Overload the key to Socceroos’ World Cup qualification

Tim Palmer Columnist

By Tim Palmer, Tim Palmer is a Roar Expert

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    Australia competed excellently in the tricky away leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff against Honduras, creating many good chances from which they could have won the match, albeit returning to Sydney with a respectable 0-0 draw.

    A significant contributor to the confident Australian performance was their ability to overload Honduras in midfield areas.

    While the philosophy of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has been heavily debated, there has been less discussion about the key principles that have been ever-present throughout his regime.

    Regardless of the formation, Postecoglou has stuck to the mentality and core beliefs he instilled from day one. These include being proactive, playing forward, penetrating in wide areas and creating midfield overloads.

    These principles were fundamental to the controversial decision to switch to a back three. The 3-2-4-1 formation allows the team to play out from the back (with the back three usually ensuring comfortable numerical superiority against opposition pressure in deep positions), while the combination of two 6s (holding midfielders) and two 10s (attacking midfielders), in theory, overloads any opponent that plays with two or three players in the central zone.

    This was evident in the home qualifier against the UAE. Tom Rogic was able to get free in pockets of space behind the opposition midfield line, because the opposition’s two central midfielders were drawn up the pitch towards Australia’s deeper midfielders, creating space between the lines.

    Creating midfield overloads was also vital to against Honduras. However, building on from a tactical change he first made in the second leg against Syria, Postecoglou tilted his midfield square to become a diamond. In this diamond, each player had clear tasks in possession that created opportunities to play through the midfield zone and get key players on the ball in dangerous positions that suited their individual attributes.

    The player at the base of the diamond was Mile Jedinak, returning from a long injury lay-off.

    Jedinak’s primary role was without the ball, where he screened the back four, cut off direct passing lanes to Honduras’ front two (the South Americans played a 4-2-3-1 that became 4-4-2 out of possession), and helped win second balls against long passes from the back.

    With the ball, Jedinak had a starting position behind Honduras’ first pressing line (a front two). In doing so, he occupied the first pressing line so that either they would block passes into him – thus allowing one of the Australian back three time and space to play forward – or, if the Honduras front two pressed, Jedinak could move off the shoulder and get free to receive a forward pass between the lines.

    Sometimes, Jedinak would also drop into the back three, so one of the centre-backs could drive forward.

    Mile Jedinak vs Japan

    (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, FILE)

    In all these examples, Jedinak’s role is to facilitate the build up – help Australia move the ball from the back into the middle or front third, preferably via controlled, forward passes. The aim of this was to get one of the attacking midfielders – Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo or Jackson Irvine – on the ball in time and space, to be effective going forward.

    Postecoglou gave slightly different roles to each of these three to maximise their individual traits.

    Luongo, for example, as the right-sided 8, positioned himself between defenders, level and outside of his nearest opponent. This meant when he received forward passes, he could try and ‘break’ the defenders by turning quickly and darting forward into space. Luongo’s physicality means he is able to hold off defenders while turning in tight areas, and he was able to do so effectively from that right-sided position to motor forward into the final third.

    Mooy, as the left-sided 8, provides penetration with a creative range of passing, but needs to receive in space away from defenders to be effective. Therefore, his starting position was higher than Luongo’s, in the pockets of space behind his nearest defender. That meant he was receiving passes that broke the line, rather than receiving the pass, then breaking the line, as Luongo was doing. That, in turn, meant Mooy was getting the ball in space to turn and face forward, where he could then look for forward runs from Tomi Juric, Aziz Behich or Josh Risdon.

    Aaron Mooy Socceroos Australia Football 2017

    Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

    The player at the top of the diamond, Jackson Irvine, was crucial in creating space for Mooy and Luongo. Irvine’s starting position was highest, getting in between Honduras’ midfield and defence (close to Juric). That had two effects. Firstly, it meant the two opposing central midfielders had to screen passes into Irvine, while also preventing Mooy and Luongo getting free in front of them. Secondly, it meant Australia’s back three could play longer passes towards Juric, who could then try and lay the ball off to Irvine between the lines.

