Monday, June 14, 2010

Germany 4 d Australia 0, World Cup Group D game, Durban

Australia's realistic best hope against one of the Cup favourites was a draw. The Germans are a certainty to top the group of four countries, so to finish 2nd Australia needed to perform better against Germany than either Serbia or Ghana manage to. Serbia play Germany on June 18, then Ghana play them on June 24. Perhaps Ghana might go to pieces and concede 4 or more? It's a slim hope.

Anyway - to this morning's game. Australia started with an odd lineup, nothing like the formation they had brought through the warm-up games. Tim Cahill was up front with the inexperienced Richard Garcia beside him. Cahill is a goal-scoring midfielder usually, rather than a striker. Most of the talk post-match concerned why Pim Verbeek set them up this way.

We started brightly, with a sustained period in attack, and Garcia could have scored after 4 minutes with an ounce of luck, from a quick cross that pinballed around in the box. The Germans defused it, and started to impose themselves. After about 25 minutes an attack down the right resulted in a delightful cross cut back to Lukas Podolski, unmarked on the left. His first-time shot was all class, and too powerful for Mark Schwarzer to keep out with one paw.

Pretty soon after a high looping pass looked like it was going to be cleared by Schwarzer, but Miroslav Klose got his head there a moment earlier, and scored the second.

Verbeek swapped Vinnie Grella for Brett Holman at half-time, an attacking change. Holman had a couple of good opportunities and did some smart things for no result. He might be a starter in the next match.

Tim Cahill made a poor tackle, and tried to pull out of it, but was given a straight red card. He may have been a bit unlucky but sometimes clumsiness gets punished in football - eg Lucas Neill flopping in front of Fabio Grosso 4 years ago and conceding a penalty. So we will play Ghana without our only real scoring option, as Cahill now has a one match ban.

Once we were down to ten men, the Germans found space more easily and added two more beautifully taken goals. The four goals were all lovely clean strikes by different players. They will know that that was probably their easiest game of the tournament, but still their confidence must now be at an all-time high.

No comments: