Friendlies Finished: Now Socceroos Get Serious
April 01, 2015
Even die hard Socceroos supporters will admit they should have hit snooze on their alarms instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to watch Australia’s dour draw with FYR Macedonia. Most expected and easy win for the visitors, who just days before played out a thrilling 2-2 tie with World Champions Germany. But the international friendly with a nation ranked 107 below the World Cup Winners was poles apart from the entertaining encounter in Kaiserslautern, as Australia lacked fluency; while it seemed Macedonia were happy not to lose. Still the Socceroos undefeated run now stands at five games ahead of their first World Cup Qualifier in June.
Positives From Dull Draw
While Australia were hardly tested at the back, coach Ange Postecoglou can still be pleased his side kept a clean sheet. Another man thrilled the Socceroos didn’t concede was debutant Tarek Elrich, who was solid in the backline. Chris Ikonomidis also earned his first cap for his country, the Lazio based teenager became the 579th Socceroo after entering the match off the bench. He also became the first player since 1980 to debut for the Socceroos before playing a senior club game.
Unfortunately for Australia though highlights on the night were limited as they failed to create enough up front. Asian Cup player of the tournament Massimo Luongo looked a little rusty on his return to the side after he missed the match against Germany with a groin injury. Though with his English Club Swindon Town currently pushing for promotion, the League One team will be glad to see the 22 year old got through 90 minutes unscathed. With both goals remaining unscathed the showdown in Skopje won’t live long in the memory; though it won’t need to with much more important fixtures on the horizon.
World Cup Qualification
The Socceroos will begin their 2018 World Cup Qualification campaign in mid June but won’t know who they’ll face until after the Asian Qualifying Second Round Draw is made in Malaysia on April 14. 40 counties will be in the hat while the seedings for the draw will be based on the latest FIFA Rankings available. Despite being crowned Asian Champions in January the Aussies are currently the fourth highest ranked nation in Asia though their position may alter before the next World Rankings are released on April 9. The Socceroos will be the highest ranked side in their group which will consist of four other nations they’ll battle home and away.
After what Australia has delivered in 2015 so far, the Socceroos should to stroll through to the final round of Qualification for the World Cup in Russia in 3 years time. Nothing’s certain in football but it does appear like a matter of when rather than if.