    Where Irvine was most effective, however, was when the ball entered the final third. When this happened, Irvine would move into the box alongside Juric, becoming a target for deliveries from Risdon or Behich – the latter created a chance for Irvine who volleyed high over the bar.

    Specific examples of the different player tasks within Australia’s diamond midfield are shown in the video below.

    Evidently, there is a lot of detail that goes into Australia’s preparation for matches such as this – especially when considering this is only the organisation of the midfield when in possession.

    These tactical plans come from extensive opposition scouting and careful analysis of each squad member’s strengths and weaknesses, drawn up by Postecoglou and his technical staff. This match was a good example of how clear planning and player tasks can maximise each player’s abilities while still bringing the key principles to life – all the way up until the finishing, at least.

    We can expect a similarly detailed plan in the second leg, where the coaching staff will have analysed this match, assessed what worked and what did not.

    With fresh faces like Tom Rogic, Matthew Leckie and Mark Milligan to introduce into the fold, Postecoglou has plenty of options. Regardless of his selection, however, and whether he sticks or twists with this unique 3-4-3 diamond formation, overloading that midfield zone, and getting the likes of Rogic, Mooy and Luongo driving at the defence will be critical to an Australian victory.

    Tim Palmer
    Tim Palmer

    Tim is a football coach, writer, analyst and sports scientist. He has worked with the Socceroos in an analysis role, has completed the FFA B Licence, is currently a player in the Australian Deaf Football Team and coaches in the NSW NPL. You can follow him on Twitter @timpalmerftbl.

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • November 15th 2017 @ 7:24am
      Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      Another good football write up, and you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to Ange’s football philosophy – keep the ball until you can create an overload in a critical area of the pitch.

      The 3-2-4–1 formation is meant to help that, and you say “the combination of two 6s (holding midfielders) and two 10s (attacking midfielders), in theory, overloads any opponent that plays with two or three players in the central zone“ … the most important words in that statement are *in theory*.

      In theory it does, and it will if your opponent plays to your strengths, but they rarely do that and instead they do something different – typically exploiting the Flanks and go around the outside of the double 10s/6’s where Australia are not so well staffed. This stuffs the game plan and while the team reacts to a lack of attacking overloads in their favour and the appearance of defensive deficiencies on both of their wings, everything starts to look rather disjointed and laboured.

      Worse still, none of the central midfielders are playing in their preferred positions when the game is set up and then they’re dragged across the park “fighting fires” for 90 minutes raising questions not just on the formation, but whether Ange is using players to their actual strengths – hence the regular comments of “do we have the cattle for this?”

      A back three is fine “in theory” but it exposes your flanks (which is akin to a dog rolling over and asking for a belly rub imo) with the flanks being the most natural place for a team to attack anyway, the moment you expose them further you’re just asking for trouble.

      Any battle strategy/tactics are fine in theory. It’s just the opposition that gets in the way, as Ange is finding out.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 7:54am
        Fadida said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        Good points Waz. Again, like me I don’t think that many Australian football fans have an issue with Ange’s philosophy; proactive, aggressive, front foot. The issue is with the system and choice of personnel.

        Tim is correct, overloads are the key. In a 433 derivative the overloads would come in wide areas, now they are central. As Waz points out, our issues are when the flanks are exposed, which they are frequently in transition. Our predictable approach to playing out compounds this, there is little margin for error.

