Australia 4 - Argentina 3

Chris Dunkerley wrote :

> The boys had to give up the midfield for long periods but kept the Argies
> in check, and got them on the breakaway with some nice balls by Damianos
> and Emerton. OK David was that you bagging Salapasidis?

I wasn't bagging him, I was bagging not including Allsopp in the lineup. However, I am willing to pay certain considerations to anybody who has a store of any material I may have referred to Salapasidis in a less-than holy matter. Only digital files are valid, examinable by i-node reference ;)

> Well done, and I'm going to bed. Hope you SBs watchers enjoyed it too.

Is that all you can say??? Australia beat the Youth champions of the world 4-3 and all you can do is post about 20 lines??? Are you in denial or something???

Quickfire report : If you haven't seen it, RUN, do not walk, to your nearest mate with a copy. THREATEN, BEG or offer to perform sexual favours to watch it.

Aussie boys line up thusly :

			Danny "Jesus Saves" Milosevic

			   Hayden "Milan-Baresi" Foxe

		Con "Arnie" Blatsis		Seb "Sublime" Sinozic

Brett "F*ck Newcastle,					Ivan "Bro" Zelic
     it's Newcastle United" Emerton		

				Vince "Gold" Grella

	Mark "ManU are shite" Robertson		Billy "Zane" Damianos

  Kostas "Sir-God-Holy Father-Jesus-Walks on Water-Not worthy" Salapasidis

			  Michael "Danny who?" Curjica

The Argie boys lineup like :


		      Serrizuela	Markic (the only Argie-Croat? ;)	
Samuel							    Scalon
			   Cambiasso "Diego 2"
Placente						Diaz
			   Riquelme  "Diego 4"
		Romeo(dirty diving cheat)  Quintana "Diego 3"
Ref : Some Belgian twat (actually he was quite good).

The most noteable omission from the Aussie lineup was Luselas Neill, via injury (to his brain) and Mark Robertson, who shat all over the ManU youth team a few months back while playing for club team Marconi, was promoted.

The qualifier could be said to be a dead rubber, having already qualified via other results going our way. Base advantage and avoiding the likes of Brazil in the next round were the imposing questions on the minds of the players present.

The Argie team have a few useful players present. Cambiasso is said to be Diego mk II, whilst Riquelme has starred for his club team. Quintana LOOKS more like Diego than the other two and sure enough played like it.

The Argies brushed aside Hungary as expected, then beat an overachieving Canadian side 2-1, perhaps hinting at defensive frailities.

For the Aussies, previously to this match they had the best defence, conceding the sum total of 0 goals against world-beaters Hungary and Canada.

Blatis was dominant in the air, Foxe commanded the area, Sinozic shut it down and Milosevic got the rest. The so-called all-star Oz midfield was plainly failing to live up to expectations. it was left to Daniel Allsopp to rescue our hopes with an 89th minute goal against Hungary.

The opening few minutes were the sort of stuff you expected, time nuff to grab a cocoa.

At 8', a neat interchange of passes saw Riquelme with the ball at his feet in the middle of the Australian half, all alone. Not a wise choice. He spotted Romeo charging behind Blatsis and simply passed it up the middle. Blatsis, better in the air than on the ground, was a half second too slow and Romeo stutter-stepped around the lousy challenge of Milosevic and put it in.


Australia then stepped up a gear, the most pleasing aspect of this team compared to the other two games was the reluctance to pass back for bloody once. A few useful combinations got nowhere, when Robertson came into the game.

He got the ball on the left, strode past one defender before picking out Zelic making a run on the touchline. The pass was good, the cross gilt-edged, A+ quality. Like a heatseeking missile, it homed in on the head of Curjica at the penalty spot. A golden opportunity for the scores to be levelled and for Australia to get back into things.

Now, putting a 'quality' striker in the same situation would likely result in a goal, a jump, back arched, head back before the snap, meeting the inswinging cross directly on the forehead. Placement does not matter greatly here, the sheer speed of the ball from the forehead usually denotes a goal, provided the headee tracks the ball and looks at his target just after heading.

Curjica ignored the tried and trusted method of heading, stood on the spot and could only act surpised when he missed the goal.

