Sunday, June 13, 2010
The big one! Australia v Germany World Cup preview!
Exactly four years and one day after Australia kicked off their 2006 World Cup campaign in spectacular style, the Socceroos will today (or tomorrow Australian time) be heading into battle against a slightly tougher opposition than 2006, but with the same intention, to show the world that we mean business! After a weeks talk of Germany threatening to embarrass Australia, the pragmatic Dutchman Pim Verbeek will be looking to show his Germany counterpart, Joachim Low, that he was seriously mistaken.
Kieran: Can we beat Germany? Can we beat the sixth rank team in the world? That's what it all comes down to. Germany have a solid goalkeeper, with Manuel Neuer a capable replacement for the injured Rene Adler. At the back, only Phillip Lahm will stand-out to many, but Germany certainly have a quality defence.
The midfield however is where Germany will really shine, with the absence of Michael Ballack providing the perfect opportunity for youth sensation Mesut Ozil to show why he is one of the most highly rated young stars in Europe.
Alongside Ozil may be another young star, 23-year-old Sami Khedira. The Stuttgart midfielder captained Germany's youth side to the U21 European Championship, and will be looking to reproduce his form for Germany on the big stage. On the wing for Die Mannschaft will be Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger, and after helping his side to a Champions League final this year, Schweinsteiger will be looking for glory in South Africa. Australia will have to keep him quiet if they are to get anything out of the game.
Finally, up-front Low will have to decide on a starting pair out of Brazillian born Cacau, Cologne striker Lukas Podolski or Bayern Munich pair Mario Gomez or Miroslav Klose. Despite the pedigree of the later three, only Cacau has been prolific at club-level this season, and Low has the difficult decision of whether to place experience over form this World Cup.
To be frank, I cannot see this game being entertaining for Socceroo fans. It will either be a German victory, or Australia will grind out a draw (or possibly nip a win on the break or from a set-piece). Despite this, I (and thousands of others around the country) will be setting our alarms for 4:30 eastern time (or just pulling an all-nighter) to see Australia battle with the mighty Germans.
I believe, if both Lucas Neill and Craig Moore put in solid performances at the back, Mark Schwarzer might be able to keep the Germans out for most of the game, and the possibility of Australia hitting on the counter-attack cannot be underestimated. As such, I think the opening match of Australia's World Cup campaign could end in a draw. My Tip: 1-1 Draw
The Guardian has very kindly put up a nice little graphic of their team predictions:
So the Guardian seem to believe that Kewell will be up-front, with Kennedy on the bench. However, they fail to mention the Herald Sun's report that Carl Valeri will start ahead of Mark Bresciano, with Jason Culina filling the space on the wing.
Finally, while browsing the Guardian site I found a very interesting article on Harry Kewell. Well worth the read.
So, the count down is now on. In a matter of hours, the Socceroos will begin their 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign. Will it begin in glory? Boredom? Or heartache? Let us know what you think!
Read more on Australia World Cup Blog