Joeys impress in close loss
It’s 5:40 AM and my love of football has once again got me up at a ridiculous hour. This time it is not a European final or a Socceroos friendly, rather a tournament few people in Australia would know is occurring in Mexico, the FIFA under 17’s World Cup.
Australia, known commonly as the Joeys, has a relatively successful history in the tournament, having lost the final on penalties in 1999. Recent years, however, have been leaner with the Joeys having failed to qualify for the past two events, and not making it past the group stage in the two before that.
A first up win over the impressive Ivory Coast got the Joeys off to the perfect start. Next up this morning: Brazil.
The three time champions and undeniable favourites have already impressed with a 3-0 victory against Denmark. Australia has shown glimpses to suggest they can do well, yet against Brazil, the likely expectation was for a very hard ninety minutes.
What transpired over the next hour and a half was a brilliant game of football.
The two attacking teams created numerous chances with an exciting mixture of possession and counter attacking football on display.
The Joeys showed they are capable of maintaining possession and penetrating the Brazilian defense with technical ability.
The Brazilians showed they are a team capable of scoring from any situation, and will excite all who watch them progress over the course of the tournament.
So what was the difference between the two teams?
The obvious answer is a world-class free kick from the lively Adryan. The Brazilians did at times show moments of brilliant football, but that was expected. What was not expected was Yianni Perkatis dancing through the Brazilian defense, nor indeed Jesse Makarounas beating markers with ease.
The Joeys showed that Australia could match it with the world best and not just aim to snatch a result.
For ninety minutes, the Australians were equal to Lucas Piazon, a player who will be joining Chelsea in the English Premier League in the not too distant future.
A number of the Joeys have already been signed to A-League contracts; the very talented Makarounas at Perth Glory being one example.
Clubs would do well to act fast to sign other impressive players such as Perkatis and Hernan Espindola who displayed great technical skill. They could join the likes of Mustafa Amini as young creative talent in the A-League.
Connor Chapman shows signs of developing into a class ball playing central defender who can lead by example.
Australia is often unfairly labeled as an overly physical team by opponents. There has been a tendency in the past towards a kick and run approach that relies on fitness and athleticism. The philosophy, it would seem, has started to shift a little in the right direction.
After overcoming the Ivory Coast, many labeled the match a great result, but a poor performance.
This match has shown that the Joeys can produce a great performance, but one that ultimately resulted in a loss.
With a place in the round of sixteen at stake, one gets very excited at the prospect of a great performance, mixed with good result, against Denmark.