4th World cup
FIFA Ranking: 59
Best result: 1/8
Our resident cartoonist hails a milestone reached by the veteran Socceroo and examines the Dutch influence on Ange Postecoglou’s side Take a look back through David’s archive of Australian cartoons Continue reading...
Next season’s opening round may clash with possible Socceroos’ play-offSydney FC kick off with grand final replay against Melbourne VictoryFootball Federation Australia has decided not to push round one of the upcoming A-League season back to cater for potential Socceroos’ World Cup qualifying play-offs and New Zealand internationals.Should Australia finish third in their qualifying group, Ange Postecoglou’s national team will face arduous play-off rounds starting with home and away games against another Asian nation on 5 and 10 October. Related: Aaron Mooy's likely Manchester City exit raises questions in Australia Continue reading...
By the coach’s own admission, Australia fell short at the Confederations Cup and much of his legacy will now depend on their next two World Cup qualifiersAnge Postecoglou wants to revolutionise Australian football. He has said so repeatedly during his four-year reign at the helm of the national team, and his players are quick to repeat this mantra at every opportunity. The 51-year-old aspires to create a Socceroos side that favours passing over pragmatism, creative attack over aerial bombardment. It is fitting, then, that the first true test of Postecoglou’s football revolution came at the Fifa Confederations Cup in Russia. 100 years after a series of political revolts across this vast country changed the course of human history, the Australians arrived in Sochi intending to show the fruits of their own rebellion. Related: Confederations Cup: Russian revolution means warm welcome for Socceroos fans | Kieran Pender Continue reading...
Claims that the Russia team at the 2014 World Cup were part of doping scandal have been roundly dismissed by Russia 2018 CEO Alexey Sorokin.
The Roja boss reserved words of praise for the shotstopper after he helped his side reach the Confederations Cup semi-final
The Australia veteran reached 100 caps but couldn't help the Socceroos into the next round of the Confederations Cup
Australia exited the Confederations Cup on Sunday but not before giving Chile an almighty fright in Moscow.
Ange Postecoglou praised his side's display in the 1-1 draw with Chile but rued the fact Australia exited the Confederations Cup.
A suggestion for the man to supplant Igor Akinfeev in Russia's goal and a frank admission from Julian Draxler feature in our round-up.
Juan Antonio Pizzi reserved words of praise for Claudio Bravo after the Chile goalkeeper helped La Roja reach the Confederations Cup semis.
With Tim Cahill outstanding, Australia proved they are on the right track under Ange Postecoglou after drawing 1-1 with Chile in Moscow.
Martin Rodriguez came off the substitutes' bench to ensure Chile drew with Australia, a result that sees them into the last four.
• Chile 1-1 Australia (Troisi 42; Rodríguez 67)• Socceroos exit as Chile lineup last four Confederations Cup tie with PortugalThe line between genius and insanity can be wafer thin. When Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou made six changes to his starting line-up to face South American champions Chile, many of his critics in the media centre and the stands thought he was deluded. The embattled manager left two of his best attacking players – Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic – on the bench, for an encounter Australia needed to win by two goals to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-finals.On a warm Moscow evening, Postecoglou’s surprising team selection proved inspired. Australia played with vigour and dynamism, matching and at times even outplaying a Chilean side 44 places above them in the Fifa rankings. Following two insipid performances in recent days, the Socceroos were outstanding on Sunday. Related: Chile 1-1 Australia: Confederations Cup – as it happened Continue reading...
The former Everton ace has had a 13-year international career and reached the historic milestone in Sunday's encounter
Chile look to secure their qualification to the Confederations Cup semi-finals when they face the Socceroos. Follow along LIVE
Tim Cahill will be the first outfield player to earn 100 senior caps for Australia, with only Mark Schwarzer ahead on the all-time list.
