Australia 0 - Brazil 2

it's no secret that international double headers are a big no-no for internationally based players, and their respectively foreign clubs. Which unfortunately will mean some of us (Melb) will have to start travelling interstate (Sydney) to watch the Socceroos. Hopefully a big turn out at the MCG this Wednesday can keep the MCG as a major competitor for future international games.

Rivkin did well in the Man Utd series by keeping a contract on a list of Man Utd players that were to come and play. If a similar contract can be placed on Socceroo players, then, coupled with only having the one international game, future internationals in Australia can remain a viable prospect.

With so much talk and developments in the national team, it was a relief to just see the national team play again, and for the first time under new management. It was also a long awaited return to the national team for Paul Okon.

Overall, it was a choppy/stutter like performance from Australia. The cogs just needed some more tuning and oil. There wasn't enough confidence and understanding to play quicker short passes to cut through the middle. Most attacking play had to come down the wings as a result of this, and any attempt to play the short incisive pass through the middle was read quicker by Brazil than Australian teammates. Major improvement required in this department, and it may well be worth looking at getting either Stan Lazaridis/Brett Emerton, or even the two young central Australian midfielders at Perth Glory into the middle to move that ball through quickly. And Brazil (as expected) just appeared to enjoy the occasion a bit more. Actually, we need Foster back in the middle... that's who slipped my mind.

So the wings will be a big feature of our play. Danny Tiatto (and probably Bosnich) were best for Australia in my opinion. Our forwards and midfield need to be as bright and sparky as Tiatto when it comes to the crunch, because our midfield was simply flat. Tiatto was fantastic and has really blossomed since his move to Manchester City.

We certainly lacked the attacking presence of Kewell,Aliosi and Viduka. Kevin Muscat's constant battling up front was a concern for me. It was good to see Muscat having a go, and sometimes winning out, but that is really what our forwards should have been doing, and in a way, Muscat constantly chasing up opportunities up front indicates a sense of frustration on Muscat's part. The defence had plenty of the ball, but couldn't distribute forward, and even when they did, the defence was chasing its own attacking play. Where were we?

Okon and Zelic were overlapping each other so much, that they appeared to blank each other out. I would have thought Zelic should have played a more attacking role, and Okon a more sweeping role. Johnson certainly looks as though he can hit a ball from long range, but definately in his first shot he had space and time to make more of his opportunity, and was a little too trigger happy. Maloney was useful in the second half, and Brett Emerton did as expected. Always chipping away and pushing for a chance. Emerton rarely goes missing in a game, and should probably get the nod before Corica, who had a disappointing game.

Brazil's two goals came about through nothing more than sloppy defending. Popovic, Foxe and Simunic should all be pressing hard for places in this defence. I felt Muscat earned his place in the team, but ease up a little on the attacking play.

written by Markian Jaworsky