Solomon Islands 2 - Australia 2

Lets get one thing straight. The New Zealand side was terrible. In terms of standard they would struggle to beat any NSL side. The Auckland Kingz looked a better side when they came to Adelaide.

Vanuatu played a friendly against the bottom (and so far winless) side of our local Premier League and from all reports were lucky to escape with a 2-2 draw. Yet Vanuatu went on to beat New Zealand 4-2.

According to reports the 3-0 win New Zealand had over the Solomon Islands was very fortitous. The match commentator said the Solomon Islands had outplayed New Zealand and were the better side.

So if you send over a crap and unprepared side to these types of tournaments then sometimes you get what you deserver - just like what happened to Australia when we sent a third string side over to New Zealand for the Confederation Cup qualifiers.

Secondly do not think Australia threw tonights game against the Sol. Islands. I did not get to the game but I received several calls during the game from someone who did. Their comments were that Australia was playing very badly and they were at serious risk of losing the game. I am not going to name any players but they were questioning how some certain players were getting a game for Australia because they were very ordinary.

Also Australia was down to 10 men from around the 50th minute.

Solomon Islands had everything to play for in this game so they played their hearts out. Australia had nothing to play for, put an average side on the park and played very badly.

Thirdly do you think Australia would really rather play the Sol. Islands than New Zealand? It is terrible preparation for the South American qualifiers. Plus I would hazard a guess that Australia would rather play the Kiwis on a decent pitch in New Zealand than have to play on a cow paddock in the Sol Islands.

New Zealand did not make the top two because of their own doings. Do not blame Australia for your own failings. Instead you should have a hard inward look at yourselves and make sure you do not commit the same mistakes again.

Having said that I can understand your frustration at having to wait four years for another shot. It is not a nice thing. We have all been through that before - how we lost a 2 goal lead against Iran at home with only 30 minutes to play - it is something I will never never never never ever ever ever ever forget.

written by Lino Fusco

Here's my take on last night's 2-2 with the Solomon Islands.

Firstly, due to me living in a third world footballing nation, I have as yet been unable to see any televison coverage of the event, and hence any comments I make about the game, players' performances etc, are based on reports I have read/listened to.

Firstly, let's not beat about the bush and get straight to what may well be portrayed in enzed as the greates piece of sporting bastardry since the underhand cricket escapade....if anyone can be ersed about fitba over there now, that is.

Now I have met and spoken to the other FF a few times in my life, and I hold him in high regard.

Therefore, based on my knowledge of him, I do not think for one nano second that he would have instructed, nor wished his players to 'take it easy' against the Solomons in the hope that a 'shock' result would see the Kiwis eliminated.

In fact, I even think that he would much rather have visited Auckland or Wellington in the final qualifying games, than go to the Solomons, which is effectively a war zone..or was the last time I looked at the givernments travel warnings.

I am already looking forward to the cries from Liverpool and other clubs about the 'dangers our player(s) is (are) being exposed to' come play off time.

If the other FF was to correct me, and say that it WAS his intention to go for a stroll in the park, then quite simply, he should be dismissed immediately from his role as Australiian coach and his cards marked 'never to be employed again.'

However, as I say, I do not think for one minute that a man of his sporting integrity would ever do such a thing, and I would be extremely disappointed if I was to be proven wrong.

Having said that, as a result of this 2-2 draw I belive that his dressing room peg is a wee bit shooglier than it was prior to the competition, as let's face it, expectations are that even with a 4th string team, Australia should account for the Solomon Islands with ease.

That they failed to do so, will come back to haunt him.

Australia's lack of scoring capability has been well documented, and while the other FF can well claim that the last game was a 'nothing at stake' run out and hence a perfect opportunity to let some relatively untested players show what they can do, the record book will still show that Solomon Islands drew 2-2 with Australia... in Australia.

I still do not believe that Alex Brosque was ready for a full international call up, and my questioning of why Adrian Madaschi ever got pulled from the middens of Maryhill to play in the World Cup, is a question that |I stil believe needs answering.

The partnership of him and Kisnorbo is one, that given that it was shown (apparently) to be inept against the likes of Solomon Islands, makes me quake to think that this would even be a remote consideration to play against a South American country!

It would be a akin to an adult side playing against under 12 year olds!

I'm not really sure what the other FF was thinking of here, but I don't think we'll see them playing again together at senior level, ever again.

At least I hope not.

To the Kiwis who were crying 'foul' almost immedaitely after the final whistle, and without (presumably) even the small amount of coverage that I hve managed to obtain, I think you fire your arrows at the wrong target.

I am a firm beliver that if it gets down to a choice between "Conspiracy" or "Cock Up" then nine times out of ten, its a case of Cock Up.

I heartily believe, as i say, that this is the case in point here too, and this result is of that category.

And it is stating the obvious to say that New Zealand's fate was solely in New Zealand's hands when they entered the competiion.

That they lost 4-2 to Vanuatu and 1-0 to Oz is their fault, and nobody else can be blamed for that, but them....even if again some tried to blame the ref in the Oz game...8-)

To them I say..look within, for how to fix your poblems, instead of blaming external forces, an dlooking for 'conspiracies'.

In summary, I believe the 2-2 result was anything but a cause for celeberation, and raises questions about

our depth

our lack of scoring ability

our poor choice of defenders

our coach's future

Not to mention the logistical headache that will be a visit to the Solomon Islands (will Bernie let his number one earner go to such a dangerous place?)

they ain't a pushover there either, and I seem to remember a Tommy Mcculloch goal being the difference once before...but you can;t alwasys rely on Marconi players to pull you out of the mire , can you, not these days anyway.

written by Fred Legget

Very condescending to say to say the match was thrown, especially those who weren't there... the Solomons played their hearts out last night - they were very composed and disciplined in defence and midfield, and the front guys were very lively.

NSL-trained Commins Menapi (scored both goals) was lethal and is a good indication of the quality for our former national league. And I'm sure we'll hear a lot more about some of their other players over the coming years, esp. 17 year old Nelson Sale, and Alick Maemae.

The post-match press conference with Solomons coach (whose tenure finishes tomorrow) was great.

He described the fairytale situation wonderfully, how much the game means to the Solomons, and how the airport will be overrun with well-wishers when the team arrives back today.

He also told us about young Nelson Sale, who had been coming to national team training in his school clothes and school back pack slung over his arms (his school raised a little bit of money for him to be able to afford to come over to Oz) etc etc

Coach reckons Oz will have a *great* time playing in Honiara.

He reckons Solomons crowd (of 20-25000) will be passionate - much more than any NZ crowd - yet will feel honoured to have the Aussies there, so much so that they will probably be cheering when Aussies score.

He also said national stadium pitch was in even better condition than Hindmarsh (it must be good).

He made it clear that the nasty political situation has died down considerably over the past 2 years, and Aussies should have no concerns about safety. Like in many regions, football is a unifying force over there, and coach described how the traditionally warring factions came together at Honiaria Stadium on match day.

Like many, I was initially concerned that the shock outing of NZ was bad for Oz.

But thinking about it since, it could be the reverse.

I can't see how NZ will get much better than what they are now over the coming months - we know all about them, their quality, and how they play.

On the other hand the Solomons - with this sudden, real impetus - can only improve. Solomons could well end up being a better work-out for us next Sept than the dour and predictable NZers.

written by Andrew Howe