Timmy tremendous, but more needed from Socceroos

Domenic Trimboli Columnist

By Domenic Trimboli, Domenic Trimboli is a Roar Expert

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71 Have your say

    Something wonderfully abnormal happens to Tim Cahill when he pulls on the Socceroos jersey.

    This time, it was a thumping Brisbane crowd who got to witness the man in full flight, as his second-half brace against China lifted Australia into the Asian Cup semis.

    The 2-0 win was for the most part assured, but Australia will need to piece together a more consistent 90 minutes in Newcastle if they want to topple what lies ahead.

    It was a cumbersome and slow-burning start from the Socceroos, who enjoyed plenty of possession but not much purpose or penetration.

    China were predictably content to let Australia enjoy the lion’s share of the ball, setting themselves up for a counter-attacking game spearheaded by the jet-heeled Wu Lei.

    With a combat defensive block, China were effective in clogging up space in the channels, and the Socceroos’ midfield trio struggled to find the fluidity needed to create danger.

    Ange Postecoglou took a considerable risk handing Mark Bresciano his first start of the tournament, given that the midfielder had played only 45 minutes in two appearances off the bench. And the former Parma man was noticeably off the pace initially, guilty of coughing up possession too cheaply on a number of occasions.

    Skipper Mile Jedinak also seemed a touch hesitant on the bumpy Suncorp pitch, spraying a few wayward balls and copping an early slice of cheese for his clumsiness.

    Australia’s tournament breakthrough Massimo Luongo didn’t see as much ball as he did in the group stage, with most of the Socceroos’ forward thrust coming from the energetic Mathew Leckie.

    But it was an unmarked Trent Sainsbury (who put in a fantastic shift at the back), who spurned the best chance of the opening stanza, heading a peach of a Bresciano free-kick over the bar.

    Though the Socceroos didn’t have to wait long after the break for the opener.

    And no prizes for guessing who popped up.

    A Bresciano corner was cleared only as far as Ivan Franjic, whose lobbed header was met by a superbly timed overhead kick from Cahill. The goal lifted the tension and rigidness from Australia’s play, and the Socceroos began to pry open the disciplined Chinese rearguard.

    A gorgeous interchanging move ended with Bresciano scuffing one over the bar, before a Cahill turn-and-pivot shot needed to be parried away by Wang Dalei.

    As Leckie soon had a glancing header from a corner repelled from close range, there was a sense of floodgates opening, and when Jason Davidson swung one over from the left, there was only going to be one result.

    Cahill still had plenty to do, but Australia’s all-time leading goal-scorer has a once-in-a-generation knack for placing things off his noggin.

    As Australia began to pour forward and pepper the Chinese goal with a sequence of chances, things started to loosen up at the back, with Maty Ryan’s goal being threatened one too many times.

    Although China were unable to capitalise, Postecoglou will be keen to see his side maintain their defensive structure on Tuesday night. Japan (assuming the inevitable), won’t be so forgiving.

    Meanwhile, in last night’s other quarter final, South Korea edged past Uzbekistan in a ripping spectacle in Melbourne.

    It was far from comfortable for the Koreans, but thanks to their seemingly impenetrable defence and two extra time goals to star man Son Heung-min, they’ll now play either Iraq or Iran for a spot in the final.

    I’m still to be convinced by South Korea. Yes, they’ve yet to concede, and yes they’ve passed every test so far without any major concerns. But with their reactive approach, they’ve been more plucky than domineering, so I’ll be surprised if Ki Sung-yueng lifts the trophy in the end.

    They do however have the sort of solidarity and hardiness that usually bodes well in a tournament format, and in their Bayer Leverkusen marquee man they have arguably the deadliest marksman in the tournament.

    What’s most pleasing about the Asian Cup so far is the way in which the cream has risen to the top. Only the best teams remain, and you get the feeling that only the best of the best will soldier on.

    This isn’t a tournament for luck-riders or finger-crossers. Fortune might favour the brave, but only the worthy will be sipping champagne come January 31.

    Domenic Trimboli
    Domenic Trimboli

    Writer, communicator and failed centre back. Occasional tweeter (you can follow him @dom_trimboli), infrequent video-maker and reliable email responder.

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    The Crowd Says (71)

    • January 23rd 2015 @ 1:19am
      Catnap said | January 23rd 2015 @ 1:19am | ! Report

      A win is a win but we have to improve before the semis Bresc looked his age tonight and I have been one of his biggest fans but I thought when Milligan came on he energised the team and got in good positions troisi did nothing and what’s tommy oar done wrong I think he would have been better. Than troisi we have to improve greatly against Japan but I will cross my fingers and hope for the best!!!!!

