbody><tr> <td align="center"> http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,5177020,00.jpgRock ... Neill was superb in Germany. Pic: Agence France-Presse
</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#ffffff" height="10">
</td> </tr> </tbody></table> Neill, Australia's best player at the tournament despite conceding the dubious penalty against Italy that ended it all, is being chased by several clubs, including European champion Barcelona.

Italian press reports have linked Emerton with Serie A giant AC Milan, though the club is facing an uncertain future after being implicated in that country's match-fixing scandal.

Several other Socceroos - including Parma midfielders Vince Grella and Marco Bresciano and Bristol City's Luke Wilkshire - could also find themselves on bigger clubs' shopping lists.

Wilkshire, the 24-year-old midfield player who plays several rungs below most players at the World Cup in England's third-tier League One, impressed against Italy's Serie A stars in the 1-0 loss yesterday.

He didn't look overawed, and with Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink and assistant Graham Arnold's glowing endorsement of his talents during the tournament must surely loom as a bargain buy for someone looking for a hard-working versatile player.

But 28-year-old Neill is the most sought-after Socceroos star after shining in all four Australia matches.

He has been offered a new four-year deal by his current English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers when he returns home.

With one year remaining on his current contract, Neill would appear more likely to move elsewhere, particularly if the Spanish giant comes calling.

"It has been said he could be good enough for Barcelona," his agent Peter Harrison said.

"There is an offer on the table from Blackburn, but we haven't discussed it yet.

"We will look at it when he gets back from Germany."

Also looking for a new home is Socceroos veteran Stan Lazaridis, who has been released by Birmingham City and is looking to return to Australia's A-League.

Perth Glory and Adelaide United are the two clubs chasing his signature.


AAP

Mr-Cricket
June 28, 2006, 01:21 AM
I think, none of you have any hard feelings now.
I think I've recovered sufficiently to provide an Australian's view on the match in question.

Sam, thanks for that article, it gave an interesting insight into a neutrals views on the game.

Unfortunately, the writer failed to cover a few points.

Firstly, no one disputes that Italy had the lions share of chances, particularly in the first half. And the fact is, no one expected any different. But what no one expected was that Australia would dominate possesion for the entire match (I'm talking 60-40 for the entire game, including the first half), and would finish the game, in the 93rd minute, having made only the one subsitution. Think about that. Italy had used all of its subsitutions by the 75th minute, however, Australia, in the 81st minute, made it's first and only substitution - that of John Aloisi for Mile Sterjovski.

So on that, had the match reached extra time, as it should have (looking back, it was clearly not a penalty), and mind you, there was only 10 seconds remaining in the game, the Australian's still had two substututions up its sleeves. The least Australia deserved was to take the game into extra time, and from there, anything could have happened. Notice no one actually said - 'Australia deserved to win the game'. That would have been silly. But make no mistake, if the match was taken into extra time, inexperience aside, Australia should have won the game - with a man up, and with two subsitutions in hand.

For those disputing the red card, while I won't say it was deserved, I will say that under the laws of the game, any player that goes in with a two footed, studs up tackle, may be awarded a red card. Just think back to Theirry Henry's tackle in France's opening game of the last World Cup. So while another referee may have chosen to award a yellow card for this challenge, on this occaion, there was still no injustice in the ultimate decision. However, there was an injustice in the awarding of a penalty, just 10 seconds from time, for a 'clumsy challenge', at best (there was no contact between players and the tackle in itself should not have consituted a foul).

All in all, I am very proud of the boys, for all the hard work they've put in, and all the results they've achieved, over the past 8-10 months. To hold Italy to 0-0, until the last 10 seconds of a competitive match, without Harry Kewell and without Brett Emerton (keeping in mind weaker teams don't have much depth) is a phenomenal achievement in itself. But to think that Australia, having never scored in a World Cup prior to this one, scored 3 times in the last 10 minutes to defeat Japan 3-1, held off the Brazilians 1-0 until the 90th minute, having had 3-4 golden opportunities to equalise in the 2nd half, and came from behind, twice, against the Croatians, to book a place in the 2nd Round against the Italians - it blows the mind.

Thanks for the ride Australia.

I enjoyed every second of it.

Sovik
June 28, 2006, 04:51 PM
Poor australia, got poor decisions from the referees.