|Australia Vs England 1983|
|Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:14|
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND - 1983
Australia took on England in a 3 game series starting in Sydney on June 12th.
The Australians, under the coaching of Frank Arok were considered to be hard working and hard running but to be no match for the seasoned professionals. Arok sacrificed what he later called "entertainment" in order to be "a lot more careful in defence". He was criticised in some circles but this approach, but he defended his tactics by saying, "I was given the job to get results and I did it. Who cares how we played?"
Soccer Action editor Laurie Schwab rated each player after the first game.
TERRY GREEDY: Sound international debut in goal, highlighted by a diving save of Trevor Francis's free kick in the first half, Came out confidently to the few balls played high from
CHARLIE YANKOS: Completely unflappable in his first game as sweeper. Positioned himself faultlessly, was in command even in the most difficult situations - like when he stopped a potentially deadly England attack by slide-tackling Gordon Cowans from behind as Cowans was racing into the penalty area during the second half. When the draw became more and more a possibility, he did the right thing in slowing play down by using his goalkeeper Terry Greedy. He was booed instantly for that, but it didn't worrv him at all, and wedelighted in the Australians' cockiness when Yan-kos, Ratcliffe and Jennings played some lazy triangles in defence waiting for openings further upfield.
ALAN DAVIDSON: You can't get a bad game from him when he wears the green and gold. His game in- cluded everything - a powerful clearing header inside the area in the first half, desperate tackles, relentless closing down of opponents and his fanatic determination to get forward and join in the attacks - especially in the first half when he was more a forward than a defender. The introduction of winger John Barnes as a second-half substitute presented Davidson with new problems, and although Barnes managed a few dangerous raids, Davidson readjusted his game, concentrating less on getting forward than nullifying Barnes. A performance
STEVE O'CONNOR: His job was to mark Luther Blissett and Blissett certainly knew he'd been in a contest until Robson replaced him with Paul Walsh just after half time. O'Connor then picked up Walsh who was rarely sighted. Also contributed to lead-up play when possible
DAVID RATCLIFFE: Had probably the most difficult defensive job, having to tag $2 million man Trevor Francis The Sampdoria star is an instinctive player of great skill and flair, a player who runs endlessly and bam-boozles opponents wherever he goes on the field. It was to Ratcliffe's everlasting credit that he followed Francis everywhere, never losing concentration. When necessary, Ratcliffe used the professional foul to stop Francis - which saved Australia from disaster at tbe edge of the box at least once. Ratcliffe was also at hand to stop other England forwards in a performance during which he put behind him the lingering memories of the series against New Zealand early this year
GRAHAM JENNINGS: Playing left back, he was the least conspicuous of
JOE WATSON: It was a tribute to Watson that Derek Statham found it
JIM CANT: A commendable performance by the Sydney City player whose inclusion was criticised from the start, It was he who had Australia's best chance at goal, picking up the rebound as Peter Katholos's shot was blocked, and bringing a fine save from Shilton He was on hand to clean up dangerous situations allover the field, showed a bit of skill and all in all emerged as a strong midfield anchor man
PETER KATHOLOS (Pictured with Alan Davidson): Probably the best player of the match, Katholos was relied upon from the start to construct Australia's attacks when the ball was played forward When Australia did not have possession, Katholos marked Steve Williams and when he did got the ball, he showed breathtaking skill in swerving and dribbling past his eminent opponents, and delivering incisive passes to fpllow attackers Robson paid Katholos the ultimate compliment afterwards, saying "He looked an outstanding player; very creative, "very strong, very good on the ball"
JOHN KOSMINA: Tireless running, fearlessness, and a constant willingness to mix it with Terry Butcher and Russell Osman, not to mention a promising shot at goal that whistled just over the bar, made captain Kosmina an example to his team mates, The striking positions are the most difficult to play effectively, especially in a team that doesn't come forward very often Kosmina therefore had to scratch desperately for everything. He never gave in.
PHIL O'CONNOR: Had a difficult opponent in Danny Thomas, yet managed to use his skill a few times to outplay Thomas and get the ball inside. As was the case with Kosmina, O'Connor had to make his own luck without too much support, and he battled away until replaced by David Mitchell
DAVID MITCHELL: Came on in the 65th minute and put himself about as much as possible during the latter part of the game. On a pass from Katholos, he threatened the England defence but was forced wide until the chance was lost.
