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Discussion Starter #1
Anything on how Australia will go in Group F. Considering that "some" nations think we'll be easy beats. Like to discuss the Australian point of view for a change. How does our squad match up with the Croatian's and the Japanese. Don't really see any point discussing the brazilians, but do so if you please.
 

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I hope that Australia produce a really strong showing in the group phase, and perhaps with a bit of luck manage to get through as the second placed team.

The key I think is to get a good result in the first match against the Japanese. Anything less than a draw means curtains for us otherwise, and I will have to jump back on the Azzurri bandwagon!

Personally, I hope we rip the Cro's to shreads (and go back for more!) for domestic and family bragging rights :tongue:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
InterOz said:
I hope that Australia produce a really strong showing in the group phase, and perhaps with a bit of luck manage to get through as the second placed team.

The key I think is to get a good result in the first match against the Japanese. Anything less than a draw means curtains for us otherwise, and I will have to jump back on the Azzurri bandwagon!

Personally, I hope we rip the Cro's to shreads (and go back for more!) for domestic and family bragging rights :tongue:
Tell me about it. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I posted this in the Croatian forum earlier. They really didn't agree with it much because it didn't involve them flogging us. Sooo.. i was wanting to know what the Australians think.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Outside of Brazil's obvious superiority, you do get the impression that some people judge the other 3 teams on a somewhat superficial level. Either on their FIFA rankings, past form (or lack thereof), or by their knowledge of players from seeing them play at their clubs. Understandably. We can only make judgements with the info we have available to us, but I get the impression that quite often most people make sweeping generalisations without ever really seeing a team play. Not seeing them often, at the very least.

Or of course their own natural bias through allegiance.

Out of this group though, people have perhaps seen more of the teams than most, consdering both Australia and Japan were in the Confed Cup, which was widely screened the world over...and, well, how Brazil play and what they're capable of isn't exactly a well guarded secret.

In that sense it could be argued that globally, it is Croatia's current squad who most people have perhaps seen the least of to pass some kind of informed judgement, recently at least. Those more familiar with Euro qualifying and form probably are well placed to place Croatia in the pecking order.

But I'd just like to focus on Croatia and Australia, and try to compare in some type of objective fashion. Well, I'll try, with what I know of Croatia. Looking at the clubs and leagues players play in is a start, but not necessarily the be-all and end-all of a comparison. And indeed, some players play well at club level but not so well at NT level, and vice versa.

It's worth noting that for Croatia, since their disappointing Euro 2004 with Otto Baric, they have a new coach in Kranjcar who has brought in several younger players. And similarly, since Australia's Confed Cup, Frank Farina has been replaced with Guus Hiddink. Both teams are probably somewhat different to what many recall.

But there are a lot of similarities between these two teams as far as I can tell.

Croatia's NT is made up of the following players:

GK
Butina (Club Brugge, Belgium, but possibly transferring to Olympiakos?)

DEFENCE
Tomas (Galatasaray)
Robert Kovac (Juventus)
Simunic (Hertha Berlin)

MIDFIELD
Srna (Shaktar Donetsk)
Niko Kovac (Hertha Berlin)
Tudor (Sienna)
Babic (Bayer Leverkusen)
Kranjcar (Hajduk Split)

FORWARDS
Prso (Rangers)
Klasnic (Werder Bremen)

COMMONLY USED SUBS
Simic (Defender, AC Milan)
Da Silva (Striker, Dinamo Zagreb)
Vranjes (Midfielder, Bayer Leverkusen)
Olic (Striker, CSKA Moscow)
Pletikosa (Goalkeeper, on loan to Hajduk from Shaktar Donetsk)

Give or take a few debatables, it seems that Kranjcar's preferred lineup for Croatia is something like this;

-----------------Butina--------------------

--------Tomas--R. Kovac--Simunic-----------

---Srna-----Niko Kovac----Tudor-----Babic----

-----------------Kranjcar--------------------

---------------Prso---Klasnic/Olic----------------

Z.Kranjcar is a more attack minded coach than previous Croatian coaches. He prefers to play an extra man in midfield, and having a flexibility of switching between 3-5-2 and 4-3-1-2. Which, incidently, is very similar to what Guus Hiddink has shown he prefers with Australia, both teams will switch from 3 at the back to 4 at the back, mid game. If the opposition are running 2 strikers, Australia will generally use a back 3 to keep one spare man, and if they are running 1 striker we will switch to a back 4.

Australia's squad is comprised of;

GK
Mark Schwartzer (Middlesbrough...err, dunno where he is off too though)

DEFENCE
Lucas Neill (Blackburn, EPL)
Craig Moore (Newcastle, EPL)
Tony Vidmar (NAC Breda, Eredevisie)

MIDFIELD
Brett Emerton (Blackburn)
Marco Bresciano (Parma, Serie A)
Vince Grella (Parma, Serie A)
Tim Cahill (Everton, EPL)
Harry Kewell (Liverpool)
Jason Culina (PSV, under Hiddink)
Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel, Switzerland)

FORWARDS
Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough, EPL)
John Aloisi (Alaves, La Liga)

BENCH
Zeljko Kalac (GK - AC Milan)
Stan Lazaridis (Winback - Birmingham, EPL)
Josep Skoko (CM - Wigan, EPL)
Archie Thompson (Forward - PSV) or Scott Mcdonald (Motherwell, SPL)
Ahmad Elrich (Wingback - Fulham, EPL)
Tony Popovic (Defender - Crystal Palace)

In a 3-5-2, Australia would more than likely play;

-----------Schwartzer-------------

-----Neill-----Moore----Vidmar------

----------Culina---Grella-------------

Emerton---Bresciano---Cahill----Kewell

-------------Viduka----------------

For a back 4 we'd probably take out Vidmar and roll Emerton and Chipperfield to fullbacks.

-------------Schwartzer-------------

Emerton----Neill---Moore---Chipperfield

-Bresciano----Culina---Grella----Kewell-

-------------Cahill-------------------

----------------Viduka--------------

With Aloisi to patrner Dukes if we want two strikers.

When you look at the squads on paper, there is not much between them in terms of the quality of clubs and leagues they play for. It could actually be argued that Australia have it over Croatia in this regard, when you look at it in terms of the big 3 - 5 leagues in Europe. If you wanna agree that England, spain and Italy are the top 3 leagues in Europe (probably the world), with the next level being Holland, Germany and France, maybe to a degree Scotland...More than half the Croatian first X1 are from 2nd tier leagues, or worse. Belgium, Turkey, Scotland, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine. They have 2 players in Serie A and what, 3-4 in Germany.

In comparison Australia's first X1 has 7 from the EPL, 2 from the Serie A, 1 from Spain, and 2 from Holland. Half our bench is from the EPL and Holland too.

Yet ironically, Croatia has up to 14 players in their squad who, albeit not for very long and at the lower end, last season played UEFA Champions League football.

This Croatian team is a very different team to the one of their golden years in '98. The likes of Boban, Suker, Prosinecki...gone.

Prso, whilst probably not playing at the highest level for club, is a consistant performer at NT level and nets lots of goals for Croatia. Robert Kovac is probably one of the best man-markers around (although he is benchwarming at Juve), and Simunic and Tomas are very very capable defenders. Croatia have a very solid defence, perhaps comparible to the best teams in Europe as a unit.

Srna is a very skillfull, quick winger who is not afraid to work hard and defend. He is also very handy from set pieces.

Kranjcar, whilst playing in split, is very highly regarded by most Croats, although it seems widely agreed he has not yet performed to his potential for the Croat NT, and is regarded also as lazy. And Tudor is getting on a bit.

Klasnik is another one who hasn't really set the world on fire for the NT, and Olic is fairly ordinary.

The defence, Srna, Prso would be the standouts, IMO.

In comparison to Australia, Croatia's defence is no doubt better. There is probably not much between Prso and Viduka up front, although I would say that whilst Viduka's best club days are behind him, he is now really starting to ramp up his performances for Australia. I may be bias but I would rank John Aloisi as a more accomplished striker than Croatia's other options, regularly starting and netting in the Spanish La Liga. If you want to look at that superficially, I'd rate Alaves and the La Liga as a higher level of football than Werder Bremen and CSKA Moscow. I take nothing away from Werder Bremen, but that's just my opinion. Not much between them at best.

Australia's goalkeepers are probably better than Croatia's, and most Croats I know will openly admit that. Our 2nd choice is a reserve keeper at AC Milan. Croatia just snatched another Aussie born Croat keeper in Didulica, a guy who could not get to within 4th or 5th choice for Australia.

But now we get to the midfield, and sure, I may be bias, but those who suggest Croatia are in a different class to Australia need look no further than right here. Make no mistake, this is Australia's main strength. Quick, mobile, fit, very capable of attacking and scoring goals, and very capable of haranging other opposition midfields. They completely dominated Uruguay in both legs of the playoff, for much of the match.

Vince Grella: He plays in a central defensive holding role, shielding the defence. He has been playing week-in and week-out every week in the Serie A for years, and he's really only just broken into a regular starting spot in the Oz NT. To suggest that, say, Kranjcar, playing for Hajduk Split, is in a different class to this guy, or will run all over him is debatable to say the least. This is just the first place I look at people who suggest Croatia are in a different class to Australia and think...wtf?

Marco Bresciano: Vince Grella's team mate and regular first team starter at Parma in the Serie A. Now this bloke knows how to score goals, believe me. And he has a very good record at NT level. Again, I look at the Croatian midfield and wonder who is such a standout against this guy?

Tim Cahill: Last season this guy almost single handedly took Everton to 4th spot in the EPL, and their first spot in Europe for eons. With 10 goals from midfield, Cahill is supremely fit and mobile. He is a true box-to-box midfielder in the mold of Steven Gerrard. A poorer man's Gerrard, granted, but still. Consistantly making runs into the box and scoring. His main attribute though is probably his aerial ability which is, at times, superb. He wins just about everything in the air, I think he may actually have pogo sticks attached to the bottom of his boots.

Jason Culina: This guy is not very well known, and has only JUST been put into the Oz squad and grabbed a regular starting spot. As a kid he was selected for the Ajax youth teams, played reserves, and never broke into the Ajax first squad. He subsequently spent about 4 season withering away, whilst he could have easily made most likely hundreds of other European squads. But when his contract ran out Hiddink picked him up and he is now a regular in PSV's midfield. Hiddink rates this guy as the most technically and tactically adept player in the Oz squad, and he probably is. Just the type of player Hiddink loves; fast, skillful, smart, mobile, versatile, with an immaculate passing game. He's got a Croatian background too incidently, and his dad is well known coach in Australia. He probably knows the Cro team as good as they do, and nothing will surprise this kid.

Harry Kewell: Along with Viduka, this guy is the best footballer Australia has probably ever produced. I'm led to believe Srna is Croatia's answer to Harry Kewell - and that may be true - but for the moment, lets just acknowledge the fact that Srna, Croatia's gun midfield weapon, plays for Shaktar Donetsk, whilst Harry plays for Liverpool. Harry is well and truly on his way back from a 2 year fitness and form slump, btw. He was fantastic for Australia against Uruguay, and is now playing first team football for Liverpool. He defends now, too. And this video, from 2 weeks ago, among other reasons, is why Harry Kewell plays for Liverpool;

http://media.putfile.com/Kewell8939

err, rightio then Harry.

If you think Kewell is not in the same class as Croatia, I think you're deluding yourself.

Brett Emerton: Very very fast. Very fit. Probably not the best crosser of the ball. Probably the weak link in our midfield. But then again he plays week in week out for Blackburn and has been for several years. He's very experienced. A few years ago when he was at Feyenoord (and won the UEFA Cup with them) he was oft voted player on the year and was widely regarded as the best winbback in Holland. He is pretty far from useless.

I believe - and I have seen Croatia play several times - that it is entirely possible the Australian midfield will run over the Croatian midfield, and quite visibly dominate them, particularly as the match wears on. I know of many croats who openly refer to their team as prone to be being lazy. I think Australia have far more options in attack, and far more players capable of scoring. Most of our goals come from midfielders. If it comes down to a physical contest, Australia will probably win that, too.

But by the same token, Croatia have a very good backline, better than Australia's, and I think they will be very capable of defending well and snatching a goal from set pieces. They virtually went through their quals doing this, and Australia have a habit of dominating teams and then leaking a goal. Or 3. This penchant has improved under Hiddink without doubt, but a team with as much experience together, and against good sides, as Croatia, will probably have a significant advantage over Australia.

Australia have simply not played enough together, and it is significant. In the last 4 years, Australia have played 5 games of any significance against decent opposition, in meaningful matches; Argentina, Germany and Tunisia in the confed Cup, and Uruguay in the qual playoff.

The rest have been the odd friendlies with often second string squads, and Oceania teams who are, without doubt, a complete joke.

It will be a close match, I'm sure of it.
 

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stralian said:
I posted this in the Croatian forum earlier. They really didn't agree with it much because it didn't involve them flogging us. Sooo.. i was wanting to know what the Australians think.
Really but what do you expect? For everyone in the Cro forum to say that Australia will beat Cro?

Come on man its called being a fan for what you support, youre supporting Aus so you think they will win the Cro's are obviously going to support Cro so they think they will win. You seem to think its arrogance. Some of them are, ill give you that, but most in the Cro forum are debating quite nicely.

