Friday, February 26, 2010

News round

Lots of news is flying around in the A-League world, so here is a quick wrap and lots of links.


Sydney's move for Carle unlikely
Sydney FC's bid to replace retired Steve Corica with Nicky Carle looks to have failed. The World Game reports that the Sky Blues were very interested in Carle but believe Crystal Palace valuation is to high.

Worm in the Heart
Melbourne Heart have signed Dutch winger Rutger Worm from NEC Nijmegen. Worm will join the likes of Matt Thompson, Clint Bolton, Kristian Sarkies and Jason Hoffman ahead of the club's A League debut season.

Viduka has decided!
Mark Viduka has decided on which Melbourne club to join, the Melbourne Knights. The club today announced that Viduka will be their number one season ticket holder this season. The news does seem to suggest that the V-Bomber has given up on any future playing career.

Interesting news and opinion:

Asians head home for World Cup while Australians look to leave (Goal)

GCU sack Okon (Fox Sports)

Heart sign teen star Ibrahim (TWG)

Culina move still a mystery (Fox Sports)

Roar bring Paartalu back home (Soccernet)

Milligan: Asia is good for me (TWG)

Allsopp: Roo dream no more (442)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trans-Tasman rivalry set to reignite

The Australia v New Zealand rivalry is set to heat up after the announcement of a farewell game before the World Cup against the All Whites.


The game, which is expected to be played by the full strength Socceroo squad, will take place on May 24th at the MCG.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley told the media that:

“This is a great opportunity for Australian sports fans to fill the stadium with green and gold to send the team off to the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa in grand style. A wonderful tradition started in 2006 when a huge crowd saw a fantastic game of football and showed to the Qantas Socceroos that they had the whole country behind them before they left to take on the world in Germany.

The anticipation around the 2010 is building rapidly and the fact that New Zealand has qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa adds to the excitement.”


Australia played Greece in their farewell game before the 2006 World Cup, in a game attended by 90,000 fans. So lets hope we can get that many for this game!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Finals series week one preview

Well the final series is here! (Well, it already started, but I was in Sydney and away from internet when that happened.) But here is a preview of the two big games this weekend.


Gold Coast United v Newcastle Jets, First semi-final, Saturday, 8pm (All time EDT)
The Newcastle Jets, once serious contenders, have slipped away and only have 3 wins in their last nine games. Gold Coast have also slipped up recently, with two straight loses, but have otherwise been in good form. Despite the consecutive losses the Gold Coast are still favourites, and at home will be expecting to advance to the next round. That said, the Culina v Culina battle is a fairytale to be written, the much maligned coach beating his son's glory team. My brain is telling me to tip Gold Coast, but I really think the Jets could turn this into an upset. I hope... Jets 2-1

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory, Second semi-final, Sunday, 3pm
Wellington are on a sensational run, having only lost twice in their last nine games. The Glory have also been solid, but will need to really lift against a flying Phoenix side. The location of the game, Wellington, will make it difficult for a Perth side that is rather dodgy on the road, and I really can't see this being anything other than a Phoenix win. Wellington 1-0

Well enjoy the finals footie folks!

Asian Cup squad announced for vital game against Indo

Pim Verbeek has named a predominately Australian based squad for the last Asian Cup qualifier, against Indonesia in March. The extended twenty five man squad included only four overseas Aussies, of which only one (Luke Wilkshire) is currently playing in Europe. While the game is on a FIFA sanctioned date, it is a date set for friendlies, and as such any Euroos would only have a few days to get to Australia and then back.
Australia could possibly qualify with a loss against Indonesia, but would need Kuwait to defeat Oman. As such I think Verbeek will be setting out to win (especially as the game is in Brisbane).

The inclusion of Tommy Oar, Ben Kantarovskim Matthew Leckie and Luke De Vere is a good sign, with all four youngsters looking very promising. However whether or not they will actually take part in the fixture is still unknown.

The complete squad is:

Clint Bolton, Alex Brosque, Shannon Cole, Simon Colosimo, Jason Culina, Luke Devere, Andrew Durante, Eugene Galekovic, Scott Jamieson, Ben Kantarovski, Josh Kennedy, Mathew Leckie, Michael Marrone, Daniel McBreen, Jon Mckain, Matt Mckay, Mark Milligan, Stuart Musialik, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Matt Thompson, Danny Vukovic, David Williams, Luke Wilkshire, Michael Zullo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Late goal keeps Sydney in it on shocking pitch

A John Aloisi goal saw Sydney FC remain in grand final contention after a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory in the first leg of their major semi-final. A night of controversy saw Victory/Mariner's striker Nik Mrdja sent off for elbowing Shannon Cole and Sydney midfielder Brendan Gan not sent off for a shocking tackle on Kevin Muscat.


A poor crowd (18,453) and a shocking pitch (due to rock group AC/DC's recent concerts at Etihad Stadium) didn't do justice to the game, but Aloisi's away goal will see the two teams heading back to Sydney with everything to play for.

