Joeys head coach Tony Vidmar has praised his young side’s character after their 2-1 win over Argentina, which has almost guaranteed them a spot in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup Round of 16.
The Joeys struck first through Nicholas Panetta in the 25th minute after he got on the end of a well-worked free kick.
Panetta completed his brace in the 52nd minute with an audacious volley from 30 yards.
It took an impressive backs-to-the-wall performance for the rest of the half to quell an Argentinian resurgence, but the Joeys held out despite conceding after a penalty.
Vidmar said his young side showed maturity beyond their years to earn four points in the tournament’s ‘Group of Death’.
“I don’t think anyone expected Australia to get four points from this group,” Vidmar said.
“But as I said at the start of the tournament, we have a lot of players who can rise to the occasion and step it up.
“Credit to our boys; you can never doubt their endeavour, their commitment, their desire.
“These are all Australian traits that we have in our blood.”
Australia now has to wait until tomorrow’s fixtures are completed before they are assured of a spot in the Round of 16; only the best four third-placed teams qualify for the knockout stages.
While four points means the Joeys are better placed to qualify for the Round of 16 than England in Group B, results in Groups E and F could send Australia home.
If the Joeys were to progress to the Round of 16, they would likely face a Nigerian side that looked incredibly threatening in their opening two games with a 2-0 win over USA, and a 5-1 win over hosts Chile before going down 2-1 to Croatia.
Vidmar said that even though he was pleased with the result and the performance, there were still areas of the game that the Joeys needed to fine tune ahead of the knockout stages.
“The players in the first half stuck to what they knew and how they could play the game, so they rose to that challenge, but where we struggled was after we went 2-0 up,” Vidmar said.
“That’s where we should actually have a lot more space, and have more control of the ball.
“But for some reason, players started to invent their own game and it helped Argentina get some momentum.
“It made for an enthralling game for the spectators, but not for the coaching staff.”
Australia now awaits results from Groups E and F - which will be finalised by 11.00am (AEDT) on Monday morning - before being able to confirm whether they will definitely progress to the Round of 16.
In-form Vukovic earns Genk contract extension
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been rewarded for his excellent form with a two-season contract extension at Belgian club KRC Genk. The 33-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but the Pro League leaders have taken up their option to extend
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou