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Australia Vs England 1980 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:13


In 1980 the Socceroos took on England in a one off game at the Sydney Cricket Ground as part of Australia's Centenary of Football celebrations.

The England squad was the strongest since the 1951 tour, with players such as Brian Robson, Glen Hoddle, Paul Mariner, Alan Devonshire and Terry Butcher the Australians were in for a fight.

Coach Rudi Gutendorf promoised that Australia would play attacking football : "I can promise the public that the Australian team is not treating this as a friendly match. We are determined to win...."

"...It is our intention to play offensive and aggressive soccer against the England side, as we did so successfully against Cosmos, Norwich City and in our third game against the European Champions Czechoslavakia..."

"...I am sure that the Australian public would not expect our part time players to be as fit or play better soccer than a full professional England side. However I cam promise that the spectators will see the one thing which has become the trademark of the Australian team, and that is the outstanding courage and fighting spirit they show when they play in the green and gold colours."

In his detailed match wrap of the game, Soccer Action editor Laurie Schwab wrote : "Rudi Gutendorf lies on his motel bed watching England beat Argentina 3-1 on television. He has just completed a tatical session on free kicks and corners - the final training before the evening game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Elsewhere in the building, the players too are resting, trying to still their nerves. Many have never played a match of such magnitude. Tony Henderson and Peter Sharne feel relieved. The injuries that have worried them are now gone.

Eddie Krncevic has been added to the squad because Gutendorf and Ron Greenwood have agreed to three substitutes rather than two. Krncevic still feels low though. He wants to be in the starting lineup and he reckons he can produce the form he showed on the China tour.

Gutendorf has Krncevic on the bench. His golden boy hasn't been playing well enough lately, Gutendorf says.

The Socceroos had been with the English players the night before and the visitors said they will win. This is not the English A team ofcourse. But Gutendorf has high respect for these B players who have come for an A International match to mark the centenary of Australian soccer.

Paul Mariner, Alan Sunderland, Gleen Hoddle and Brian Robson are as big in reputation as Tony Woodcock, Steve Coppell, Ray Kennedy and the other A players in Rome for European Championships.

A fine move by Diego Maradona in the TV game prompts Gutendorf to mutter, "What a player. What a player", as he hands me a slip of paper showing who is to mark whom.

Ivo Prskalo will be free at the back. Jim Muir is on Mariner and Tony Henderson on Sunderland. In the midfield, Steve Perry has David Armstrong, Jim Rooney is to watch Brian Robson, John Yzendoorn will take Brian Talbot and out wide on the left, Jim Tansey will try to block Hoddle.

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The match has been promoted so well, so traffic to the ground is heavy. The attendance of 30084 is not bad but it doesn't meet the expectations of the Federation since the game against Cosmos last year drew perhaps 50,000.

There's the usual brass band strutting back and forth before the match, and then governor-General Sir Zelman Cowan comes out to shake hands with all the players.

We're out there on the field, taking pictures of it all. "Don't move," we're told by an official. "Standstill," he yells. "The security people don't allow you to move."

Are we to be shot if we disobey?

Waves of Union Jacks ripple in the grandstands, Typically, the Australian flag is outnumbered.

But those that do squeeze their way past the English banners flap madly as Cole forces goalkeeper Joe Corrigan to make a desperate one-handed save with a well taken free kick in the first minute of play.

And Cole strikes again seconds later, turning on the ball to get past Butcher and firing in a strong shot which Corrigan saves low.

The other players are scrambling about frantically trying to follow their direct opponents but when England scores it's due to no-one picking up Hoddle coming from behind.

The Australians involved are all goalside of the opponents, but Mariner lays the ball back and Hoddle scores with a slightly curling shot inside the left post. Ten minutes have gone and England leads 1-0.

In the 22nd minute comes Australia's best chance of the first half. Boden, from the midfield, plays an inspired through ball which sends Cole away on one of his favorite runs. He barges past Butcher and tries to steer a shot past Corrigan from an angle. Corrigan is beaten but the ball rolls past the post.

From a possible 1-1 Australia goes down 0-2 four minutes later.

