Saturday, 3 September 2011

Australia 2-1 Thailand: Match Report Pt 4

General Observations/Evaluation:
Holger deserves praise for his intelligent handling of the transition in the Socceroos squad, especially in how he has shown faith in new talent and tried to implement a mobile, short-passing game plan. This was demonstrated to aplomb by the performance against Wales, which should be regarded as the benchmark, and the best display of attacking, pro-active football by the Green and Gold in some years.
However, in this particular game, Holger made a few serious tactical errors, which he should, hopefully, recognise and rectify.

Kilkenny and Valeri worked well as a doubly pivot, if there is a creative passer ahead of them. This they demonstrated against Wales, when McKay drifted in from LM, and all constantly made runs and presented passing options.

The Australian attack was too static. There were few attempts to run in behind, no attempts to give-and-go, no attempts to draw markers out of position to create space – just ball after ball after ball curled from deep right into the box. Our outside mid-fielder, instead of trying to stretch the play, were just funnelled into the box, which was well populated by Thai defenders.

Prior to the match, Holger had indicated to the media he planned to field his strongest possible team. Obviously, this untenable team selection was a result of Osieck trying to fit McKay, Holman and the partnership of Emerton and Wilkshire into the same team, with the goal-threat presented by Cahill. The better option, after watching Emerton's relatively ineffectual performance, would have been the one Holger used during the Asian Cup; McKay drifting centrally on the left side of mid-field and Holman cutting in from the right.

Commentary on the Commentary
Of 5, the only pundit who seemed able to identify the glaring omissions in the Socceroos line-up was Postecoglou. This was unsurprising, as he is the only practising coach and has displayed tactical astuteness in managing Brisbane Roar.
Harper especially seemed to be fixated on emotional generalities, making repeated reference to 'fighting spirit'. While fighting spirit is always crucial, and was displayed in abundance by our tenacious opponents, Australia's poor performance can be explained by tactical errors.
None of the pundits sufficiently highlighted McKay's contribution; he was instrumental in creating both goals and instrumental again in the concession of one.
Slater and Harper were complimentary of Osieck; none laid the blame for the poor performance on Holger, which is perhaps indicative of the good credit Osieck has accumulated. They could offer no solutions other than to increase the tempo of passing.

Player Ratings
Out-field players ranked from 10 – 1, with GK and substitutes inserted
10. Valeri – lapse of awareness left Kilkenny without option or cover, otherwise fine/underwhelming
9. Emerton – did not feature in a match where the right flank dominated action
8. Kilkenny – surrendering possession led to Thai goal, otherwise fine/underwhelming
7. Neill – passable, only defender in position when goal conceded
6. Cahill – constant aerial threat, goal disallowed BUT no mobility/ Schwarzer – reliable BUT goal conceded
5. Kennedy – goal BUT no mobility/ Kruse – cameo, good mobility
4. Holman – energy, good interceptions/tackles BUT no defensive cover
3. Wilkshire – reliable in defence BUT out of position when goal conceded, reliable delivery from right flank BUT very predictable/ Brosque – cameo, goal, good mobility
2. Spiranovic - attempted to cover the left half of the pitch single-handedly, tidy in possession
1. McKay – woeful defensively but played out of position, major creative force; Australia would have lost the match without him


ComradeRoar said...

Hey mate, Great read. Glad to see someone use a bit of initiative to put a bit of tactical analysis into the game. I particularly like the section on commentary on commentary. The standard of commentators is really awful across codes in Australia (notable exception: Cricket), if you're the play by play announcer fine, you don't need that tactical know how, just remember the players and the names of a few moves and you'll be fine. However that's a job for one and the Colour commentator should really be up to scracth in technical know how. Being a Brisbane boy i'm glad Ange has made that transient leap from Coach to Announcer, as long as he doesn't get too giddy with the lights and camera's and comes back to us at the end of the day! I'm just starting to analyze and understand tactics, the how's and why's and most importantly trying to get in my head what is actually going on. I was at the game and I knew we played bad, I just lack the technical know-how to explain why or how we played badly. So i'm studying Soccernomics and Inverting the pyramid (when it arrives in a few days) in an attempt to do just this. Keep up the good work, great resource especially considering the up-coming A-league. i'll keep reading and hopefully be able to understand all these false-9's, player positions and a whole bunch of arrows. Cheers!

PassandMove said...

Thanks for the positive feedback Comrade Roar. I would recommend Mr Wilson's "The Question" column for the Guardian and the tactical website "Zonal Marking" which my blog is based on. Also, if you follow a European team, there should be some very detailed and knowledgeable bloggers for you to read. As a Toffee, I read the Executioner's Bong, which is a tactical analysis site dedicated to Everton. Good luck mate

ComradeRoar said...

Cheers mate,

Yeah well this is what spured on my interest. I looked at Zonal Marking and realised i was completely out of my depth!

PassandMove said...

Completely understandable. Try looking at the early Zonal Marking posts, he tends to explain things more thoroughly.