Brazil 2 - Australia 0

Be proud Australia, be very proud.

But for the scoreline and the odd bit of wastefulness in front of goal, this was a performance of high quality from a Socceroos team that is quickly gaining respect around the world.

Playing on the world stage, against the world champs, Australia lived in this rare company for large parts of a game, only settled by another Brazilian moment of individual brilliance, this time when Adriano, left one on one with Chipperfield on the edge of the 18 yard box, shifted the ball to has favoured left peg and blasted past Schwarzer.

Even then it only spurred the Socceroos forward in search of what would have been a deserved goal. They had their chances, the likes of Kewell, Viduka and Bresciano, but were denied by some brilliant defensive work and some missed opportunities.

While many in the large Australian contingent at the amazing Allianz Area felt injustice had been dealt by a whistle-happy Marcus Merk, the reality is that his decisions didn't affect the Socceroos fate.

It was just one of those days in football where the ball appeared destined to stay out. While Kewell's chance, when left with an open goal after Dida dropped it, may have came too early (it was his second touch after coming off the bench), Bresciano was twice denied by brilliant defensive work.

When he raced clear, it appeared only Dida could deny him, but the monster of Brazil's midfield on this night, man of the match Ze Roberto, made a sprint from the halfway line, timing his tackle in the box to perfection, just as Bresciano was ducking inside to create some space for the shot.

The fist pump in the direction of his bench as he got up from the challenge proved this Brazilian side is not just about attacking flair – it has the defensive steel and desire to do well.

Ze Roberto didn't stop there. When he gave the ball away in central midfield a short time later, Kewell burst through on the counterattack. Once again it was the no. 11 who chased and made a decisive tackle.

Late on, Bresciano had a volley brilliantly clawed away by Dida.

Viduka also had a couple of chances go over and wide of the frame and will be particularly disappointed he couldn't keep his late lob under the crossbar.

Despite these misses, Australia had mixed it with Samba kings, defending compactly and in a unit and never allowing Brazil to breath, particularly in the first half.

Once again it was Hiddink's master tactics, and the players amazing ability to heed them, that did the trick.

Knowing the Brazilians play with two up front (Ronaldo and Adriano), he crowded the midfield, pushing Emerton high up on the right, to place pressure on Ronaldinho, with nearby support from Culina, charged with the responsibility of ensuring Roberto Carlos didn't overlap. Two guys that spent their formative years at Sydney Olympic were back in-synch and controlling Australia's right.

On the other side, Sterjovski was deployed high up on the left, again to keep Cafu busy. It was as if his instructions were to defend from the front. Behind him in midfield, just left of Grella and Cahill, was Chipperfield, helping Grella, Cahill and Culina crowd the space for Ronaldinho, Kaka, Emerson and Ze Roberto.

The width that was missing from the Japan game worked. Rarely have Carlos and Cafu been so quiet. Even when Popovic was injured, Chipperfield shifted to stopper, Sterjovski moved onto Carlos, Culina into a more central role and Bresciano to the left side of attack. It was seamless stuff.

With little more than 20 metres between Viduka and the back three, it was a compact and organised side, designed to frustrate and contain.

Yet the Socceroos, showing calm and maturity, were also able to sustain periods of possession, crucial to relieve some of the pressure.

Neill and Grella were the starting point for most of Australia's good work, whether defensively or as the launching pads in distribution, but they had 12 heroic mates. Emerton was back to his best, crucial if Australia is to march on.

Tactically, it was a similar game plan to that used by Croatia against Brazil. Yet the Brazilians showed they have the patience to go with the obvious talent. After the break they stepped through the gears and the Socceroos were unable to halt them.

Yet Adriano's goal forced the Socceroos out. It would either mean an equaliser or another Brazilian goal on the counter. With Robinho fresh and buzzing and the Socceroos failing to capitalise on their excellent comeback, it was Fred who tapped in a Robinho effort for a scoreline that flattered Brazil.

Afterwards the Brazilians celebrating outside the stadium and at Marienplatz in downtown Munich admitted 2-0 hadn't been fair on our Socceroos. The consensus was that the Socceroos had, at worst, deserved a one-goal loss, at best, a draw. It was respect.

Even today, at the Socceroos training headquarters in the beautiful town of Ohringen, the general feeling among the locals was that the team they have adopted as their own, were impressive if a little unlucky, and lacked that killer instinct that comes with experience.

Regardless, Germans have warmed to the team, not only for their impressive build up play, but more importantly for them, because of the Socceroos' never say die mentality. It is one that clearly resonates in this part of the world.

In Ohringen, sales of Socceroos merchandise are roaring. One shop owner said shirts have been the most popular item and that buyers kept coming, no doubt impressed by Australia's two games to date.

While there was a general feeling of despondency among the travelling Socceroos army straight after the game, today, at training, the mood was more positive and upbeat. Australians mingled with locals and some Germans who had travelled significant kilometres to see the Socceroos up close.

Morale within the squad appears high, and so it should be. Yesterday's performance proves the Socceroos are here to compete, not just take part. If they can replicate the performance against Croatia, a result is achievable. Not easy, but possible. If not, then the Socceroos have certainly left a positive imprint on this tournament, painting Australian football in a strong light.

written by Tony Tannous on The Roundball Analyst