        Thanks again Tim

        • November 15th 2017 @ 9:26am
          punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Waz & Fadida,

          I don’t believe in that we are too predictable at all, I believe that this overloading & allowing our wingbacks to get into space is working wonders. If you think back to the Honduras game, that big miss by the Socceroos was a run by Risdon (right wingback) & cut into the middle & had both Juric & Behich (left wingback) to hit. Asian cup final our winning goal, Juric broke down then right & if keeper had not parried onto Troisi’s path, Davidson (left wingback) would’ve had tap in.
          Now what I do agree with you guys ons selection or not well staffed of the wingbacks. You need players with huge engine & speed, Leckie & Smith just stands out. However unfortunately, Smith has not played much & is either in poor form or just not good enough & Leckie is more of an attacker & still has a poor 1st touch. Now while Ridson & Behich may not be as dynamic as Leckie or a potential Smith, they are solid. This also relies on the holding midfielder(s) to cover, why maybe Jedinak better then Milligan, as Milligan more aggressive.

          There is no doubt we lack the personnel, but my question has always been how do we get better if we at least don’t try. We have to go thru a transition because technically & tactically we are well behind the big teams in the world (always have been), we have athletic ability & strong will to win, once we start to get more players technically & tactically aware, we can hopefully see the Socceroos be far more competitive in the ‘BIG SHOW’ with our typical Australian strength.

          • November 15th 2017 @ 9:58am
            Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said but the match performances show things aren’t working … you can follow that with “yet” or “and never will” depending on your perspective, but they’re not working.

            Three at the back gets tried, tested and adandoned more that any other formation I recon (Aloisi and Roar this year – only took him 3.5 games to give up) so Ange In selecting this option – of all the options available to him – is taking a risk, possibly even bring reckless.

            As you say, it can work and the positives in the formation are all there. The theory is very sound.

            But it comes with a soft underbelly of exposed flanks and, as in jb’s analogy below where it’s a game of chess with both players moving the pieces at the same time, that underbelly gets exposed frequently (and easily imo – you just go around the central line of strength) and teams with 3 at the back end up reacting to opponents counter tactics way more than they do applying the benefits the system can bring.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 10:24am
              Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

              “exposed flanks” How? If the ball goes down the flank the outside CB goes out to meet the attacker and his position is filled with a DM dropping back into his vacated position. No exposed flank at all.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 10:56am
                Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

                Yes there is Caltex. It’s how coaches are “coached” to counter 3 at the back and it’s what happens.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 12:20pm
                Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                No disagree; the CB moves out to meet the attacker down the flank and the DM drops back to fill in his vacated spot—suddenly you have 4 at the back and 5 if the other DM midfielder deems it necessary to drop back in the line as well.

                The reason we have leaked goals is not because of the 3 at the back system, it is because of some bad turnovers which occurred from our players; Milligan to name the most recent offender.

                Just to note if you have a look at the goals scored against us, you will see we have had up to 6 players back defending the box.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 12:40pm
                Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                Caltex – I hope your comment sparks Tim to do a retrospective forensic on the goals scored against us. My recollection is of a few cases where we had plenty back when the ball went in the net but they were late arriving and disorganised in the lead up.

                Also, singling out Milligan for ‘that’ pass ignores the fact that a simple opposition press exposed the frailty of the Aus formation when it’s combined with obsessive playing out from the back.

                Even great players make mistakes but the current approach is not even remotely fault tolerant. Even against a poor Honduras we relied on individual heroics – like Sainsbury’s sliding tackle in the box – to rescue us.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Rendondo – even if we had four at the back that goal scored by Syria was going to occur, as it was straight through the middle where the mistake occurred—not out wide on the flank. Milligan chose the wrong option not because we were pressed that heavily, he lost concentration and chose the wrong option playing it back into the centre.

                And speaking of Sainsbury, he made the mistake of back peddling too quickly, which kept the eventual goal scorer on side. If he had jockied the player who won possession the eventual pass to that player outside of him would have been in an offside position when he received the ball. Also Sainsbury, was caught by the opposition breaking the offside trap, which happens in a back 4 as well. (Although I thought it was clearly offside)

              • November 15th 2017 @ 2:04pm
                Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Caltex, disagree all you like the problem with 3 at the back are numerous and well documented; it’s tried often but stopped almost as often. The theory is simple but the execution complex.

                Consider these:

                – the back three are all playing in unfamiliar positions.
                – the two DMs are playing in unfamiliar positions.
                – the two AMs are playing in unfamiliar positions.

                In a nutshell, 70% of your outfield players are playing out of position unless they play it at their club. A sole DM is different to a dual DM role.

                The back three creates more problems than advantages, which is why it’s so rare. Most of the problems you see in the Roo’s play can be traced back to problems with the set up and the subsequent game plan – it is supposed to create an attacking advantage while retaining depth in defence, but invariably the players spend most of their time bring dragged left to right to cover gaps.

                City tried and failed two years ago, Roar tried and failed this year, Man Utd even tried and failed a few years back. And since the Roos have started playing this way we’ve had very few good performances.

                I get the theory, I like the theory, but my experience watching the execution of it is more often than not its poor.

                A more experienced coach than me once said it’s the football equivalent of patting your head while rubbing your tummy; it can be done but it’s not natural, you have to think about it, and every now and again it stuffs up.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 5:18pm
                Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                @ Waz –

                “Man Utd even tried and failed a few years back.”

                Man C are doing it and they are the league leaders, Chelsea won a title with the back 3 system. Real Madrid are doing it and are league leaders. Germany are doing it and they are World Champions. The system is proven to be every bit as good as a back 4 and even better.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 5:41pm
                Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

                So Australia has the same quality players and coaches as Chelsea, Man City and Germany do they?

                And how do Australia’s performances compare to those three then??

                And how many other teams in the world follow this set up? Very few – ever wondered why?

                The evidence is not here in these discussions it’s in the haphazard performances the Roos have been delivering ever since they moved to a back 3.

                But hey, shoot me down. All I said was the emperor has no clothes lol.

              • November 16th 2017 @ 9:43am
                Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

                Waz – we are playing in the AFC not in Europe and our players are as every bit as good as those who play in the AFC. So why would need to take a pragmatic football philosophy playing in AFC—we had that philosophy under Pim Verbeek.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 10:28am
              Fadida said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

              Agree Waz. With the players we have ie 2/3 centre backs below the required quality, and wing backs who I’d also argue aren’t quite suitable, we are too easy to score against.

              Rather than chess I’d say it’s Russian Roulette. Every game against a good opponent is a serious gamble. The ideal formation should tip the odds in your favour, not make every game a 50-50 proposition.

              From the first leg it appears Honduras aren’t a good side, but our defensive vulnerability, openness in transition, lack of bodies in wide areas probably increase the chances of a score draw. Unnecessarily.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 10:32am
              Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

              Waz – last few lines absolutely spot on. Proactive in theory but reactive in practice because of the combination of formation, available players and opposition response.

              Which is not to say the strategy never works, but too often it seems it doesn’t.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 11:06am
                Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                That’s it. The theory is sound but in practice what is supposed to happen doesn’t.

          • November 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
            Fadida said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report


            I’d argue the predictability is in playing out from the back and through midfield every time. It allows sides to push on to us and press us, safe in the knowledge that we won’t suddenly play a longer ball in behind.

            Honduras was something of an exception. I had a discussion with Caltex pre game around how they would play it, and it pretty much panned out that way I think. For much of the game they conceded our back 3rd, letting us play out, hoping to win the ball in midfield and exploit the space behind.

            Contrast this with the Japan game, and even the Syria games, two much better teams than this Honduras one, away to Japan they pressed us, knowing we’d play out, and scored goals by winning the ball from our errors, errors they set up to punish because we are predictable in our approach. Even an occasional longer ball would have forced them to drop off a little and allow us to play out more often than not.

            In regards the Asian Cup, we played a 433 derivative so I’m not sure the relevance of the reference. This is more likely to back my stance, that a 433 provides overloads in wide areas.

            I agree totally, if we don’t try, how do we get better. Again I’d argue this is philosophy, not system related. I’ve always advocated a positive approach, aggressive, proactive, but playing 3 at the back is not the only way to do it. It makes us no more potent going forward but much more vulnerable without the ball. I don’t want us to go back to a conservative approach because the only way to improve players is by having the ball.

