Australian football travels well internationally
Olyroos manage a 3-0 win against Yemen, the Joey’s beat Ivory Coast 2-1 and the Matildas are about ready to begin their finals campaign in Brazil
International duties continued this week with the Joeys kicking off at the U17 World Cup in Mexico, the Olyroos beginning their London 2012 Olympics campaign in Gosford, and the Matildas warming up for the Women's World Cup in Germany.
The women's team played Mexico in Gottingen as part of their preparations for the World Cup and discovered they still needed to do some work on defence when they found themselves 2-0 down just after the half-hour when the Mexicans scored two goals in three minutes. However, goals from Sally Shipard, Lauren Colthorpe and Kyah Simon had the Aussies back in the lead with over 25 minutes to go. The Matildas begin their finals campaign against Brazil on 30 June (live on SBS at 2.15 am).
Back in Australia, the Olyroos were comfortable 3-0 winners in the first of two 'home' legs against Yemen (who are unable to host a game due to political unrest at home). Two goals from Melbourne Heart forward Jason Hoffman and a Mitch Nichols strike (set up by Hoffman) sealed a comfortable win for the U23s. The win could have been even more impressive, with Oliver Bozanic and Aaron Mooy both firing shots against the bar. In Guadalajara, Mexico, Jan Versleigen's teenagers began their challenge to bring home the World Cup with a gutsy come-from-behind win against the Ivory Coast. The Africans took the lead mid-way through the first half with a fine strike after an error in the Aussie defence, and they had Australia on the back foot for long spells in the first period.
The Joeys second half performance was well above the level of the first and it took only six minutes to get back on level terms. Greek boys Jesse Makarounas and Dylan Tombides linking up with a neat one-two before Makarounas brilliantly chipped the 'keeper from outside the box. The Ivorians controlled possession for long periods without causing too many problems for Australia, with the Joeys opting to play a counter-attacking game which paid off in the 77th minute. Teeboy Russell raced forward with the ball but lost control, Jacob Melling blocked the attempted clearance, and the ball fell to Tombides who turned away from the defence and fired home at the near post. It was a smash-and-grab performance with the African side having two thirds of the possession throughout the 90 minutes.
It's unlikely that the Joeys will be able to give next opponents, Brazil, as much possession and still come away with a win. In his post-match press conference Verselijen admitted that his side had failed to control the ball and had been holding on for their lives at the end. Singling out Tombides for praise. "Dylan has great skills, he is strong on the ball. He is technically good with his left and right foot. He is a key promising player." We look forward to continued good fortunes for all three national sides in the coming weeks.
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