WEATHER SPOILS TOUR FOR QANTAS YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Young Socceroos tour of S.America ended up as a disappointment for the staff and players alike but not because of the performances.
The Young Socceroos tour of South America ended up as a disappointment for the staff and players alike but not because of the performances.
The cancellation of two matches due to storms in Buenos Aires could not be helped but it was a bitter blow to a squad that had been looking forward to the chance of facing one of the world-s best young sides in the form of Argentina.
The two losses would also have been a blow to the team but with a much improved performance in the second match, they would definitely have grown from their experience on the continent.
The first match saw the Australian Under 20-s go down 2-0 to Paraguay after a third minute goal put the Young Socceroos on the back foot from the off.
Head coach Jan Versleijen was still optimistic about his team-s performance though.
“Our players learnt a lot by the experience. The whole reason for going was to have stronger opposition. The squad now know the roads we have to travel down to get to the required level.”
He especially praised Ben Kantarovski and Kareem Bulut saying they “really dealt with the pressure and intensity.”
The second game ended in the same result but this time out, the Qantas Young Socceroos began the match in a lively fashion and took the game to their opponents.
However, a mistake in the 12th minute ended up with Paraguay scoring but aside from this an improved Australian outfit matched the Paraguayan side until half time.
Five minutes into the second half Paraguay doubled their lead but the young Aussies never gave up and in the 81st minute the again impressive Kareem Bulut hit the woodwork with the South American keeper beaten.
Coach Versleijen was disappointed with the result after the teams much improved performance but upbeat at the future prospects of his players.
“The players stepped up so well (in the second game) that the A-League coaches will recognise their talent and give them a better chance of playing more regularly. This is one of the main things we can take away with us.”
After this good show, the squad were looking ahead to the following matches with anticipation but unfortunately Mother Nature intervened and neither match could go ahead.
The storms that hit the Argentinean capital meant that the pitches were completely waterlogged and unplayable. There was no chance that the games could be rescheduled as the Argentinean players had to return to their club sides.
The cancelled matches were a blow to the team-s preparations ahead of the ASEAN Cup in Vietnam in July and the AFC tournament in China in October.
The tournament in China will be even more important as the semi finalists (top four sides) will qualify for the Under 20-s World Cup.
Coach Jan Versleijen said there-s still time but it-s a lost opportunity of gaining experience against the best.
“We still have one and a half years to go but the players now know the standard they will face in the World Cup in Columbia.”
Despite the damp weather he said the squad-s prospects looked bright.
“One thing that I hope the players gain from this is that they get an A-League spot. They have to be playing at that level if they are going to compete at the Under 20-s World Cup, as this is the what we-ll face.”
They did manage one game in Argentina, when they faced senior second division club El Porvenir where they lost 3-1.