Live updates from the Socceroos’ final Group game in MoscowGet in touch with Sam on email or via Twitter @sjjperry 4.05pm BST 4 min: The ball is ping-ponging around the midfield as tackles slide in on the greasy surface. Luongo eventually goes through a Chilean whose name I can’t quite catch - it’s actually pretty reckless but the ref lets him go with a talking to and nothing more. 4.03pm BST 2 min: Luongo picks the ball up in a little bit of space about ten yards from the area and has a long-range pop. It skews off the boot and is well wide, but a positive early sign. 4.02pm BST Kick-off, and we’re away...The commentators I have here, Motson and Danny Higginbotham, both seem to think it will be an open game too. At the risk of revealing myself as an admirer of Don Quixote myself - I really hope they’re right. What’s the merit in scrapping and scraping your way without ambition to a likely defeat anyway? Forza Ange! 4.00pm BST A quick note, I’ve been totally played by the cameras and strategic crowd placement. The crowd is a little more scattered than I originally thought. 3.58pm BST On the anthemsA naturally rousing rendition of Chile’s national anthem. As ever, the a cappella section to finish is a hell of a sight. The Australian players, by contrast, recite the anthem in a droning manfully low octave. There’s a very healthy crowd in to see this. 3.56pm BST The players are out there...Cahill leads out the Australians, and there was a tribute to his 100th cap in the warm-ups too. 3.54pm BST For the kit aficionados ...The Socceroos will wear a changed strip today. A bit of novelty is always nice.1⃣ hour until kick-off in #CHIAUS! Score predictions? #ConfedCup pic.twitter.com/bh9BDAKzsZ 3.52pm BST Just on the team newsPostecoglou has rung a decent number of changes here: Gersbach, Leckie, Mooy and Rogic make way for McGowan, Irvine, Luongo and Cahill respectively. No Mooy and no Rogic might make things a little interesting... 3.46pm BST Australia XI: Ryan; Milligan, Sainsbury, McGowan; Irvine, Luongo; Kruse, Cahill, Troisi, Behich; Juric.Chile XI: Bravo; Isla, Jara, Paulo Díaz, Mena; F.Silva, Fuenzalida, Aránguiz; Vidal; Alexis, Vargas. 3.45pm BST Afternoon, morning, evening, silly o’clock to all, and welcome to our coverage of the final Confederations Cup group game between Australia and Chile, being played in Moscow - home to the Russian giants, Spartak. For a tournament that tends to engender various views on its importance (depending on whether you’re winning or losing), today’s fixture is littered with that wonderful phenomenon for journalists: sub-plots. Let’s have a look at a few: 12.09pm BST Sam will be here shortly. Russia are out of their own tournament; here’s how they went down: Related: Hirving Lozano seals Mexico win to send Russia out of Confederations Cup Continue reading...
The coach believes the veteran star's achievements should be recognised throughout his homeland, while the player is simply staying focused
Australia boss Ange Postecoglou is confident his side can pull off the improbable and beat Chile by two goals on Sunday.
Ange Postecoglou hailed the contribution of Tim Cahill to Australian football with the veteran on the verge of his 100th cap.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is fit and in contention to start La Roja's game with Australia in Moscow on Sunday.
Australia are on the right path under head coach Ange Postecoglou, according to forward James Troisi.
Thursday's diary is all about explanations, from the summer 'snow' in Moscow to the story behind the Cristiano Ronaldo mural in Kazan.
Vincent Aboubakar missed a host of chances in Cameroon's 1-1 draw with Australia, a result that did few favours for either side.
Cameroon hatched a plan to exploit space between Mathew Ryan and the Australia defence and it came up trumps for Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Ange Postecoglou will stick to his attacking guns as Australia boss but balance and stability are a must after another uneven showing.
The Video Assistant Referee overshadowed Cameroon's 1-1 draw with Australia at the Confederations Cup.
