Australia's World Cup Opponents Win Friendlies
Two of Australia’s three opponents at the FIFA World Cup Finals in Germany, recorded victories overnight in international friendlies, with Croatia’s 3-2 win over Argentina the most impressive.
Two of Australia-s three opponents at the FIFA World Cup Finals in Germany, recorded victories overnight in international friendlies, with Croatia-s 3-2 win over Argentina the most impressive.
Croatia came from 2-1 down after only six minutes of play in Basel, Switzerland, to eventually win thanks to a Dario Simic (pictured right) headed goal from a corner in injury time.
Brazil, pre-World Cup tournament favourites, scrapped past Russia 1-0, with a lucky goal to Ronaldo in the first half. Japan recorded a 2-2 draw the previous night with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
With Australia using the March 1 international FIFA date for a training camp instead, the interest was on our three opponents with most interest on the Croatia match with Argentina.
Ivan Klasnic put Croatia ahead after three minutes, capitalising on a mistake by the Argentine goalkeeper, but their joy was short-lived.
Within three minutes Croatia found themselves behind, when firstly Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi putting Argentina in front. After the hectic start play then settled down, although Argentina had the better chances to increase their lead before the break.
Argentina were then made to pay for those misses, as Croatia hit back in the second half with Darijo Srna grabbing a equaliser in the 52nd minute, setting up a nail-biting second half, which ended with Simic-s dramatic injury time winner.
Brazil put in a shaky performance, in bitterly cold conditions in Moscow, as Russia made the World Champions earn their win.
Ronaldo-s 15th minute winner can only be described as fortuitous, with a shot from his Real Madrid team mate striking Ronaldo and diverting the ball past a stunned Russian keeper, who claimed the ball came off the strikers arm.
Russia dominated the second half but were let down by some poor finishing.
On Tuesday night, Japan needed an injury time goal from Hidetoshi Nakata to secure a draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina. Takahara gave Japan the lead right on half time, but the hosts hits back with goals from Misimovic (penalty) and Spahic.
Australia-s next opponent Greece had a 1-0 win at home against Belarus. The Socceroos will play Greece at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday May 25.
Other results of interest overnight, saw The Netherlands win 1-0 against Ecuador in Amsterdam. Australia will play The Netherlands in its final match on June 4 prior to the World Cup finals.
Australia-s World Cup qualifying victim Uruguay made life difficult for England at Anfield, Liverpool, with Joe Cole grabbing an injury time goal to England the win, while in a clash of the heavyweights, Italy thrashed World Cup hosts Germany 4-1 to send an ominous warning about their chances of winning the Cup next July. Meanwhile in Asian Cup qualifying action overnight, Kuwait and Bahrain drew 0-0, which still leaves Australia top of Group D, after its win over Bahrain last week. Australia's match against Lebanon was postponed till September, with the AFC allowing all its World Cup representatives to postpone last night's scheduled fixture.