Qantas Young Socceroos in dramatic final win

The Qantas Young Socceroos (Australian U20 team) coach Jan Versleijen has praised the efforts of his players after they secured a dramatic win in the International Cor Groenewegen Tournament (ICGT), being played in the Netherlands.

The Qantas Young Socceroos (Australian U20 team) coach Jan Versleijen has praised the efforts of his players after they secured a dramatic win in the International Cor Groenewegen Tournament (ICGT), being played in the Netherlands.

Two goals in the final two minutes of play secured a win in the final against Dutch side FC Utrecht.

“The Australian spirit really came through as the players refused to give in and were rewarded with an amazing victory,” Versleijen said as he reflected on the team-s victory.

“It was a fantastic performance in hot, draining conditions. Some players played the equivalent of two matches in one day.”

The players had to overcome extremely hot conditions to play the remaining two group matches, a semi final and final all on the one day, in the modified format tournament.

In the final, Australia went down 1-0 nil early in the match, despite a good opening which saw Australia go close twice before Utrecht scored. Fernon Haselhoef had his initial well saved by Andrew Redmayne, but the rebound fell nice for the Utrecht striker and he made no mistake.

Play settled down and after a long day in the hot conditions, it was no wonder the quality of play was not high from both sides with little in the way of chances created.

With Australia looking beaten with two minutes to play, they received a lifeline, when a cross from Tahj Minniecon deflected off Ryan McGowan and was heading towards goal, where it was handballed by Gevero Markiet on the line and Australia was awarded a penalty and the Utrecht player was red carded. James Holland, who plays in the Dutch league for champions AZ Alkmaar, scored from the spot to level it up.

Then in a dramatic final minute, Utrecht turned the ball over straight from the kick-off to Luke Brattan, who played the ball forward to Oliver Bozanic. Bozanic crossed to Queensland Roar defender Luke DeVere, who under pressure, showed a lot of poise to place the ball around the keeper and seal an unlikely win.

Earlier in the day, Australia secured second place in its group with two 1-0 wins against Dutch sides FC Uitgeest and Vitesse/AGOVV.

The first match set the scene for the rest of the day, with Thomas Oar securing a final minute winner with a shot which the keeper could not prevent from going in.

The next match against Vitesse/AGOVV was again another tight affair, with Vitesse going close in the 17th minute with a shot that hit the crossbar.

The match was only settled three minutes from full time, when James Holland played a ball into the for Oar and after a mini scramble the ball came out to Minniecon and he smashed home the winner.

Finishing second behind PSV in the group, Australia was to meet Group B winners FC Twente in the semi final.

This time around though Australia didn-t leave the scoring till late, with Mitch Nichols scoring a stunning goal in the 13th minute. Receiving the ball from Oliver Bozanic some 30 metres out from goal, Nichols turned and then hit a magnificent shot into the top left hand corner, with the Twente keeper well beaten.

That lead was doubled in the 26th minute with an equally magnificent individual goal from Minniecon. The Gold Coast United striker intercepted a pass in the defensive half; raced 70 metres up field before sidestepping two defenders inside the penalty box and then beat the keeper.

The 2-0 win set up the final clash with Utrecht, who had accounted for PSV in the other semi final 1-0.

Versleijen believes the tour has been a resounding success and was worthwhile as they build towards the 2010 FIFA World Youth Cup that is being played in Egypt next September/October.

“The tour has been very worthwhile and we have progressed as a group,” Versleijen.

“To be competitive at the world cup in September will be a much bigger tougher challenge and that is what we need to work towards.”

Match Details

Group Game 4

Australia 1 (Thomas Oar 39-) FC Uitgeest 0

Mark Birighitti, Luke DeVere, Ryan McGowan, Rhyan Grant, Peter Cvetanovski, Oliver Bozanic, James Holland, Luke Brattan (Mitch Nichols 30-), Nathan Elasi, Kofi Danning (Tahj Minniecon 25-), Rocco Visconte.

Group Game 5

Australia 1 (Tahj Minniecon 37-) Vitesse/AGOVV 0

Australian line up - Andrew Redmayne (gk), Rhyan Grant (Oliver Bozanic 25-), Peter Cvetanovski, Luke DeVere, Matthew Jurman, Sam Munro, Tahj Minniecon, James Holland, Thomas Oar, Mitch Nichols, Nathan Elasi (Robert Stambolziev 27-).

Semi Final

FC Twente 0 Australia 2 (Mitch Nichols 13-, Tahj Minniecon 26-)

Australian line up - Mark Birighitti (gk); Ryan McGowan, Mathew Jurman, Luke DeVere, Rhyan Grant (Peter Cvetanovski 36-), James Holland (Sam Munro 31') Oliver Bozanic, Mitch Nichols (Luke Brattan 28-), Isaka Cernak, Kofi Danning, Rocco Visconte (Robert Stambolziev 35-).


Australia 2 (James Holland 58- pen, Luke DeVere 59-) FC Utrecht 0

Andrew Redmayne (gk); Rhyan Grant, Luke DeVere, Ryan McGowan, Tahj Minniecon, Mitch Nichols (Peter Cvetanovski 48-), James Holland, Oliver Bozanic, Matthew Jurman, Nathan Elasi (Sam Munro 50-), Thomas Oar (Luke Brattan h/t)