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:11am
        punter said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        Troisi was great for MV last year, but he has never done anything in a Socceroo level that says he can play at this level.
        I hope he proves me wrong as he has the skills, but he just doesn’t produce.

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:36am
        Chris said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Agree with all your comments Oar soooo unlucky not to be playing gotta be better than Troisis surely but Cahill is a sporting legend

    • Roar Guru

      January 23rd 2015 @ 1:21am
      JGK said | January 23rd 2015 @ 1:21am | ! Report

      So we’re all agreed – Tim Cahill is never allowed to retire.

    • January 23rd 2015 @ 2:11am
      Realfootball said | January 23rd 2015 @ 2:11am | ! Report

      Was at Suncorp. Great crowd, not so much the game. Bresc has run his race and should retire. Kruse was poor and looked short of pace – he hasn’t got his old speed back yet. Not by a long shot. Wilkinson may do ok in the K League but he’s not ok at this level.

      Jedinak was a “touch hesitant”???? He was absolutely terrible, worst player on the park. Poor techique, awful passing, turnovers, slow as a carthorse. This thing he has for grabbing players as they run away from him because he’s too slow has to stop. He should have had a second yelllow for it tonight. It might have been a good thing. At least that way Milligan would have played against Japan.

      I don’t care whether Jedinak plays in the EPL or not. He’s a slow, ineffectual player at international level and a millstone around the team’s neck. Milligan moves twice as fast, and can pass the ball. It’s an indictment on Ange’s lack of cojones that he dropped Milligan for Jedinak.

      Two beautiful goals from Cahill saved the day. Bresc and Jedinak were both mistakes. The latter will be carved up by the Japanese attacking mids. He is a luxury we can’t afford, but Ange won’t drop him , oh no. He plays in the EPL, which in the Roos is the apparently a free pass to be as awful as you like but be undroppable. Milligan is a far, far better DM, but he plays for Melbourne Victory. Unfortunately for him and for us. Shouldn’t be that way, but it obviously is.

      • Roar Guru

        January 23rd 2015 @ 6:19am
        The Barry said | January 23rd 2015 @ 6:19am | ! Report

        I thought Wilkinson was pretty good last night.

        He cleaned up two or three Jedinak howlers that could have been very dangerous.

        • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:09am
          Batou said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:09am | ! Report

          I agree. I thought both centre backs and Ryan where outstanding and ensured that China’s chances on the break were dealt with comfortably all night. That was a huge positive for me.

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 7:50am
        Andy said | January 23rd 2015 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        He was awful last night but I don’t think he’s as bad overall as you make out. Playing 3 midfielders we should be able to utilise him to break up play, unfortunately he’s not doing that for the moment. I agree Milligan has looked the better so far but we really have to trust Ange.

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:00am
        fadida said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        Wilkinson is fine, very solid.

        Jediank on the other hand. On the plus side he…..plays in the EPL 😉 and has a Spartan beard. Minus, horrible on the ball and a glaring weak link in a side trying to play from the back. Passing long and short atrocious and a foul machine. Miiligan is superior, particularly v quicker technical players

      • Roar Guru

        January 23rd 2015 @ 9:09am
        Kaks said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Wilkinson did very well last night, and this is coming from a man who has never been his biggest supporter (i.e. me). He did very well with Sainsbury in defence. Ryan had a great game as well which was great to see

        Jedinak’s strength for club and country has never been his passing ability, it has always been his defensive work which was solid last night. Problem is that last night none of the midfielders were doing well in the first half so Jedinak seemed to take more responsibility on with the “creative” part of the game. Jedinak has and will always be more effective if he is partnered with a natural ball player.

        I want to know what Oar did wrong that has made Ange discard him for the likes of Troisi and co. He is killing it at Utrecht as a No. 10 yet he is overlooked by Ange constantly. Strange that

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 1:36pm
        TomCahill said | January 23rd 2015 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        Can we change the record? Yes Jedinak was shocking in the initial stages, but his break up play is very good and if he sticks to short passing he is an asset. Even Sainsbury said last night that it was great having him back to marshall the defence, which is probably an unseen part of his game.

        Ange has never had a penchant for excluding players from Australia let alone players he coached at club level, so there is no evidence that this is the case now. It’s crazy that this is the argument used over and over on The Roar. In that case why has Tommy Oar been excluded? Doesn’t wash with me.

        HOWEVER, I agree that Milligan is a great player who is more well-rounded than Jedinak and he really added an extra dimension when he came on – though the arguments for his exclusion are ridiculous.

        Also I don’t see what was wrong with Wilkinson, he did well imo.

    • January 23rd 2015 @ 2:32am
      NUFCMVFC said | January 23rd 2015 @ 2:32am | ! Report

      China started quite confidently and we were a bit shaky until Timmy scored, than got our groove back, a well worked move for Bresc, and at the end Milligan did well and nearly made it 3-0

      He has put in a good argument to start, Jedinak looked a bit rusty and off the pace. Same with Bresc, he is a quality player but perhaps coming off the bench against tired players rather than starting

      Mat Ryan did very solidly in goal

      Great to see two virtual sellouts, very good for our credibility in the AFC. Canberra should be virtually full tomorrow too

    • Roar Guru

      January 23rd 2015 @ 6:17am
      The Barry said | January 23rd 2015 @ 6:17am | ! Report

      All hail Tim Cahill.

      The debate about Australia’s greatest footballer is redundant.

      The topic needs to be where Cahill ranks among Australia’s greatest sportspeople.

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 6:48am
        Steve said | January 23rd 2015 @ 6:48am | ! Report

        Far out the hyperbole is ridiculous. Cahill is the greatest Socceroo courtesy of his goals for the national side and one of our best footballers (let’s not forget how good at football Kewell and Viduka were in the early 2000s). I love him and he scored great goals

        But we’ve had players in other sports, also played by millions worldwide, who have been the best in the business. This is not going to be a popular opinion, but without winning a single trophy or consistently dominating your sport against the best he’s not close to our greatest sports person. Stripping away patriotism and hype, Cahill is basically the Landon Donovan of Australia. And no one would dare claim Landon is one of America’s greatest athletes.

        • Roar Guru

          January 23rd 2015 @ 7:41am
          The Barry said | January 23rd 2015 @ 7:41am | ! Report


          • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:04am
            The Bear said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:04am | ! Report

            Cahill Stadium

          • January 23rd 2015 @ 10:42am
            Qantas supports Australian Football said | January 23rd 2015 @ 10:42am | ! Report

            A knighthood bacons, rise Sir Timothy…

          • January 23rd 2015 @ 10:45am
            Mitch said | January 23rd 2015 @ 10:45am | ! Report

            Didn’t Bradman beat Lindrum in billiards once?

            • Roar Guru

              January 23rd 2015 @ 1:43pm
              The Barry said | January 23rd 2015 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

              That’s why Bradman made it to no. 2…!

        • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:13am
          punter said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:13am | ! Report

          Australia’s greatest socceroo on the greatest stage, to me he’s right up there.

        • Roar Guru

          January 23rd 2015 @ 9:15am
          Kaks said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:15am | ! Report

          Cahill is one of a handful of footballers to have scored in three world cups, arguably the best football competition in the world. That elevates him near the top of Australian Sportsmen alone.

          • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:27am
            Steve said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:27am | ! Report

            I don’t want to play this game so this will be my last comment. The World Cup is the most famous football tournament but not the best, as has been established many times (UEFA Champions League trumps it by the length of a mile).

            Clint Dempsey has scored in three World Cup also, while Messi has not yet. Scoring in three World Cups alone does not make you a great footballer.

            • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:49am
              Brick Tamland of the pants party said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:49am | ! Report

              Landon Donavon is superior to Cahill, Cahill only managed one measly MLS player of the year award.

              • Roar Guru

                January 23rd 2015 @ 6:09pm
                The Barry said | January 23rd 2015 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

                Another Evertonian…join the dots

            • Roar Guru

              January 23rd 2015 @ 9:57am
              Kaks said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              The CL is the best football competition, but that does not take anything away from the world cup which is the biggest sport competition in the world.

              Congrats to Dempsey, but thats an argument for American’s. This is an Argument about Australia’s Golden Boy and for what he has done for the sport. If you dont think that Cahill is one of Australia’s greatest Sports stars then thats fine but i would suggest that you are in a very small minority which says a lot.

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:12am
        Batou said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        The topic definitely doesn’t need to be that at all as those sorts of discussions are utterly ridiculous. The guy is an Australian football legend and that is all that needs to be said.

    • January 23rd 2015 @ 6:41am
      Nordburg said | January 23rd 2015 @ 6:41am | ! Report

      It seems to be a bit of a national pastime,Socceroo bashing.They won FFS.You could pick flaws in a Real Madrid win if you wanted to but the facts are China rarely frightened us.Ryan had a few saves to make but unless it’s Champions League team vs an under 10’s side,every keeper and defence are going to have to be called into action at some point.The only issue they have at the moment in this competition is with a few blokes not quite having that cutting edge in front of goal just yet but that will come with time and experience.Tim Cahill was similar to blokes like Leckie,Troisi and Kruse early in his career

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

      • January 23rd 2015 @ 6:54am
        Steve said | January 23rd 2015 @ 6:54am | ! Report

        The issue last night was the midfield, which was poor. Jedinak and Bresciano were not up to scratch and even Luongo, who has been good for us, went missing.

        We are allowed to be critical of our team even in victory, otherwise we won’t truly progress as a football nation if we simply say “well we won so thats all that matters”.

        I thought we played better against South Korea, who are much better than China. I think Ange needs to think carefully whether Bresc and / or Jedinak are up for starting against Japan (likely).

        • January 23rd 2015 @ 7:40am
          ciudadmarron said | January 23rd 2015 @ 7:40am | ! Report

          Luongo needs the space. China shut that off very effectively. He only got a little back when they had to push forward a little after going behind.

          We played better against sk because we weren’t reliant on the cahill approach and because south Korea were more willing to come forward.

          The thing is, if a team has 10 men behind the ball cahill is probably the best option.

          • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:08am
            The Bear said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:08am | ! Report

            Fantastic analysis. Now everyone can shut up about Cahill’s importance to the team.

          • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:10am
            Steve said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:10am | ! Report

            What if the opponent comes out to play and doesn’t have 10 men behind the ball?

            • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:13am
              ciudadmarron said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:13am | ! Report

              I really liked the way we looked against south Korea. Should have had a couple of goals to show for it.

              There’s only one way to find out….

              • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:31am
                Steve said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:31am | ! Report

                Agree, but are you saying we move away from the Cahill strategy if the opponent doesn’t park the bus?

            • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:57am
              The Bear said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:57am | ! Report

              Then well find space. Did you watch the first two group games??

              • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:11am
                Steve said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:11am | ! Report

                Yes I did, playing against a horrible Kuwait and Oman is a bit different than playing against a Japan side who will have more possession. The question is what formation do we take into the Semi-Final against probably Japan.

                How do you find space against a Japan? Should we counter-attack more and not worry so much about possession, being a bit more direct? Do we need midfield control to ensure we have the majority of possesion. Will our outlets come through intricate play in the middle of the park or is it about creating overlaps on the wings and crossing to Cahill?

                Personally, I think Cahill has to play because he always does well against Japan. But I’d like to see us try to play a bit more counter-attacking and use Leckie and Kruse’s pace to create chances. I don’t think we should have our FB’s bombing forward every opportunity like they have been in the tournament to date.

                This a discussion for adults, so feel free to contribute if you’d like.

              • January 23rd 2015 @ 10:21am
                The Bear said | January 23rd 2015 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                If a team comes out to play? Well I’d say we shall have one cracking game on our hands.

                Is that adult enough for you?

          • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:16am
            Batou said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:16am | ! Report

            I felt that Luongo’s input in the first half was impeded by Bresc who seemed to be taking the opportunities that had been going through Luongo in previous matches (and mostly wasting them). He looked much better once bresciano was subbed off, but that did also more or less coincide with the game opening up as you said

            • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:15am
              fadida said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:15am | ! Report

              Agree Batou

            • January 23rd 2015 @ 10:06am
              Professor Rosseforp said | January 23rd 2015 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              agreed. Bresciano lost possession, made no tackles, made no runs, had a couple of dud attempts on goal and was unispiring from set moves. The team intnsity lifted when he left the pitch.

        • January 23rd 2015 @ 8:02am
          The Bear said | January 23rd 2015 @ 8:02am | ! Report

          Bit from column A and some from column B

        • January 23rd 2015 @ 9:14am
          fadida said | January 23rd 2015 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Agree totally Steve. I thought tactically Ange got the midfield wrong. Luongo yes but Bresc and Jedinak no. V Japan I’d bring back Mackay and Milligan. We’ll need plYets to play in thight areas who are athletic. This rules out Jedinak on both counts and Bresc on the latter.

          The Korea performance was better. The biggest danger posed last night came from we had possession with Jedinak and to a lesser extent Davidson

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