            As always I enjoy the discussion, and let’s hope the belief that Honduras are a poor side is proven tonight!

            PS, related to the Lucas Neill tale this morning, we’d kill for him at his peak to partner Sainsbury, in a back 3, 5 X the player Wright and Jurman are

            • November 15th 2017 @ 10:35am
              punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              Fadida & Waz fully understand your views on back 3. I would not be displeased with us going back to a back 4.

              My view & always has been, we are in the process of transition, let’s look at Japan, they can play possession football, just have a look at their ACL sides, they look far more comfortable on the ball then their Aussie counterpart. Now I can understand when Japan can mix it up (play out form the back or hit it long) because they can.
              So until us Aussies can learn to play out form the back even in the most dire positions, once we can master this, we can then mix it up. Otherwise if Ange gives them the luxury to clear under pressure, we may never learn.

              Now you may say maybe the WC qualification not the right place to try this, I say what better place to show the youth of today, by seeing their national heroes doing so.

              Once we are as proficient as the Japanese are on the ball, I believe we can mix it up as well.

              I hope one day we can produce a player that can have the 1st touch & vision of a player like Mario Gotze, see his touch in last minute against France today.
              Imagine a Leckie with Gotze touch & vision, wow.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 12:35pm
                Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Agree Punter, on the subject playing out from the back, you need options and yes 3 at the back is a bit more difficult—unless you have the 2 DM coming back in the channels to create 5 options for Ryan to deliver to. I reckon we are on the right track after our last game against H. We are now getting the job done.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 5:46pm
                Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report


                If Ange was staying in beyond the WC then this move would have made more sense. As it is he’s not, and there’s no guarantee a successor will stick with a back three either.

                Had we have done better in qualifying I would agree it was a risk worth taking. But we limped through qualifying.

                Had we not been a goalpost away from getting knocked out by Syria last time out I’d be happier too.

                But we struggled badly in the Con Feds cup and we will struggle in the World Cup unless he can fix it before then – but there are no signs we are any closer to making it work.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 12:33pm
              punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

              Lucas Neill, Yes, yes & yes.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 8:27am
      chris said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Whether you overload one side of the park, or the other, or centrally, the key is to get the defending team to commit to that side and then switching the point of attack quickly to take advantage of numbers on transition. When people comment about teams passing the ball and keeping possession just for the sake of it, they miss the main point and that is teams (like Spain) wait for opportunities and for everyone to be set for them to attack at goal. Its a game of patience and one that takes extreme technical ability and technical nous. The Japanese do this well, however they lack a cutting edge (a 9) and that nullifies a lot of the good work they do in midfield.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Well said Chris, possession and patience. No matter what system you employ; if it’s a back four or a back three you need to dominate the possession stats and move the ball around in triangles.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 9:38am
          punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          When you have possession, you can rest, you are not chasing the ball (like the Irish did this morning), this allows you to keep your energy to press at the right time, so many goals, even at the highest levels many goals are scored by teams pressing & forcing mistakes.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 8:54am
      punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      Thanks Tim, I hope one day it your articles get the most clicks as we mature as a footballing nation & can discuss tactics like you have here.
      For all the criticism of Ange, he is tactically astute.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 9:09am
      j,binnie said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      The difference in planning football strategy and playing chess can all be put down to one thing.
      In the game of chess,only one man on each side is making the moves,the “chessmen” are at his beck and call constantly.
      Football is another game completely. In it a coach will try to instill his ideas into 11 other ‘minds” then sit back and hope his “charges” will carry out his every instruction to the letter “T”.
      If they do, then it may well be proved that the coach’s strategies were well founded.However if those 11 “minds” start to think for themselves who knows what might take place.?
      That is the danger in “over analysis” of a game.
      No analyst really knows what a coach’s game plan is and therefore can only assume from what he ,the analyst, sees being played out on the pitch as to what a team is trying to achieve
      When it is remembered that there are two teams (22 minds) on the field that have been instructed by another 2 minds,pro- active game analysis actually becomes more of a game of Russian roulette.
      Of course post game analysis is achieved with the huge benefit of hindsight so that this article,although well meaning, is yesterday’s news, and has little ,if any , bearing on what will happen tonight.. Cheers jb.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 9:13am
        Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Beautifully put.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 9:29am
        punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        JB, your knowledge & experience comes shinning thru on this post.

