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Australia hopes….but doesn’t expect

In recent years it has been exciting to watch Australia come to prominence in football.   I’ve never known this country as ecstatic as it was on reaching the second round last time.   Finally, after years of administrative haggling, football finally had the profile it deserves.   It also brought the realisation that football, and the World Cup in particular, provided a stage bigger than anything previously experienced.  

This is my home and a place I love dearly so while I can’t quite say I support Australia I do honestly wish them well.  Until they play England anyway!   A good campaign for the national team is good for the game here which, obviously, is good for any football fan.   Each time I walk through my beloved Brisbane the profile of the World Cup is growing. Shopfronts proudly displaying the green and gold and bars advertising live TV showings are more prominent each day.  How many are prepared to stay open until 4.30am to show some matches remains to be seen!!

Anything Australia achieve in South Africa, and contrary to some peoples views I think they have a good chance of reaching the second round, is almost entirely based on a rigid formation.  You can’t outplay them BUT you can outnumber them. Squeezing the opposition in the middle of the pitch and narrowing angles will stifle opposition creativity and help to get on top of them and grind them down. Another advantage of this is the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid. If in doubt kick it out.  There will be little scope to make a tactical blunder.   In the build up the media attention is largely focussed on Harry Kewell and will he be ready for the Germans on Monday morning.   It’d actually make more sense not to play him in that.  Why risk another breakdown in a game where Australia will likely be beaten anyway?  The extra days would mean he’s much closer to full fitness when the more realistic goal of beating Ghana arrives on Saturday night.   It’s crucial to use the whole squad and everyone plays a role in a healthy campaign.   But a big injury to Tim Cahill would make a serious dent in the hopes.   He’s crucial.
So next Monday morning at 4.30 it’ll be interesting to see footballs true believers out in force.    And it’s a public holiday so everyone can catch up on much needed sleep afterwards!!
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