"F*ck it. 'nother long one by the looks of it."

The Argies were then content to roll the ball around defence and midfield, flashy stuf, not testing. A few half-hearted thrustes were repelled with no discernible damage.

When Australia did win the ball, it was usually lost within a few seconds of receiving it. The exception to this was the highly intelligent play of Grella, deputising for the injured Wehrmann. Grella has improved with the tournament, creating space for himself and 95% of the time taking the right option. He is also the only Oz player to understand the concept of possession, that if you hang onto the ball, you can't lose it.

Quintana received the ball around 30' and sent a sliced shot just wide of the goal. He would always present trouble for the Ozzies, particulary when he was in the near vincinity of Blatsis. At around 35', he sent in another speculative shot that Milosevic took without too much trouble.

Australia were beginning to get comfortable in midfield, the aggressive running of Zelic in particular creating some problems for the Argies. Like his brother two years before in Buenos Aries, the Argies would quickly learn that Zelic and Australia mean danger.

As a result, a quick crossfield shift saw Emerton send in a cross that was nodded on by Markic, finding Curjica alone with a difficult ball about 3 metres beyond the far post. He shot wildly and over, although I could not expect a goal from such a difficult angle.

Quintana then replied, a laser-like switch that ended with Diez testing Milosevic at the near post.

Australia was on parity with the Argies in midfield, both sides testing and moving, although Argentina held the ball for longer periods, without really wanting anything. Riquelme would dribble occasionally to enliven things but Argentina were waiting for the whistle.

A stupid foul by Robertson saw Argies mess around with the ball awhile before a quick cross in surprised Milosevic, who dropped the ball, Romeo not just in the right place.

Australia then attacked, lost it again and Argentina went for the counter, but a particularly neat exchange saw Serizulea slip over much to the enjoyment of the crowd. Australia possession, Grella bit off more than he could chew.

At around 40', another cross from the livewire Emerton found the shortish Salapasidis winning the header in the box, outjumping the towers of the Argie defence. A weakness perchance? But without a true killer in the air, the weakness could not be exploited, and so this chance was lost as well.

On points, Argentina were comfortably ahead, when lightning struck, not once, but twice.

Taking the goalkick, Franco sent it long. Blatsis read the upcoming danger well and sent it back. Cambiasso and Scalon left it, Curjica shepherded the ball up to the area and then noted Salapasidis making a run. The lob over the defence was not particularly threatening, but Markic? was a yard too slow and put in a heavy tackle. Franco had hesisated on his line. Salapasidis simply rode the tackle and with the outside of his boot sent it over Franco into the far corner.


Argentina steamed in, throwing caution to the wind. They lost it, Grella and Emerton bought it up, Damianos nutmegged Markic, reading Salapasidis' run into the box. He shot and beat Franco again.


The Argies were really pissed now and they blitzed the area, the ball cannoning around before being belted out.

Their next major saw a chip to the back post where Serizuela headed down only for Milosevic to punch out.

Halftime, an amazing reverse from Oz saw us 2-1 up. If you'd asked me before, I'd have called you a liar. Halftime would be a respite from the predictable Argentinian onslaught in the second half.

We crossed to Kevin Muscat, another U-20 rep in 1993 who has gone a long way. A utility player, he will play for Crystal Palace in the Premier division next northen season, after displaying qualities everybody knew not existed.

Halftime ended, back to the game. Almost immediately Emerton set off only for the through ball to be intercepted. It would prove the calm before the storm, the clean-up set before the dumpers, the darkest hour.

[I feel it neccessary to point out that David has not detailed Australia's third goal in which Emerton skirted the area in classic Kanchelskis fashion, saw Salapasidis peeling off from his defender at the far post and upon receiving the ball shot across the front of the goalkeeper for the 3-1.... back to David - Thomas Esamie]

We start subbing in defenders, preparing for the storm. Baser on for Zelic, Bove on for Curjica and Luselas Neill on for Robertson.

Time and again, Argentina would attack. Time and again the ball would be repelled straight to a blue and white shirt. My blood pressure, ulcer (I can fell a XXXX coming on) and body temperature were rising at an exponential rate. Damianos kicked the ball straight out when he got it in the box, Blatsis took out his frustrations by trying to hit Perekman with another bullet and Neill was doing what he does best.

