Milicic reacts to Australia U23's loss to Vietnam
Australian U23 Men’s National Team head coach Ante Milicic lamented his side’s inability to make the most of their opportunities in the loss to Vietnam at the AFC U23 Championships in China on Sunday night.
Despite dominating possession and chances in their Group D encounter, Nguyen Quang Hai’s deflected strike 18 minutes from time condemned Australia to a 1-0 defeat in Kunshan.
The young Aussies pushed hard for an equaliser late on but some desperate defending and wasteful finishing left them frustrated.
Milicic congratulated Vietnam on their victory and performance and admitted his team struggled to deal with their opposition’s defensive game plan.
“We knew what to expect in terms of the way [Vietnam] would set up and approach the game, a very defensive approach in a 5-4-1 formation,” Milicic said.
“We probably struggled at times to create some clear-cut chances and we were a bit vulnerable on the break and we could have dealt with those situations a bit better.
“In saying that, their goal was from a set piece and a deflection and towards the end it was obvious we created three or for good chances but the ball wouldn’t go in and we go home disappointed.
“We’ll quickly assess it and focus quickly on the next game which will be a difficult one against Korea.”
Despite the defeat, Australia remain in second spot in the group on three points, one behind Korea and ahead of Syria on goal difference after those two nations played out a draw in the other match.
Only a win will ensure Australia progress to the quarter finals of the competition, while a draw will mean they will rely on the other result in their group goes their way.
After making a host of changes to the side that beat Syria on Thursday for the Vietnam clash, Milicic confirmed he would again change up his squad for the do-or-die clash with Korea.
“The plan was for this squad for as many players as possible to get this experience,” the Australian boss said.
“That was what we spoke about before the tournament. It’s duty of care for our players as well. Two day’s rest and the demands of international football are quite high.
“We want them to return to their clubs better for the experience but also in a good physical condition because that’s the bigger picture as well.”
Australia’s final Group D clash against Korea will be played on Wednesday night, kicking off at 10.30pm AEDT.
The match will be broadcast LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Aussies Abroad: Milligan triumphs in battle of the Aussies, Jeggo suffers defeat in Austria
There were two Caltex Socceroos in action across Europe on Saturday morning (AEDT) as Mark Milligan and Jimmy Jeggo stepped out for Hibernian and Austria Vienna respectively.... Milligan played the full 90 in Scotland as Hibs overcame Dundee in a 4-2 thriller at Dens Park. AUS
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic injured as Genk exit Europa League
It wasn’t a happy night in the UEFA Europa League for Danny Vukovic as he was stretched off in Genk’s 4-1 loss to Slavia Prague on Friday morning (AEDT). AUSSIES ABROAD: Vukovic features in top-two battle NEW DEAL: In-form Vukovic rewarded with contract extension Still sco
When to watch your Caltex Socceroos this weekend
There's plenty for Caltex Socceroos fans to sink their teeth into this weekend with our homegrown heroes gearing up for some massive matches. Mathew Leckie attempts to slay a giant in Germany, two Aussies set aside national team loyalties in Denmark and Aaron Mooy goes on the
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