Mrdja opening the scoring for the home side with a goal in the 16th minute, before winner of the Johnny Warren medal, Carlos Hernandez, doubled Melbourne's lead. Aloisi then pegged one back, via a Muscat deflection, and the sides went into half time at 2-1.

It was an eventful second half, with Mrdja's sending off and some poor tackles, but neither side could find the net and the game ended with Sydney still one behind.

While Sydney will go into the return leg needing a win, they will be helped by Melbourne's striker crisis. The sending off of Mrdja (and the resulting suspension), combined with the lack of Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse (both already injured) will see them travel up with a very depleted front line.

Half Time Heroes February

Make sure you check out my Spanish wrap!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Round 27 Preview

It's here! The final round of the regular season is almost upon us, and before we look to the finals here's a preview of all the upcoming action.


Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners, Friday, 5:30pm (All times EDT)
Wellington have looked solid over the last few weeks, and despite a win last week in the F3 derby, I can't see Central Coast getting anything here. Wellington will be eager to secure 4th place, and with a home advantage I'd expect nothing less. Wellington 3-0

Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United, Friday, 8pm
Newcastle lost hopes of a top 4 finish in their derby loss, but have already assured finals football. With this in mind, and the fact that a 6th place finish is probably better than 5th, it is highly likely Branko Culina could rest some players in the last game of the regular season. Adelaide have picked up over the last few weeks and will be looking to finish on a high note going into the ACL. With that in mine I think an upset could be on the cards. Adelaide 2-0

Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar, Saturday, 7pm
Brisbane have nothing to play for in this encounter over in Perth, while Perth could still lift themselves to 4th (depending on the Wellington result) with a win. The Glory have been very inconsistent over the season, but at home they should have too much for the Roar. Perth 2-1

North Queensland Fury v Gold Coast United, Saturday, 9pm
The Gold Coast need to win here to have any chance of sneaking into the top 2. The Fury however have no hope of finals football, but will still want to ensure they don't finish with the wooden spoon. Unfortunately for the Fury however, I don't think they have enough to get past Gold Coast. Gold Coast 2-0

You might have realized that one game is missing. And if you haven't you really don't pay any attention to the A-League. That's right, the missing game is the game that will decide the minor premiership. Sydney v Melbourne! The clash of the titans! And no I'm not so crazy that I've decided to not include the biggest game of the A-League regular season in my preview. Because it's such a big game I am going to do a whole article on it. So look out for that soon!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Round 26 Preview

Round 26 is here, and with the final series just around the corner, the action is hotting up!


Melbourne Victory 2 beat North Queensland Fury 0

Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets, Saturday, 6pm (All times EDT)
The battle between the A-League's most inconsistent teams will see a Newcastle team needing a result travelling to a depleted Mariners side out of finals contention. The F3 derby promises to be a big one, but I can't see the Mariners breaking their ten game winless streak against a Jets team who desperately need a result to ensure finals contention. Jets 1-0

Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar, Saturday, 8pm
Adelaide have had a dreadful season, and it looks like they will be the second team in two years to enter the Asian Champions League after finishing with the wooden spoon that season. Brisbane on the other-hand need a win to keep their final hopes alive (although they do also need other results to go their way), and with Adelaide already looking towards the ACL, I think that's a likely result. Brisbane 2-1

Sydney FC v Perth Glory, Sunday, 5pm
Sydney needs a win to keep hopes of a first place finish alive, while Glory will want to hold onto fourth place so as to avoid the dreaded fifth place (the finals system is really dodgy, so finishing sixth is probably better than finishing fifth). But Perth haven't won on the road for a long time, and with Sydney looking for that top spot I think they'll have enough to secure a win. Sydney 2-0

Gold Coast United v Wellington Phoenix, Sunday, 7pm
Gold Coast are on a great run of form and against a Wellington side poor on the road, I don't expect that to change. Wellington still haven't assured themselves of finals qualification, but they would need to get thumped in their two remaining games and see Brisbane score two wins, so they should be home and dry. While a win would see them move out of reach of Brisbane, I don't think they'll have enough to take down the Gold Coast. Gold Coast 2-0

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Socceroo bits and pieces

Since things have been a bit quiet on the Socceroo stage, I thought I'd update everyone on some of the issues effecting our Socceroos.


Socceroos captain Lucas Neill joins Galatasaray
Socceroo skipper Lucas Neill has joined Australian team-mate Harry Kewell at Turkish club Galatasaray on a one and a half year deal. He moves to Turkey after spending less then six months at Premier League side Everton. More

Heffernan to Huddersfield
Central Coast have allowed defender Dean Heffernan to join English League One side Huddersfield for the rest of the season. With the Mariners set to miss out on the finals the club felt they could allow Heffernan to leave on loan. While the move will please Pim Verbeek, as it will give him another option in defence playing regular European football, I don't think that Heffernan has a realistic chance of making the World Cup squad. More

Macca to Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough have signed Socceroo Scott McDonald from Celtic, in a move that will see him reunited with former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan. It will also see McDonald join fellow Aussies Rhys Williams and Brad Jones at the Riverside.