The recent match against Japan clearly showed Australia’s weakness in attack on the night. But if better players had been selected, they could have posed much more of a threat.
Australia have absolutely nothing to be worried about.
Graham Arnold has the side playing at an incredibly high level. They’ve won nine games in a row and just thumped a China side boasting the likes of Wu Lei and Elkeson 3-0.
Australia have the likes of Martin Boyle, Harry Souttar, and Awer Mabil, who have all been playing exceptionally well recently.
Australia now just need to focus on continuing to play the way they are. If they do that, they will most likely top the group, and at the very least, finish second and qualify for the World Cup.
Japan’s 0-1 loss to Oman shouldn’t have Australia concerned. Their loss doesn’t really say that much about Oman because Japan were terrible.
The fact that they let a team ranked 50 spots below them dominate the game at home speaks volumes. They played scared, lacked any sort of ideas in attack, and couldn’t transition from defence to attack effectively.
The manager Hajime Moriyasu starts overrated players, deploys confusing tactics, and benches quality players such as Kubo Doan and Kyogo Furuhashi. In other words, he’s the Mikel Arteta of Asia.
If they get their act together quickly, they could very well be in the hunt for a spot in the World Cup. But there’s no reason to trust Moriyasu.
Japan may beat Saudi Arabia next month and follow it up with a loss to Vietnam. If they don’t improve, however, they stand no chance of qualifying.
Saudi Arabia are playing well, however they have trouble converting their chances. Just look at the game against Vietnam for example.
They had 21 total shots but had to rely on two penalties and a red card in order to secure the win. Even if they start to play better and actually convert their chances, playing up to Australia’s level will be a steep task.
Oman were bang average. Any of the other sides in the group would’ve beaten Japan 2-0 or 3-0.
In fact, the game should’ve ended 0-0 but Oman got lucky that Naomichi Ueda couldn’t mark his man. The game said more about Japan than about Oman.
The Socceroos should be able to defeat them next month.