Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Australia vs UAE: Preview/Prediction

Pass and Move will attempt to provide a Match Analysis for the Olyroos qualifier against the United Arab Emirates to be played in Adelaide, time and circumstances permitting. Apologies in advance.

Overseas clubs have proven recalcitrant in releasing players for the match; Auerlio Vidmar has been forced to select a squad composed entirely of A-League players. I've never been a keen observer of the Olyroos, so PM's estimate of the starting XI is likely to be erroneous. Again, apologies.

The Olyroos have a mixed record in 2011; a 3-1 loss to Japan, 6-0 thrashing of Singapore and a 3-0 win over Yemen. Assuming UAE have similiar quality players to Yemen, a win is likely.

The composition of the squad itself is very encouraging - Behich, Jurman, Nichols, Bozanic, Dugandzic, and Kantarovski can be considered central performers for their A-League clubs, while most of the others can be considered relatively seasonsed players; there isn't anybody who can be considered part of the 'youth team'.

This contrasts rather forlornly with the experience of both of the Olyroos keepers; Redmayne and Birighitti are in the unlucky position of being understudy to the two best shot stoppers in Australia; Theoklitos at Brisbane and Galekovic at Adelaide.

Additionally, no one A-League club dominates selection, which may indicate a relative parity or perhaps even collective paucity in Australian youth development. PM are inclined to support the former conclusion. With the exception of Wellington, every A-League club is represented among the Olyroo ranks.

Surprisingly, there is only one player in the squad who can be considered a 'defensive' midfielder - Ferreira. He may operate as a single holder, with Bozanic and Nichols advanced, or in a double pivot, paired with Kantarovski, a superb passer. Alternatively, Vidmar may forego Ferreira entirely and select a fluid and adventurous trio of Kantarovski, Bozanic and Nichols; a tantalising prospect indeed.

Every member of this Olyroos squad is versatile, able to operate in a number of positions. For example, Jurman has played as a central defender and right-back, while Danning can operate as a winger or striker.

Expect a lethal Australian left flank - Behich rampaging up, Dugandzic cutting-in and Hoffman linking (if all 3 are selected). The trio are familiar due to club connections, playing for Melbourne Heart, and their natural inclinations mesh well together. Bozanic and Nichols seem a natural fit in midfield, both are 'attacking' central midfielders for their club sides and could be complementary as Bozanic is left-sided, with Nichols being predominantly right-sided.

In terms of style, PM expect Vidmar to set the Olyroos out in a 4-3-3, with wingers cutting in to link with the lone striker and the fullbacks providing width. This is the 'Dutch model' which the FFA have adopted for development squads.

There may be an issue further down the track with selection; will the Australia-based players who have participated in qualification ultimately be overlooked for their overseas-based countrymen come 2012?

Ultimately, PM anticipate an interesting match (not necessarily tactically), and a further indication of the progress of the A-League as the breeding ground for furture Australian stars.

LATER ADDITION: Michael Lynch has reported that several UAE players are already regulars at senior level.

Predicted score line: Australia 3-1 UAE, assist to Behich cross and Hoffman knockdown.

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