Rooney's short-passing play breaks down in roughly England's left back position, where Butcher grabs the ball and finds Mariner in the clear with a very long pass. Prskalo appeals in vain for offside instead of sprinting towards Mariner. Goalkeeper Greg Woodhouse takes a few tentative strides towards Mariner who picks his mark and slams the ball high into the net.

A Mariner shot and a Mariner header soon afterwards should have added to the score.

Muir is not doing his job diligently enough. He's giving Mariner acres of room. He should be taking his cue from fellow stopper Tony Henderson who's squeezing Sunderland right out of the game.

England is coasting now. The Australians, still scurrying nervously after their opponents, are able to create little.

Unlike Australia, England has a free man in Hoddle. He is operating all over the pitch while Jim Tansey stays out wide. Gutendorf's plans must have changed. If Tansey goes inside with Hoddle, there will be no flank play for Australia on the left.

But since Tansey is staying wide, surely his team mates should be using him much more than they are.

Australia has a promising break after half an hour, when Jankovics, who has followed Lampard, clears a corner out of defence, finding Boden in midfield. Jankovics storms forward, gets the ball back from Boden, passes out to Perry and gets it back yet again but just as the move is beginning to look productive, Butcher moves in and breaks it up.

But England is well on top in this half.

Hoddle beats Rooney to get in a cross in the 39th minute. He finds Mariner who again is free of Muir, but his header is saved point-blank by Woodhouse.

Then Mariner tried an overhead scissors kick that just misses. Muir has the audacity to stand there and complain about Mariner being free!

It's 2-0 at half time and things look black for Australia. Theo Selemidis and Peter Sharne have been warming up on the sidelines for 10 minutes and they continue to do so during the interval. Eventually Gutendorf's assistant, Les Scheinflug fetches Sharne into the rooms. He's to come on for Ken Boden. Selemidis is to continue warming until he replaces Rooney in the 61st minute.

At this stage the best move would be to make room for Sharne by pushing Boden into midfield as a loose man. Muir should be replaced in defence by Yzendoorn. Alternatively, Prskalo could pick up Mariner, enabling Yzendoorn to stay in midfield where he's doing a good job.

But Gutendorf doesn't see it that way. Boden off, Sharne on. That's the only half-time move.

England remains unchanged. A four-goal tally seems a distinct possibility.

Mariner, Hoddle, Butcher and Corrigan have been England's best to half time. Henderson and Jankovics have starred for Australia. Cole and Perry have been sound as well.

But some Australians' lack of speed is exposed - Rooney and Tansey, for example. Prskalo as well.

Rooney, playing his 50th international, is having a forgettable night.

Referee Tony Boskovic wrongly awards Australia a corner although Corrigan has caught the ball inside play. Rooney takes the kick and in a well-rehearsed move, Jankovics runs towards the ball and sends a glancing header behind him towards the far post. Unfortunately for Australia, no-one is following it in.

England, although playing with much less conviction than it had earlier, gets another chance to score when Sunderland finds himself free of Henderson, but he does it badly and Woodhouse somehow manages to sit on the ball.

Sharne wastes no time. Only two minutes after coming on he combines with Tansey down the left for a cross that is headed out by Osman for a corner.

The corner count at the end of the match is to be 6-6.

Before Sharne turns the game Australia's way, Hoddle plays a cunning chip to the far post. Woodhouse, caught at the near post, reacts quickly, springint to the other side and getting there to tip the ball over for a corner.

Then Sharne starts his show.

After a very lucky let-off for Australia in defence, Sharne breaks down the left, leaving Trevor Cherry far behind. He squares it well, looking for Cole, but Talbot comes back quickly to deflect the ball and avert danger.

Jankovics shows brilliant control inside the penalty are, placing the ball square for Cole, who is bearing down furiously, but Corrigan dives at the big striker's feet.

Then comes a dangerous cross from Tansey - very close to the bar, forcing Corrigan to punch over the top one-handed.

A cross by Yzendoorn from the left goes over Osman's head to Sharne w ho is not expecting such a gift. Caught unprepared, Sharne heads the ball past the post.

Corrigan is fuming over his defender's slackness. As the ball-boy runs to fetch the ball, Corrigan snarls: "Leave it, leave it." He walks to it slowly, intent on wasting time.