• Cameroon 1-1 Australia (Anguissa 45; Milligan 60pen)It was a result that suited neither side, an enthralling end-to-end encounter that failed to separate the teams. After drawing 1-1 with the African champions Cameroon at the cavernous Saint Petersburg Stadium on Thursday, Australia are on the brink of a group-stage exit at the 2017 Confederations Cup.With both teams losing their opening games – Australia soundly beaten by Germany and Cameroon downed by Chile – anything less than three points in a first ever meeting between the two sides looked likely to leave each requiring a helping hand in the final round of group matches. Related: Socceroos face uphill task after being edged out by Germany Continue reading...
Live updates from the Socceroos’ second Group B game in Saint PetersburgGet in touch with Sam on email or via Twitter @sjjperry 5.40pm BST Yellow card: Bailey Wright (80’). He comes over the top of the ball in what looked an otherwise strong tackle. Slightly unlucky. 5.38pm BST 78 mins: Substitution Australia - Rogic off, Irvine onRogic’s been quiet this second half. Looking forward to seeing Irvine here - he’s been bright in the qualifiers. Meanwhile, thats Australia’s subs done with about 15 minutes to go. 5.37pm BST 77 mins: the ball is swung in to the area, but Aboubakar heads over. He had some power behind it too, but it was always going over. Methinks the Lions have just turned the dial on this match a little bit. 5.36pm BST 75 mins: Substitution Cameroon - Moukandjo off, Toko on 5.34pm BST 73 mins: Cameroon still sitting back, inviting Australia in. Right on cue, Mooy misplaces a pass and Cameroon drive at the defence. Mooy, in an act of atonement, doubles back to break things up. I wonder how structurally gung-ho Australia will be heading into the last ten. Would Postecoglou take a share of points against the indomitable Lions? 5.30pm BST 70 mins: Substitution Australia - Juric off, Cahill on“Our Timmy” 5.29pm BST 69 mins: Cameroonian keeper, Ondoa, dummies Leckie outside the box, much to the crowd’s amusement. Approaching the home straight, Cameroon fashioning the most meaty chances, but Australia doing enough remain a sniff. 5.27pm BST Interesting view on the penalty from Greg. Take it away:“Watching the game with the volume muted for obvious reasons,” says Greg, “I only looked up there as the video review was in progress for the penalty decision, and initially thought they were reviewing a stamp on the Cameroon player’s leg. So in summary, VAR is only as good as the referees implementing it.” 5.25pm BST 65 mins: Substitution Australia - Kruse off, Troisi on. 5.24pm BST 64 mins: ooof. Lovely move from the Lions, starting with a beautiful chest-control-swivel-pass motion that opened the space to begin with. Aboubakar couldn’t finish. 5.23pm BST 61 mins: The match resumes its rhythm of Australian possession and Cameroonian counter-attack, though it will be interesting to see whether Australia double-down, so to speak, or add caution given the score. 5.20pm BST Milligan strides in and comfortably converts, rolling the ball to the bottom-left corner. The keeper guessed correctly, but it was superbly placed. Cool stuff from the experienced midfielder. Game on, I guess. 5.18pm BST Australia’s Gersbach is brought down (or is he?) in the area. It looks a penalty, it’s given a penalty. It will be Milligan to take it. Quick decision, seemed fair enough. 5.17pm BST 56 mins: Best chance of the game blown by the Lions. They get to the byline once again - the ball is cut back to Aboubakar, who’s in acres of space, and he side side-foots it wide. Golden chance. 5.13pm BST 52 mins: More possession for Australia, who are focusing their foray’s down Cameroon’s left hand side. They fancy Kruse to find some space, I feel. Still, the Lions look comfortable. 5.11pm BST 50 mins: Think Australia will still be rueing that miss from Juric, as Cameroon look to consolidate after the scare. A similar start here to the first half, where Australia look on top and Cameroon a little sleepy. 