United States of America 0 - Australia 0

Enjoyed the match reports and won't add mine except to say that there was a huge improvement in attitude to the slaughter by the lambs in Brisbane. Mainly, I think, because of Marco Viduka who actually TRIED. All over the park we were more aggressive and gave the Septics very little space.

Don't forget,they were at home, had qualified for France98 (yes, I know this was not their best team - it was hardly ours) and we had had two or three awful results most recently. i thought we did alright, especially in the those circumstances.

The ground was one of the most disgraceful I've seen for a long time. It made the Domain No 2 in Hobart look like Wembley. For those who haven't seen the game (and won't, no doubt), the stadium is obviously an American Football ground so that the gridiron markings were well in evidence. The US game must be played on a relatively narrow surface as, particularly on the camera side, there was a sea of mud between the gridiron and football touch lines about ten metres wide, At the half way line it was especially bad and what's more there seemed only about three metres to a pinkish concrete wall an all sides of the ground. Ideal for wall passes, but a bit daunting is you were travelling at speed in that direction. It meant there was a little bit where the TV viewer couldn't actually see the action because of the height of the wall and left very little run up for the corner takers. Other parts of the surface had clearly been resurfaced just for the game so there were quite extensive areas of presumably loose turf, lots of badly worn areas and the swampy bit on one side. The locals were clearly upset by it and also mentioned that there had been two other matches there to churn it up on that day! Thus fine control was difficult and, IMO, did excuse some of the sloppy football - it couldn't have been easy.

One more point - I thought there was a big crowd in, but it was only 15 000. The ground was just right and looked nice and full - no off putting concrete wastelands. One upside of having lines across the ground 5 metres apart (as mentioned by the commentators) is that you can see if a wall is 10 back from a free kick and there was on excellent demo when one of the Septics was clearly only one line away when we had a free kick just outside their box and the ref ignored the extra data available inadvertently to him.

I thought the Extra Special Pronunciation Network folk did a very professional job. They had really done there homework on Oz football and used term such as Socceroos, Joeys, Olyroos and so on comfortably. They details about our absent OS players and what happened on Nov 29th., pronounced the players names well, identified their clubs accurately and were very fair and even in their description of the game.

Overall, for me, an interesting experience even though the standard of the game was average and ground deplorable.. It left me feeling that we are not completely without hope, but agree that we don't have any style or pattern emerging under La Paloma and I feel he may be actually playing the caretaker role and so should either be given the job or the arse soon.

written by David Marshall