First half hurt us against Nigeria: Vidmar

The Joeys’ poor first half against Nigeria set the tone for a difficult 90 minutes despite a significant improvement in the second stanza, says head coach Tony Vidmar.

Australia’s U-17 national football team bowed out of the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday morning (AEDT) after a 6-0 loss to Nigeria.

The Joeys conceded two goals within the space of three minutes while spurning a golden opportunity of their own, before going into the sheds at half time down 2-0.

Vidmar said his side did not perform to the best of their abilities.

“The disappointing thing is that we didn’t play our game in the first half,” Vidmar said.

“When we didn’t have the ball, our pressing was not good enough and that’s allowed Nigeria to have so much more space. Our lines became so much bigger, and that’s what Nigeria thrived on.

“When we had the ball, we turned it over too easily. We said that if we had the ball for too long, they’d run over us because they were much faster than us.”

The Joeys started the second half with a two goal deficit, but they began to play a style similar to what was seen against Mexico and Argentina in the group stage.

FFA U-16/U-17 technical director Peter de Roo said the Joeys did not deserve to lose by six goals, given the improved performance in the second half.

“The scoreline was not indicative of the performance,” de Roo said.

“We pressed well, didn’t let them out of their half and were more composed on the ball.

“The only thing we didn’t do at that stage was score a goal.

“On their first break, they scored, and then we lost that momentum.”

The second half was more fruitful for the Australians, but they struggled to break down a Nigerian defence that was sitting deep and happy with their two-goal lead.

It was the counter that would be the Joeys’ undoing once again. A hopeful, deep cross caught the Australian defence unawares, and it was again Osimhen again on hand to bag his brace and make it 3-0.

The Nigerians turned on the afterburners in the final 10 minutes, with Osimhen completing his hat-trick, while Edidong Essien and Samuel Chukwueze added goals five and six respectively.

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