5.07pm BST 46 mins: A great chance for Australia! Leckie beats a sliding (two-footed!) challenge on the right touchline and squares the ball in to Juric. It’s a little behind him but he has time to get a shot away (and possibly time to play one more pass to an unmarked man at the far post) - he blasts it high and wide, much to Postecoglou’s poker-faced chagrin, I suspect. Australia’s best chance, comfortably. 5.05pm BST 45 mins: Peeeeeep! I’ve seen others write that on the blog, I just wanted to feel what it was like, too. We’re back, if you were wondering. 5.02pm BST A question via email while we’re here:“Hey Sam,” writes Dan.“Having seen brief glimpses of this first half and the NZ MEX game, is it fair to wonder whether AUS would still be the top dog in Oceania if they hadn’t already moved to Asian WCQs?I guess it is easier to set up more defensively, but then again the Kiwis bossed large parts of that first half.Just a thought, I have no horse in the race myself.” 5.00pm BST HALF-TIME: 1-0 CameroonAfter 40 minutes of relative parity, Cameroon’s late goal will sting the Socceroos. The Lions grew into the half, and evidence of their vibrancy and potency built at a consistent rhythm as the half wore on. They deserve their lead. Related: Confederations Cup: Russian revolution means warm welcome for Socceroos fans | Kieran Pender 4.49pm BST They were pushing, Cameroon, and they have the first goal through a smart ball in behind that (again) exposed Australia’s back three, followed by a delicate dink of the bouncing ball from Anguissa that’s too deft for Ryan’s onrushing body and hands. John Motson tells us it’s Anguissa’s first international goal, and it’s a wonderful way to open his account. They just about deserved that, Cameroon. That will be half-time. Some thoughts to follow. 4.45pm BST 45+1 mins: a minute added 4.44pm BST 41 mins: Swift counterattack from the Lions leaves Bassogog skinning Degenek. He gets one of those professional bumps on the striker that breaks his pace and balance, and Australia survive. They’d take this at half-time. 4.42pm BST 38 mins: They go short, then play it to the top of the area, but it comes to nothing. Another raid leaves Ryan running some distance to get the ball, but he flaps, and it’s another corner. Again, nothing. Juric then wins a free kick and it’s all okay. 4.40pm BST 37 mins: Aboubakar giving Sainsbury a bit of a headache here - running directly at him and nearly escaping his clutches to unleash on Ryan. They look dangerous when running at Australia’s defenders. Corner to come. 4.34pm BST 31 mins: Great ball in from Gersback - his second dangerous ball today. It finds Juric whose shot is straight at the keeper. It had a bit of sting but it would have been harder for the keeper to miss it than save it. 4.33pm BST 30 mins: Cameroon just warming into this now. Again they isolate Gersbach and almost find themselves in behind. They’re advancing the ball very quickly - no slow build up play from them - and are clearly backing themselves to get behind a high Australian line. 4.28pm BST 27 mins: Fairly even contest so far here. Australia look assured - they’re certainly looking as likely, if not a trifle more, than their counterparts. The much-maligned play around the back three has felt safe so far, and both Rogic and Mooy have started well. 4.26pm BST 24 mins: Cameroon have regularly found space behind Australia’s left edge, and Teikeu’s able to deliver a ball that results in a corner. As is the tale of the set piece today, it’s limp and it’s cleared by the first man. Of course, you could hear any Australian voice somewhere in there yelling ‘away!’. Why does someone always have to say it? 4.23pm BST 21 mins: But it’s Rogic, and his swinging left-footer fails to trouble the goalkeeper, and, by extension, the goal. It sails well over the bar - it could have been better. 4.21pm BST 20 mins: Australia with a free kick now from a preferable position - just beyond the ‘D’ that extends from the area. Mooy hovers over it... 4.20pm BST 18 mins: Another free kick for Cameroon from the same distance, but this time on the right. Bassogog shuns the blast for a dink - it evades everyone and bounces harmlessly away for a goal kick. 4.17pm BST 16 mins: #tacticswatch - Postecoglou has ditched Mooy in an advanced role, it would appear. He’s back in the quarterback/deep lying midfielder role today. 