Ps. You should have named this thread, Cro-Aus at the WC. I think thats all you are interested in talking about....for now, ubtil some Japs rub you up the wrong way :tongue:
 

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I think youre overestimating our strikers to theirs and underestimating their midfield. Srna is a wonder kid, at the moment liverpool and bayern munich are after him but Shakhtar still have a hold of the croatian because of a lucrative deal. He is one of the ones to watch out for in the midfield. As for the strikers, la liga may be a stronger league, but bremen and CSKA are stronger clubs both playing regular european cup football with CSKA having won the uefa cup last time. Olic was their first choice and regular goal scorer then and still is now so i wouldn't downplay them, i would say olic and aloisi are both equal quality strikers

Realistically i see 0-0 or 1-1 at best for us, but i hope im wrong and we can upset all teams including brazil :thumbsup:
 

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our key players are in very good form, but im still worried about the defence. we MUST beat japan, thats our most important game, because im confident of squeezing at least one draw from the remaining two games, which should be enough for us
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Cevapcici kid said:
Really but what do you expect? For everyone in the Cro forum to say that Australia will beat Cro?

Come on man its called being a fan for what you support, youre supporting Aus so you think they will win the Cro's are obviously going to support Cro so they think they will win. You seem to think its arrogance. Some of them are, ill give you that, but most in the Cro forum are debating quite nicely.

Ps. You should have named this thread, Cro-Aus at the WC. I think thats all you are interested in talking about....for now, ubtil some Japs rub you up the wrong way :tongue:
I wished some Japs did come in here and say something. I have a few Japanese friends and the most of them are pretty modest, so im not surprised. But anyway, i never said that we were a sure bet to beat Croatia. You guys, minus 2 or 3 seem to think that Croatia are going to run all over us. So don't give me this excuse that Cros are going to support Cro so they think they will win, and then shoot me down when i say Australia has a chance. You can call us the Croatia D team. You don't have to "fear" us if you don't want to. The truth is that our team is made up from guys who have Croatian blood. We're a lot alike, we're both phsyical teams. Apart from popular belief, there really isn't anything between the 3 teams. Croatia might have the better reputation but it wouldn't be a shock for anyone if Australia or Japan beat you. it's football afterall.
 

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Goal difference could play a big part in our group. Brazil could flog any of the other three teams and thus pretty much rule them out for the second spot. Or one of the three teams could pull off a draw against Brazil, thus making their chances of qualifying so much better. Croatia is the most likely to get a draw with Brazil or not get blown away by them, IMO. That puts us and the Japanese at a disadvantage. It's nice that we have the second game with Brazil. Drawing them last and needing a result would truly suck, sorry Japan :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OR Brazil might slack off, considering if they had already qualified by then. Causing us to lose that second spot (hypothetically). Now that would suck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Cevapcici kid said:
Really but what do you expect? For everyone in the Cro forum to say that Australia will beat Cro?

Come on man its called being a fan for what you support, youre supporting Aus so you think they will win the Cro's are obviously going to support Cro so they think they will win. You seem to think its arrogance. Some of them are, ill give you that, but most in the Cro forum are debating quite nicely.

Ps. You should have named this thread, Cro-Aus at the WC. I think thats all you are interested in talking about....for now, ubtil some Japs rub you up the wrong way :tongue:
Oh and dude, i never asked you to join in this thread. I was just sick of the whole bias, one answer bullsh!t.
 

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stralian said:
Oh and dude, i never asked you to join in this thread. I was just sick of the whole bias, one answer bullsh!t.

:thmbup:
 

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This thread will need to be closed within 24 hours.......
 

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stralian said:
Oh and dude, i never asked you to join in this thread. I was just sick of the whole bias, one answer bullsh!t.
Didnt know i wasnt allowed to join in....Wheres the list, i swear im on the list man... :howler:

Go and get the posts that are really so bad, as you are making them out to be. Please go get them and show them to me. You make it out as if we were treating you like shit and no one had any debate.

Man i think the bias also exists within you buddy. Remember what happens when throwing rocks from a glass house....

PS. Please share the over-whelming bias nasty posts. Please :rolleyes:

Is being a fan of something and thinking you will win a bad thing is it? Clue for you is what is needed. Man i think im gonna start a thread in the Cro forum, so much bias and no debate here :howler:
 

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whats to sigh about?

he makes some bullshit comment like that and im going to respond, because its just that.....bullshit

Im sure nobody in the Arsenal, Chelsea or Man U forums sighs when this kind of stuff comes up
 

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Cevapcici kid said:
he makes some bullshit comment like that and im going to respond, because its just that.....bullshit
Because this is exactly the kind of shit I expect to happen more and more as it gets closer to June.
 
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