England manager Roy Hodgson has praised the enterprise of the Caltex Socceroos after they took the game to his Euros bound squad in Saturday morning’s (AEST) friendly.
The Socceroos dominated possession for long periods of the match but struggled to fashion many clear cut chances as they were beaten 2-1 by the Three Lions at the Stadium of Light.
Despite going behind an early goal the Socceroos were certainly not intimated by the world no.10, with Hodgson happy to concede his side was outplayed in the opening stanza.
“I thought they played very well, especially in the first-half,” Hodgson told Fox Sports post match.
“I thought that they were the better team in the first-half in actual fact. Their passing was very good; they caused us lots of problems.”
“We were dangerous on the counter-attack so there was always a massive threat for us when we had the ball going forward but Australia made it difficult for us because they denied us the ball for long periods of time.”
It was much the same story after the break with the Socceroos unsuccessfully trying to break down England’s defence, while the home side looked to punish the Aussies on the break.
Both managers made multiple changes given the frantic tempo of the match, with England captain Wayne Rooney consolidating his side’s lead with a thundering finish to a counter-attack.
“Second-half I thought we came to turns with that [the Socceroos tactics] a little bit better,” said Hodgson.
“Again we were very dangerous on the counter-attack but having said that we were never that comfortable when Australia were attacking us because I thought they played well.
“I thought they were very well organised, they looked to get the ball in the right areas and I was very happy to come away with a victory because it was a hard fought victory.”
The final scoreline mirrored the result England claimed against Turkey last week, with Hodgson now set to finalise the 23-man squad he will take to France.
“We’ve had two tough games, we’ve had to pull out all the stops and work very hard to get victories and of course it’s good now that I’ve seen so many players play from the start,” added Hodgon.
England will next play Portugal in one final warm up match for the 2016 Euros, while the Socceroos will travel home for two matches against Greece in Sydney and Melbourne.