4.15pm BST 14 mins: Sainsbury needlessly brings down Aboubakar,which results in a free kick from a decent distance. Aboubakar fires into the wall - with fairly weak contact, and the follow-up shot balloons wide. 4.13pm BST 11 mins: Quieter period of possession for Cameroon, stroking it around the backline before sending a long ball forward in a bid to get seconds. They don’t, and that’s a good sign for Australia - who are sitting appreciably deeper than they were against Germany, though that’s not saying much. 4.10pm BST 9 mins: More patient build up play from Australia, Rogic moving well between lines and linking well with Kruse, who’s eventually jostled off the ball for a goal-kick. Neat stuff from Australia. 4.08pm BST 7 mins: Cameroon wins a free-kick on the left touchline. It fails to beat the first man but the second wave results in a hard volley from Aboubakar, who hits the side netting. Early warning signs for Australia. 4.06pm BST 4 mins: Early sense that this will be end-to-end. Two more reasonably attacking forays in the interim. Kruse crosses in but can’t find Juric’s head, quickly followed by a Cameroonian raid the resulted in a shot from a narrow angle. 4.03pm BST 2 mins: Bright start from the men in gold. They build from the back patiently, advance the ball forward and Kruse, who’s made his way into the starting line-up, contrives a shot from the right edge. It’s straight at the keeper. 4.02pm BST Kick offAustralia kick-off, they’re running right-to-left on your TV screens. Can’t not say that with Ray Warren’s voice in my head. Sacrilegious in this forum, I know. 4.00pm BST “G’day Sam,” says Alan.“I’ll be watching the game this morning as well as following your comms - good luck, and I hope there’s plenty to keep you active and interested.I hope we are not as thuggish as our Kiwi cousins.....” 3.58pm BST Big stadium, small crowd. The #ALeague alumni in the #Socceroos squad will feel right at home... #ConfedCup #CMRAUS pic.twitter.com/DXvHWYbcTX 3.57pm BST It’s a fairly sparsely populated crowd, without strategically ‘full’ pockets either. Everyone wants their own space. It’s like when you have a few seats to choose from on the train - be as far away from anyone else as possible. Or is that just me?We could hear the Australian players singing the national anthem. They lacked lustre and melody. An omen? 3.55pm BST The players are out on the field.They’re in the tunnel, and start to make their purposeful stroll as I type. The real question today is: will Postecoglou persist with playing out from the back, and if so, how well will it work? Again, I’m well up for Australia aiming for a higher plane of football than we’re used to. 3.53pm BST Team NewsAustralia: Ryan, Degenek, Gersbach, Milligan, Leckie, Wright, Juric, Kruse, Mooy, Sainsbury, Rogic 3.49pm BST Good afternoon, morning, evening, good middle of the night all,What even is a Confederations Cup? The answer changes not just according to whom you ask, but how you’re performing too. For both Australia and Cameroon, a result today in St Petersburg would mean one team gets their campaign back on track, while the other suffers the ignominy of an early exit. 2.09am BST Sam will be here shortly. In the meantime, take a look at David Squires’ view on the Socceroos’ time in Russia so far: Related: David Squires on ... the Socceroos at the Confederations Cup Continue reading...
Despite fears about hooligans ahead of the World Cup in 2018, Australian supporters have found friendly hosts and efficient organisationLes Street, a Melbourne-based football historian, was having difficulties entering the Fisht Stadium in Sochi prior to Australia’s clash with Germany on Monday. It was not that the stadium was poorly signposted, or that the ticketing system had malfunctioning. Street was simply proving too popular with the locals. “Before I could even get into the ground I was interviewed twice by Russian television stations,” says the bemused 38-year-old. “Then I had people stopping me for selfies.” Related: David Squires on ... the Socceroos at the Confederations Cup Related: Cristiano Ronaldo header earns Portugal Confederations Cup win over Russia Continue reading...