      • Roar Pro

        November 15th 2017 @ 9:30am
        David McDaniel said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        Excellent comment jb, you have hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head!

        Ange plays those he trusts to carry out his vision so that is why he sometimes picks players most disagree with and not players most scream for. Its about the team and how it works together rather than individuals.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 10:00am
          Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          “Its about the team and how it works together rather than individuals” … exactly, but it’s not working at the moment is it?

      • November 15th 2017 @ 10:57am
        Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        JB – I don’t understand your last sentence. Obviously the article itself doesn’t change anything, but post-game analysis from Saturday’s game will quite likely have a big impact on how Honduras play tonight.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 11:33am
          j,binnie said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          Redondo – Surely you understand that what happened last week will influence how both coaches approach tonight’s game.
          Not being accessible to both coaches and what they are thinking, it is nigh impossible for anyone like we bloggers to envisage the thoughts and actions of what will govern tonight’s game.
          We will ,like Tim, be able to say with some authority ,what did occur in this game ,but, not until tomorrow.
          That is where true game analysis lies in the overall coaching spectrum ,a coach can give orders,pick who he considers will “do the job”, but after that whistle goes, the outcome is in the hands of the players , or even the officials, God forbid. Cheers jb

          • November 15th 2017 @ 11:53am
            Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            “Surely you understand that what happened last week will influence how both coaches approach tonight’s game”

            I do understand – that’s exactly what I’m saying. I guess I don’t agree about not being able to foresee what will happen in tonight’s game.

            Each coach will adjust but they won’t abandon their philosophy or habits. Some of the more well-informed posters here could probably make fairly accurate predictions about what will happen tonight.

            The problem Aus has had for the last 18 months is that clearly weaker teams have been able to exploit things we do so predictably and often badly, like always playing out through a press.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 9:26am
      Curious George said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Score predictions for this evening ?

      • Roar Pro

        November 15th 2017 @ 9:30am
        David McDaniel said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        2-1 our way, more gray hairs for me and lots of jubilation!

      • November 15th 2017 @ 5:49pm
        Waz said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

        3-1 Australia.

        0-0 at half time.

        2-0 with ten minutes to go.

        2-1 when they pull a goal back to send us all in a frenzy.

        3-1 with a Mooy free kick deep in 5 minutes of injury time we all can’t work out where it came from.

        Usual stuff ?

      • November 15th 2017 @ 6:40pm
        Gavin R said | November 15th 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

        1-0 with an 85th minute winner from Cahill. Would we do it any other way?

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
      Ben of Phnom Penh said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      Nice article, Tim. The formation has greater merit when the wider players have the natural defensive attributes to protect exposed flanks. Too much aggression out wide risks exposure from longer passes that by-pass the crowded midfield. Like all formations it is a balancing act.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 11:00am
        Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        If we had Jordi Alba and Dani Alves it would all be so much simpler.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 11:30am
          punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          Better still Marcelo, though he is prone to errors in defence, but best attacking fullback.

          • November 15th 2017 @ 12:15pm
            Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            Last thing we need is more errors in defence! But it would be stunning to have a Marcelo in the team.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 12:32pm
              punter said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

              Yes if we had Marcelo, I would keep him away from the defence, I would put him anywhere in the front 4, except striker & tell him, just ‘do it’.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 12:45pm
                Redondo said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                Like some genius did with Gareth Bale.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 1:10pm
        Fadida said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Agree Ben, the balance is so much better with fullbacks as wing backs

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