Cherry doesn't know what's hit him as Sharne attacks again, gets past, outplays Talbot as well and squares yet again. This time Osman is forced to make a wild clearance, and the crowd starts chanting: "Aus-tral-ia, Aus-tral-ia!"

Selemidis, the young Heidelberg player who has served his Socceroo apprenticeship in the youth team and the Oceania cup, comes on finally. After 40 minutes, he is the most warmed-up player in history.

He looks very good - quick, confident, alert. The boy's got poise.

Within four minutes, Selemidis has sent Cole away with a good square pass. Cole skirts the English defence, looking for a gap. He gets too wide without finding one, but has a go nevertheless over the bar.

England attacks spasmodically now. David Armstrong shoots after a square ball from Mariner, but Woodhouse saves it, and then Woodhouse forces Sunderland to miss by narrowing the angle.

Hoddle plays a brilliant ball wide for Bryan Robson who misses instead of taking advantage of the space in front of him by running towards the goal.

That's just about the end of England's effort. Now it's all Australia, as Cole and Jankovics combine well for a shot by Jankovics, towards the far post. It's not quite powerful enough, though, and Corrigan manages to lunge forward and stop it.

What's needed now is to bring in Krncevic. Sharne needs someone running with him and Krncevic, his Marconi team-mate, is just the man to do it. Surely now is the time to hit England with every possible weapon. What's the point keeping two stoppers and a sweeper to defend a two-goal deficit?

But there are no more changes and Australia has to be content with its consolation goal, from a penalty, two minutes before the end.

Sharne is involved in that penalty but 10 minutes earlier, he is at the ehart of another promising Australian move.

He receives a long ball out of defence from Henderson and storms past Lampard who handles the ball in desperation. Referee Boskovic recognises advantage and lets it go. Sharne makes it back to the line and cuts the ball back, but the other forwards are over-anxious. They have come too far forward and the cut-back goes behind them. Cole is there in the thick of things, but it is Selemidis who eventually gets in a shot which Corrigan saves.

Peter Ward replaces forward Sunderland in the 84th minute - the second England substitute, as Alan Devonshire earlier had come on for Armstrong.

With two minutes left, Osman turns under pressure from Sharne to play a foolish back-pass to Corrigan. Sharne pounces on the ball and pushes it wide to Corrigan, preparing to continue on and slip it into the empty net, but Corrigan brings him down and Boskovic points to the spot. Cole places the shot strongly to Corrigan's right - his seventh goal for Australia and his third from the penalty spot.

May 31 - Australia 1 - England 2 @ Sydney Cricket Ground

Australia : Greg Woodhouse, Steve Perry, Jim Muir, Ivo Prskalo, Jim Tansey, Tony Henderson, John Yzendoorn, Jim Rooney (Theo Selemidis 62), Mark Jankovics, Gary Cole, Ken Boden (Peter Sharne 46)

England : Joe Corrigan, Trevor Cherry, Russell Osman, Terry Butcher, Frank Lampard, Brian Talbot, Glenn Hoddle, Brian Robson, Alan Sunderland (Peter Ward 85), Paul Mariner (Brian Greenhoff 88), David Armstrong (Alan Devonshire)

At the end of the Australian domestic season, the Socceroos travelled to Asia and Europe to further exposure the team to International football in the leadup to the 1981 World Cup Qualifiers.

One of the games was against an England B side played at Birmingham.

November 17 - Australia 0 - England B 1 @ St Andrews Birmingham

Australia : Allan Maher, Steve Perry (Theo Selemidis 60), Jim Tansey, Murray Barnes, Ivo Prskalo, Tony Henderson, Alan Davidson (Steven Hogg 21), Peter Sharne, Ken Boden (Mark Jankovics 52), Gary Cole (Arno Bertogna 77), Eddie Krncevic

England B : Gary Bailey, Brendan Batson (Kevin Bond 60), John Bailey, Steve Williams, Joe Gallagher, Billy Wright, Alan Sunderland, Dennis Mortimer, Cyrille Regis (Tony Morley 68), Gordon Cowans, Peter Ward

Goal : Sunderland 51st