Thailand draw for Qantas Next Young Socceroos

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos have drawn 1-1 with Thailand in their second match of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U19 Youth Championship last night in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos have drawn 1-1 with Thailand in their second match of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U19 Youth Championship last night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Qantas Next Young Socceroos Head Coach, Jan Versleijen, made eight changes to the team that drew with Singapore in the opening game. This alongside the 3.30pm kick of in the sweltering heat made conditions difficult for the Qantas Next Young Socceroos against the skillful and creative Thai Team.

From the outset, it took a while for the cohesion of the Qantas Next Young Socceroos to develop, but they did create some dangerous moments. In particular, Joshua Groenewald almost opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, but his fierce shot from 20 metres out was well saved by the Thai goalkeeper. Two minutes later a cross from Mathew Leckie on the left was met by Tyler Thurtell who unfortunately blasted over the bar from close range.

The Thai team were also very dangerous going forward and Qantas Next Young Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was kept busy being called into action on a number of occasion to diffuse numerous attempts on his goal, including two one-on-one opportunities with Thai striker Chakrit Ravanprakon.

With the score-line deadlocked at the break, the half time message was obviously clear as the Qantas Next Young Socceroo team completely outclassed the Thai team after the restart, dominating possession and creating numerous chances.

The introduction of James Virgilli for Tyler Thurtell in the 55th minute provided further impetus to an attack-minded Qantas Next Young Socceroos and with the barrage of chances it was inevitable that the Australians would eventually score.

Out wide, Virgilli and Mathew Leckie were creating havoc for the Thai defence. Brendan Hamill had a header cleared off the line in the 70th minute and a Leckie volley from a Virgilli cross went centimetres over the bar shortly after.

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos finally got their reward for constant pressure in the 84th minute. Virgilli floated in a cross to the far post cross to find Zachary Anderson who nodded down the ball down for Petar Franjic to volley home.

As the clock was ticking down a long clearance from the Thai defence found the onrushing Ravanprakon who slammed home the equaliser deep into added time.

Jan Versleijen was still upbeat even though his team conceded another late equaliser but also produced an impressive second half performance.

“We are using this tournament as preparation for November-s qualification so we made 8 changes to the line up today so that we can see how all the players here cope with international football in these conditions," said Versleijen.

“This (the changes) affected our first half performance where we made a lot of bad decisions and were not in the game for long periods. Mark Birighitti was outstanding, he saved us in the first half.

“During the half time break we spoke about a number of tactical aspects of our game we needed to improve on and we came out much better organised, took control of the midfield and our wingers, particularly James Virgilli caused problems for the Thai defence.

“What this tournament shows us is that we have a lot of work to do if we want the get to the U20 World Cup. Many of the Asian teams we play are much better technically than we are and this needs to be our focus, we need to work on our players technical level.

“Competing on the physical level is not enough when we are playing international football, we have to learn to keep the ball better because it is impossible to run and chase for the ball for 90 minutes, particularly in these hot and humid conditions, we have been focusing on this and the players are realizing the importance, the ball doesn-t sweat!”, conclude Versleijen.

In the other group A match, Singapore defeated Cambodia 3-1, whilst in group B Vietnam confirmed their place in the semi-finals with a 3-1 win over Myanmar and Malaysia defeated Timor Leste 7-1.

The Qantas Next Young Socceroos will need a win in their final group match will be against Cambodia on Saturday 8 August (Kick off 3:30pm local, 6:30pm AEST) to progress to the semi-finals.

Later in the year, the Qantas Next Young Socceroos will compete at the AFC U19 Youth Championships Qualifier Tournament in Jakarta, with the top three nations advancing to the AFC U19 Youth Championships which will be held in 2010.

Match Details


Thailand 1 (Chakrit Ravanprakon 91+-) Australia 1 (Peter Franjic 84-)

Thong Nhat Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Australian line-up: 1.Mark Birighitti (gk) (c), 4.Brendan Hamill, 6.Jared Lum (10.Steven Lustica 34-), 12.Zachary Anderson, 13.Kliment Taseski, 14.Petar Franjic, 15.Koh Satake (2.Dylan McGowan 46-), 16.Mathew Leckie, 17.Joshua Groenewald, 19.Tyler Thurtell (11.James Virgilli 55-), 20.Brendan Griffin.

Substitutes Not Used: 7.Joshua McVey, 8.Cameron Edwards, 9.Eli Babalj, 18.Nicholas Feely (gk)



Zachary Anderson (QAS/Gold Coast United Youth), Eli Babalj (AIS), Mark Birighitti (gk) (Adelaide United), Daniel Bowles (Brisbane Roar Youth), Jason Davidson (uncontracted), Cameron Edwards (Cockburn City, WA), Nicholas Feely (gk) (Cockburn City, WA), Petar Franjic (Melbourne Knights, Vic), Brendan Griffin (Central Coast Mariners Youth), Joshua Groenewald (Melbourne Knights, Vic), Brendan Hamill (AIS), Mathew Leckie (Bulleen Lions, VIC), Steven Lustica (Gold Coast United), Jared Lum (AIS), Dylan McGowan (Hearts FC, Scotland), Joshua McVey (Brisbane Roar Youth), Koh Satake (QAS/Gold Coast United Youth), Kliment Taseski (Altona Magic, Vic), Tyler Thurtell (QAS/Brisbane Roar Youth), James Virgilli (NNSW/Newcastle Jets Youth).