The Ramble: Frustrated Aussies, classy Germans and Brisbane imports

Paul Nicholls Roar Guru

By , Paul Nicholls is a Roar Guru

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    Thank goodness for the IQ. As expected, I missed the start of the Australia versus Thailand game but was able to catch it on delay. I had to avoid spoilers so unfortunately missed The Roar’s always enjoyable blog.

    It was a great game to watch, so frustrating, yet so tense. When Tomi Juric put Australia ahead I thought Thailand might crack, but not only did they hold out but fought back with a well taken goal by Pokkhao Anan.

    I didn’t hang around for the post-match review which I assumed wasn’t going to be pleasant. Certainly there were plenty of calls for Ange’s head in the wash up.

    Still, I thought Australia played well. The formation and personnel changes worked. Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, Matt Leckie and Tomi Juric all had good games. Australia showed some ticker by scoring again to put some pressure on the Saudis.

    We had some bad luck but so did Thailand who had a good penalty shout turned down in the second half. I don’t think enough credit was paid to the Thais, who in their Ninja-black outfits, threw everything at Australia.

    Saudi Arabia took the automatic qualifying place by defeating Japan and now Australia must take on Syria in a two-legged playoff.

    Syria scored a dramatic stoppage time goal to draw 2-2 with Iran, setting off wild celebrations on the field, the commentary box as well as on the streets of Damascus.

    Contrast the euphoria of the Syrians to the dejected look of the Australians after the Thailand game and it’s clear which team has the emotional momentum.

    Ange has a big job to do and it’s time to get behind him.

    Ange Postecoglou Football Australia Socceroos 2017

    (AAP Image/Matt Roberts)

    I was drawn to a story early in the week where Germany coach Joachim Loew spoke after his team’s 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in Prague.

    The match was marred by a small group of right-wing German fans singing Nazi-era chants.
    Loew condemned their actions.

    “They bring shame on our country,” he said. He added that he “was not so much upset or sad as I am full of rage.” Tellingly, he dismissed the fans by saying, “we are not their national team.”

    Simple and direct. A class act, Joachim Loew.

    Another German class act is midfielder Sami Kedhira. For the mid-week game against Norway in his home town of Stuttgart, Kedhira purchased 1,200 tickets which were distributed to disadvantaged children.

    Germany entertained the youngsters by hammering Norway 6-0 and now have a record of eight wins from eight matches.

    With the start of the A-League season getting close, some of the recent imports were paraded on social media. For Brisbane Roar’s Italian recruit, Massimo Maccarone, the occasion was his 38th birthday.

    I did double-take when I saw him as he is a dead-ringer for Kevin Muscat (and could you imagine Muscy taking instructions from John Aloisi?) Now I know Maccarone is in the veteran class but one Twitter wag was taking it a bit far by wishing Massimo a “happy 50th.”

    Another Brisbane signing is Frenchman, Eric Bautheac, from Lille on a two-year deal. He has made over 200 appearances in French football. It’s a decent pedigree and at only 30 years old he’ll be one to watch. By coming to Australia he wanted his children to have a ‘crazy adventure.’ He has made a good choice in Brisbane Roar then.

    Domestic leagues recommenced over the weekend, with many eyes focused on the Ligue 1 match between Metz and Paris St Germain.

    This was the first time PSG’s super signings Neymar and 18 year-old Kylian Mbappe had played together and both of them scored in a 5-1 romp. The Paris club has forked out close to 400 million euros on these two players and unsurprisingly have won all five of their league matches.

    In Spain, Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick for Barcelona as they thrashed local rivals Espanyol by five goals to nil.

    Lionel Messi FC Barcelona Football 2017

    (Photo by Joan Cros Garcia/Corbis via Getty Images)

    Manchester City trounced Liverpool 5-0 in the Premier League. Other than the scoreline, the main talking point was the send-off of Liverpool striker, Sadio Mane, in the 37th minute.

    Should it have been a red? Mane had followed a high ball and sensing the oncoming keeper tried to clear him but collected the keeper’s head instead.

    Replays show Mane had his eyes on the ball all the time up to the moment of contact. It was careless, but for mine only warranted a yellow.

    Brighton and Hove Albion had their first win of the season, defeating West Bromwich Albion 3-1. Australian goalkeeper, Mat Ryan, took the field for Brighton despite rumours he might be on the bench.

    What is it about Aussies in the top leagues and blue and white striped kits? Aaron Mooy’s Huddersfield, Ryan’s Brighton, and Mathew Leckie’s Hertha Berlin all play in the blue and white.

    Leckie was on target for Hertha in a 1-1 draw with Bremen in a match featuring the Bundesliga’s first female referee, Bebiana Steinhaus. That’s three goals in three games for Leckie. Just the tonic Ange Postecoglou could do with.

    Personality of the week: Sami Kedhira

    Team of the week: Syria

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