A respite from the storm (very briefly). Emerton, surely rescheduling his Newcastle destination to the one in England, dribbles from the left by-line back around the so called Argie defence before laying it off to the quick one, who beat Franco and Scalon yet again.

At this point, Argentina have gone an hour without scoring, Australia have scored 3 in 10 minutes. I thought I'd never see the day. Helped by a pretty dodgy keeper, the real difference between the two sides. Milosevic is a strong keeper in the air, down quick and reads the game well. As he proved 1 on 1 against Quintana about 5 times.

Quintana may look like Diego and even dribble like him, but he cannot finish it off. 3 good chances in 5 minutes alone went missing - the post, sub Baser and a screwed shot all missing, the last of these was a real stinker, as bad as Curjica's headed effort in the first half.

Then that dirty diving cheat Romeo takes a fanciful tumble in the box, it would have helped his cause had he not stumbled BEFORE he passed Milosevic. Booked for his pains. I recommend that UEFA assign this referee to games in which Inghazi and Del Piero play in. They'd struggle to score.

Another cheating bastard tumbles straight into Baser with the ball well out of reach, and the ref buys it. I didn't know that the EC extended to South America. The ball is high and wide.

Luselas Neill is more than Useless, he is giving away petulant frees in danger areas. Sure enough, the dork does it once too often and Riquelme does not need excessive charity. The ball is quick and hard into the box, driven in by Markic, Milosevic saves! but Placente scores on the rebound. No Jesus yet, Milosevic has yet to learn the art of keeping his disciples.

At this point, the Australian 'defence' is scattered to the winds. dervishes appear from nowhere, send the ball rocketing at escape velocity goalbound, but usually finding a a Weet-bix enchanced brick of Aussie in the way.

Cambiasso was noteable for his lack of absence. He plays more Simeone than Diego and was struggling to get into the match, aside from a run or two.

A dirty foul on Milosevic by Diez raises my dander. He saw Milosevic would win the ball but still couldn't resist a kick to the ribs. It took Jesus a long time to recover, but he had to rise from the dead - we were subbed out (in the 60th minute, mind you). He rose a few minutes later, with the help of my Bible - "Jesus wept"

A quick break sees Salapasidis in a 3 onto 2 situation, but ignores Grella on the right and Damianos on the left. Ball hogging bastard!

A dodgy handball results in a penalty against us. The laws of the game clearly state that a handball can only be called when it's deliberate, and such that a 80kmh thunderbolt that hits Foxe in the arm cannot really be a handball. So why then do refs call this one? Riquelme can teach Gallardo the art of taking a penalty as he demonstrates.

I cannot really describe the insanity of conceding an 88th minute penalty from a 3-2 up position. Numbness, so close yet so far, we played shite for 70 minutes yet were 3-2 up... it goes on and on.


Grella to the fore. Sucking in the midfield, drops it over the defence to the speed demon on the left. Speed demon dribbles up, Scalon puts in a silly challenge, there can be no doubt.

Salapasidis, the speed demon, will of course take the penalty. He writes the game's final chapter by nailing it.

A few more minutes but that is it. Surely Argentina will give up now? But they don't. Another freekick, Surizela blasts it into the wall, it deflects to the right side of the post. Game over.

Argentina show their class, accepting a harrowing defeat in good grace.

Ratings (if they should be counted after such a win...)

Milosevic 9 hang onto the hard balls, he'd be a star
Foxe 8 Okon/Zelic mk II, all-round brilliance
Blatsis 8 so many balls cleared out
Sinozic 7 not as prominent as the other 2 defenders
Zelic 6 limited but a few threatening runs
Damianos 6 kept giving it away in the second, silly selections
Grella 8 not Wehrmann, but making up for it
Robertson 6 hasn't lived upto pre-championsip potential
Emerton 9 superb talent, superb player, well ahead of Neill
God 10 4 goals, can't say more
Curjica 5 holds the ball up well but that's it

2 years ago, we lost a memorable encounter in the same tournament to Cameroon, 3-2. It was nice to beat the champs in such a game, such a close one. Great feeling.

written by David Arnold