Analysis: Luongo shines as Caltex Socceroos' midfield leader
Aaron Mooy's injury raised alarm prior to the Caltex Socceroos' clash with Colombia, but 90 minutes later and Massimo Luongo more than accounted for his team-mate's absence.
Luongo produced undoubtedly his best performance since the AFC Asian Cup as he steered Australia to a morale-boosting 0-0 draw against the world number 13 at Craven Cottage.
The 25-year-old was back to his best: snappy in the tackle, clear-headed in possession and impressively quick with his feet.
He could well have capped off the enterprising 90-minute display with what would have been a sublime individual goal, but Bert van Marwijk rightly said he was "very satisfied" with the Queens Park Rangers star.
“I already knew, but he was one of our best players,” said van Marwijk.
Indeed, it could well cause the Dutchman to consider breaking up what many expect to be his preferred holding midfield partnership of Mooy and Mile Jedinak.
Perhaps most compelling is that this effort, much like those in 2015, came under a heavy spotlight.
Friendly context aside, Van Marwijk's men were clearly steeled for a shot at redemption following the unsettling loss to Norway in Oslo.
The Colombian fans were boisterous and unforgiving and their team, headlined by James Rodriguez, benefited from the same measure of talent.
Luongo, though, was up to the task. He led his team in passes, key passes and crosses, while only Mat Leckie attempted the same number of shots.
The evidence points to a mature, confident Luongo being an extremely valuable contributor at Russia 2018.
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