Peculiar German exercises, Samuel Eto'o's attire and a bit of New Zealand fisticuffs make up the highlights of Confederations Cup day five.
Our resident cartoonist has been following the start of the tournament in Russia, where an intervention might be necessary after defeat to GermanyTake a look back through David’s archive of Australian cartoons Continue reading...
Hugo Broos was unhappy with a question about Cameroon's timekeeping at the Confederations Cup and took aim at the tournament organisers.
Ange Postecoglou faced fresh questions over his tactical approach after Germany unpicked Australia but Mathew Ryan did not blame his coach.
Australia will stay true to their attacking style when they face Cameroon in the Confederations Cup, Aziz Behich has warned.
Tom Rogic was in no mood to take plaudits for his goalscoring display against Germany after Australia went down to a 3-2 defeat in Sochi.
Two errors from the Leverkusen goalkeeper made his country's Confederations Cup win less routine than it might have been
Two errors from Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno made Germany's Confederations Cup win over Australia less routine than it might have been.
Moscow's magnificent underground, Lionel Messi stopping by St Petersburg and Leon Goretzka at a "funeral" all feature on Confeds day three.
Germany's experimental Confederations Cup squad has thrust Paris Saint-Germain star Julian Draxler into a leadership role he is relishing.
Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich dazzled in Germany's win over Australia but Joachim Low warned of tougher tasks ahead.
Despite some controversial incidents using video referee technology at the Confederations Cup, the FIFA chief is happy with its progress.
Ange Postecoglou took responsibility for Australia's Confederations Cup defeat to Germany after his side were overwhelmed before half-time.
Despite some controversial incidents using video referee technology at the Confederations Cup, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino is happy with it.
Julian Draxler and Joshua Kimmich stood tall as Germany's youngsters saw off Australia with a verve, intelligence... and goalkeeping errors.
Lars Stindl, Julian Draxler and Leon Goretzka were on target as Germany got the better of Australia 3-2 at the Confederations Cup.
• Australia 2-3 Germany (Rogic 41, Juric 56; Stindl 5, Draxler 44, Goretzka 48)Valiant in defeat has become a common catchphrase when Australia face superior opposition. On an overcast Monday evening in Sochi, the Socceroos showed touches of brilliance to ensure a respectable 3-2 score line without ever truly threatening their inexperienced German opponents.Ahead of the Socceroos’ first game of the 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup, the surrealism of Fisht Stadium suggested that anything might be possible in Sochi. Legacy infrastructure from the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 47,659 seater is nestled on the shores of the Black Sea alongside a turrets-and-all castle hotel and brightly-coloured rollercoasters. Optimistic Australian fans could be forgiven for imaging a wonderland where victory against the world champions was possible. Related: Australia 2-3 Germany: Confederations Cup –as it happened Related: Socceroos set for era-defining Confederations Cup campaign in Russia Continue reading...
Live updates from the Socceroos’ opening Group B match in SochiEmail Nick.Miller@theguardian.com or get in touch @NickMiller79 4.44pm BST Goretzka breaks into the area, and is clumsily chopped down by Luongo. Draxler steps up and sidefoots the penalty home, and Australia were level for a full three minutes. 4.43pm BST Well, that was fun while it last, eh Aussies? 4.42pm BST 41 mins: It’s tricky to recall a game with a scoreline less representative of the general play. Draxler gives the ball away in midfield, Celtic midfielder Rogic advances and takes a shot which is heading some way wide, but it hits the back of a defender and rebounds straight back to him. He takes a second to compose himself, then hits another shot from about 25 yards out, and it squirts under the body of German keeper Leno and into the net. 4.41pm BST OH MY DAYS! 4.40pm BST 40 mins: Germany go close again, and in the end Leckie does quite well. Kimmich streaks down the right having been set free behind the Australia defence. He crosses low into the box, taking Ryan out of the game, and Leckie slides in about four yards out and manages to avoid hoying the ball into his own net, instead putting it wide. 4.38pm BST 37 mins: Oh my word and how they do. Mooy curls the cross into the middle, the German defence is oddly static and they allow Sainsbury to ghost in - onside - behind them, but with time and space to pick his spot, he heads wide. It was one of those missed chances where the guilty party immediately looks round to see if an offside flag would save him. Nope. 4.37pm BST 36 mins: Mustafi pushes Behich over out on the left flank, and Australia might actually have a chance here... 4.34pm BST 32 mins: Luongo...erm...well...Luongo might have just taken a shot. I say might, because he was in his own half, booted the ball a long way forwards but it was so far away from any of his colleagues it could hardly be classified as an attempted pass. Then again, it wasn’t that close to the goal either - it skips out of play, closer to the corner flag than the net. 4.32pm BST 31 mins: Another shot, this time from Draxler after a neat one-two outside the area, but this one skips wide of the post. I haven’t see a more one-sided game of football in quite some time. Postecoglou looks...unimpressed. 4.29pm BST 29 mins: “This sounds harrowing,” writes Martin Turnbull. “Must be tough watching it.” It’s certainly not especially entertaining sport. When one side is quite this superior, the consolation prize for not watching a contest of any description is usually loads of goals, but at the moment we’ve got the worst of both worlds. 4.28pm BST 27 mins: Another short corner, another effort on the Australia goal. This time the ball is fed out to Brandt, who shoots from about 25 yards out, but the save in the end was relatively straightforward for Ryan. 4.25pm BST 25 mins: Another chance for Germany, as Kimmich crosses from the right, looking for Wagner, but Goretzka nips in first and glances his header well wide. 4.24pm BST 23 mins: Not sure who’s going to be more annoyed at the moment: Postecoglou because Australia are being torn a new one, or Low that Germany aren’t already out of sight. An offside trap fails with some gusto as a ball over the top finds Wagner in lots and lots and lots of space, but he dithers a little, shifts onto his left foot and pulls his shot wide. 4.22pm BST 22 mins: Brandt is played in down the right of the area with so much time that he can afford to fully slip over, regain his footing then take a shot, but Mat Ryan wasn’t going to let that in at the near post and he tips it wide. 4.21pm BST 21 mins: There is some optimism from the Australian support, sort of. “It’ll be a fraught morning in front of the telly in Mt Helen as an Oz supporter,” writes Alan Clark, “and we’ll need to lift considerably compared to our AFC WCQ form so far. But I’m grateful that Ange is willing to take it up to the serious national teams, and we’ll not die wondering.” 4.19pm BST 18 mins: Germany win a corner on the left, which they take quickly and it eventually finds its way out to Rudy, about 35 yards out. Perhaps a little giddy at how dominant his side are, Rudy attempts an effort that you’d generously describe as ‘optimistic’, and he only succeeds in booting it high into the crowd. A little scamp in the stands keeps the ball for himself. 4.17pm BST 16 mins: My my, Germany should be two up. Goretzka hooks over a half-volleyed cross into the area looking for Wagner. His marker Degenek slips over on the edge of the six-yard box, effectively giving the big striker a free header, but Wagner puts it wide with the goal at his mercy. 