Australia 5 - Japan 2

Crowd: Abt 500 at West Belconnen Leagues Club Ground, Kippax, Belconnen ACT Weather: Fine but cool

Ladies and Gentleman, you can sleep comfortably t night, in the knowledge that Australia has a competent U17 side (once again).

In fact, while strikers such as Viduka, Kewell and Agostino may be stars of the current generation, there is hope with the next generation in the already well known No. 11 Jay Lucas (Wolves) and No. 9 Brett Holman (Power).

Holman in particular impressed me with his fantastic pace and commitment. Others that stood out were No. 2 Spase Dilevski, a Lazaridis-type player but on the right side - pace, good paser and crosser of the ball; No. 3 Massimo Murdocca, the smallest player in the squad, but an excellent corner and free-kick taker with great commitment - and pace also; No. 10 Fred Agius, small Aboriginal midfielder who was everywhere, and revealed the Aboriginal flag on his t-shirt underneath when he scored in the first half.

Are they as good as the last side that were Runners-up in the World Cup? Maybe not, but who can tell yet, as players and teams can mature and improve quickly at this age level.

They are certainly fast and well worth watching - so hopefully those who can will get to this same ground next Wednesday night to watch them in the WC Qualifying Play-off - probably against New Zealand.

written by Chris Kunz