4.15pm BST 15 mins: Leckie fouls Hector on the German left, and they have a free-kick in a potentially dangerous spot. The cross is swung over, and Goretzka wins the header, but his glancing effort skips just wide of the far post. 4.14pm BST 13 mins: As Patrick says, if Mooy can’t get on the ball properly then Australia are in some bother, and he just can’t at the moment. Luongo fouls Draxler, and an Australia attack peters out. 4.12pm BST 10 mins: Patrick Wills sent this in before Australia were sliced open like warm camembert, but the points stand: “Evening (or should I say morning) from Australia Nick! Coach Postecoglou’s new 3-2-4-1 a.k.a. Frankenstein monster of a tribute to Conte has left many scratching heads here in Aus. With two wing-backs and four central mids it’s interesting to say the least. Two key areas to watch I think for the ‘roos today:1. How Behich and Leckie cope as makeshift wing-backs (the latter in particular is a winger by trade) against Draxler and Brandt, while being the sole source of width going forward. High chance of those two being pinned back and our attacks becoming quite stodgy/narrow as a result. 4.09pm BST 7 mins: Australia attempt to get back into the game post-haste, but a free-kick crossed into the middle by Mooy only results in a clash of heads, Rudy briefly requiring a little attention. 4.06pm BST 5 mins: Easy game, football. Brandt is set free down the right, he reaches the byline and cuts back to Stindl, who is in absolutely acres about 12 yards out, and he slots the ball home. Ange’s grumpiness won’t improve after that one. 4.05pm BST Well that was frighteningly easy. 4.03pm BST 3 mins: Wagner unveils a spectacular bit of cheating as he gets the ball just inside the Australia area, looks over his shoulder for the nearest defender, backs into Wright then throws himself to the floor. The referee looks on unimpressed, but takes no further action. 4.01pm BST 1 min: And we’re away. Australia in gold shirts and shorts, and green socks. Germany are in white shirts, black shorts and white socks. 4.00pm BST Will we have another VAR adventure in this game? What a world. 3.56pm BST The teams are out, and we’re five minutes away from kick-off. The national anthems are announced by a terrifying-sounding Russian voice, straight out of a film where the Soviets are big baddies come to Communist up your house. 3.41pm BST So it’s, shall we say, not the strongest side Germany could have selected. But of course we knew that given Jogi Luuuuuuurrrve’s squad - he hasn’t got Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil idling on the bench. So will this actually be the test for Australia that Postecoglou wants? 3.36pm BST Ryan; Degenek, Sainsbury, Wright; Leckie, Milligan, Mooy, Behich; Luongo, Rogic; Juric 3.28pm BST This week, a newspaper posed the question: is Ange Postecoglou the Kanye West of Australian sport? The thought of the big man hopping onto a stage, grabbing a microphone off, say, Anna Meares, and declaring “Imma let you finish, but Meg Lanning is one of the best cricketers in the world!” is certainly an arresting one. Or perhaps naming one of his training sessions “Peezus.” The basis of the comparison was seemingly that Postecoglou was a bit grumpy in a press conference, which did seem a bit much. What, one might wonder, would the person who drew that comparison make of Sir Alex Ferguson in his pomp? 2.11am BST Nick will be here shortly. In the meantime, have a read our man on the ground in Sochi Kieran Pender’s preview: Related: Socceroos set for era-defining Confederations Cup campaign in Russia Continue reading...
Facing a tough group in Russia and with World Cup qualification still in doubt, this week may prove crucial for Ange Postecoglou and his Asian championsConfederations Cup: fans from all eight countries share their predictionsOn the outskirts of subtropical Sochi, the Australian national team look nonchalant while running through final preparations ahead of their opening game of the 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup. As the cloud-covered sun dips towards an azure Black Sea, there are no visible signs that the pressure of forthcoming clashes with Germany, Cameroon and Chile weighs on the 23-man squad. But these Socceroos are not blind to the magnitude of the task in front of them. While the Confederations Cup is often derided as a meaningless series of friendlies, the outcome of Australia’s campaign in Russia will have broader ramifications. The three games this week, and August’s World Cup qualifier in Japan, could come to define coach Ange Postecoglou’s reign. Related: 'We want to win it, mate': Postecoglou aims high at Confederations Cup Related: Confederations Cup: fans from all eight countries share their predictions Continue reading...
We look at five of the more light-hearted moments you might have missed on day two of the Confederations Cup.