PETER STONE: Replaced Joe Watson for the last 10 minutes
June 12 - Australia 0 - England 0 @ Sydney Cricket Ground
Australia : Terry Greedy, Alan Davidson, Charlie Yankos, David Ratcliffe, Steve O'Connor, Graham Jennings, Joe Watson (Peter Stone 80'), Jim Cant, Peter Katholos, John Kosmina, Phil O'Connor (David Mitchell 65')
England : Peter Shilton, Thomas, Osman, Terry Butcher, Statham (John Barnes 69'), Barham, Williams, Gregory, Cowans, Blissett (Paul Walsh 59'), Trevor Francis
June 15 - Australia 0 - England 1 @ Lang Park Brisbane
Soccer Action's match report
Australia's biggest losing margin in an international in Brisbane was 1-5 against England in 1925 - but the way the Socceroos played at Lang Park last Wednesday, coach Frank Arok obviously feared that record was in danger of being broken.
Although Trevor Francis always looked dangerous on the ball he seldom got the service he wanted and only occasionally got away from his marker, Dave Ratcliffe. The Socceroos easily could have got away without second stopper, Steve O'Connor which would have enabled them to concentrate more on attacking the English defence which was shown more than once not to be impervious.
Australia had every chance of beating the Englishmen, had they played to their own strengths rather than trying to stop the opposition which seldom played in the class many had anticipated. Australia has not won an international in Brisbane for 29 years but this was surely one of its best chances ever of a victory.
The Australians could easily have had two goals through Jim Cant and Alan Davidson. But hesitation and lack of shooting confidence cost the Socceroos their opportunities. Cant was the key player in a sensational move by the Socceroos in the 25th minute. He played a series of one-two's to march through the centre of the England defence and found himself inside the England penalty box with only keeper Peter Shilton to beat.
But rather than attack the goal, as everyone including the Englishmen expected, Cant ran to the byline and squared a harmless pass across the goalmouth. There was not an Australian to be found in the middle and the Englishmen casually regained possession.
Few could believe how Davidson missed his opportunity. The Socceroos took a quick free-kick outside the penalty box and caught the England defence unawares. The ball was slipped out to the right where Davidson dribbled into the six yard box. The South Melbourne Hellas defender baulked when he should have shot. Then as he attempted to round Shilton, the seasoned international dived on the ball and prevented an equaliser.
England, promising a feast of goals in the pre-match propaganda, started strongly and Francis almost scored when he ran onto a great ball from Russell Osman after only seven minutes. But a brave save from Terry Greedy, who dived headlong at Francis' feet, kept the scoresheet clean. That near miss obviously frightened the Australians even more and they retracted further into their defensive shell.
With frontrunners John Kosmina and Phil O'Connor causing Osman and Terry Butcher about as much trouble as a pair of mosquitoes, Engiand was able to push more players forward And when they lost fullback Derek Statham with an injured knee, alter a wild Joe Watson tackle in the 21st minute, they didn't even bother replacing him positionally and let substitute Steve Williams run free in the midfield. With four in the middle against Australia's three and Katholos was doing nothing anyway - England was always in control and under the superb directorship of Aston Villa's Gordon Cowans, began to swing the ball around in an attempt to drag the Socceroos' central defense wide.
They succeeded in doing that beautifully when Francis went onto the flank, taking Ratcliffe with him, then crossed beautifully to big Phil Neal. Neal got to the ball and put his header past Greedy, but it was striker Phil O'Connor who did the defenders' job and headed off the line. With the scores level at halftime, Australia would have shocked the Englishmen had they came out and attacked but once again the Socceroos played their waiting game. And they only had to wait 12 minutes for England to score.
Mark Barham, who got through a lot of work, took the ball down the right flank and played a deep cross. The Australians tried three or four timi!s to get the ball away. But never successfully, and with the ball bobbling on the rough Lang Park surface it was the nippy Walsh who turned a half chance into a goal and slotted the ball into the net from close range. It was then that the Australians should have thrown caution to the wind and gone for a win or at least an-entertaining loss, but the Australians stuck to their well-publicised plan. Arok eventually made the right move by bringing Ken Murphy on for the hapless Katholos in the 69th minute, and Mitchell
After the match Arok (pictured right) declared himself a proud man. "There was little difference between the sides and we will be going flat out for a win in Melbourne. Everyone expected England to beat us by four or five goals but those days have gone by," he said.
Australia : Terry Greedy, Alan Davidson, Charlie Yankos, David Ratcliffe, Steve O'Connor, Graham Jennings, Joe Watson, Peter Katholos (Ken Murphy 69'), Jim Cant, John Kosmina, Phil O'Connor (David Mitchell 75)
England : Peter Shilton, Neal, Osman, Terry Butcher, Stratham (Williams 21), Barham, Cowans, Gregory, Trevor Francis, Paul Walsh, John Barnes
Goal : Walsh 57th
June 19 - Australia 1 - England 1 @ Olympic Park Melbourne
After threatening to grind Australia into the turf during a whirlwind
Trevor Francis scored his first goal of the series but later missed a penalty, and Phil Neal had the unfortunate experience of scoring an own goal which deprived goalkeeper Peter Shilton of a British record. Shilton hadn't conceded a goal in six matches. Seven would have given him that record.
England had 19 scoring attempts to Australia's five, including a penalty and a sizzling shot by Barnes that hit the crossbar - but goalkeeper Terry Greedy, the best player of the match, simply would not yield and for the first 15 minutes of the second half: Australia actually outplayed England.
Phil O'Connor, with a shot under pressure from Russell Osman, and with goalkeeper Nigel Spink well out of his area, missed an open goal, and a header by David Ratcliffe flashed centimetres past the post. Australia started with Ken Murphy in place of Peter Katholos, while England had brought in Nick Pickering for his first cap, in place of injured left back Derek Stitham, plus Sammy Lee who had missed the match in Brisbane due to injury After half time, goalkeeper Spink also got his first England cap. England is shooting machine-gun passes crossfield and to the flanks, fraying the nerves of the Australians who look flat and sore after two tough matches.
Phil Neal, having moved up the field, tries a short through ball for Trevor Francis but Murphy blocks it - his first touch in his first full international John Barnes, the athletic left winger, is leading Alan Davidson a merry chase in the early minutes. Davidson, suffering a groin injury but playing nevertheless, is having trouble keeping up with the speedy winger. On a through ball from Gordon Cowans, Barnes dashes clear and slams a cross close to the Australian goal. Greedy makes a great save, palming the ball over the top. Then Francis crosses from the right side and big Terry Butcher is there, having come forward from his centre back position. Butcher gets his head to it, but the ball ricochets off an Australian defender in front of him for a corner.
Davidson tries a long forward ball for Phil O'Connor. lt goes over the forward's head, turning into a shot at goal, but Shilton catches it easily and sends England back into attack. Paul Walsh is beaten by Yankos, but then England gets a free kick over a foul by Davidson on Barnes. Lee takes it and Walsh tries to turn onto it in the middle, but Steve O'Connor stands firm. Still England surges forward, with Barnes and Francis playing a one-two, but Greedy turns Barnes' cross over the top for a corner. Francis is in the box, waiting for that corner, and he spears a lethal header towards Greedy who saves one-handed, earning the applause of the crowd.
Walsh runs after a through ball but is beaten by Yankos, and Steve O'Connor heads away a Barnes cross for another corner. Greedy saves
How long can Auslralia hold out! The pressure is unbearable.
It's the 15 minute mark now. David Ratcliffe, marking Francis as he had in Brisbane and Sydney, brings down the $2-million man with a foul. Francis rceives treatment, then gets into the box to wait for Cowans' free kick. It lands at his feet, he turns like lightning and whips his shot past Greedy to put England into the lead.
A brilliant goal, nothing less.
Phil O'Connor now starts his greatlest performance for Australia. He gets clear of Neal on the left and crosses a great ball which begs in vain for an Australian to run onto it. Certainly it has beaten the entire English defence.
Next, O'Connor offers himself for a through ball from from Jim Cant but Shilton darts to the edge of the area gathers the ball in before O'Connor can do damage. Pickering, quite solid in his first international, picks up a clearance from Steve O'Connor and rams itl low and hard Ihrough a sea of legs, just past the far post.
Davidson is coming into the game much more. He clears with a powerful header then shows his class in cutting out a header from Barnes and with Neal eliminating the possibility of a back pass to Greedy, turns elegantly the other way to clear upfield.
Cowans brilliantly rides tackles from Watson and Davidson oul on the left and gets the ball forward to Walsh whose shot is too high. Lee sends England forward once more but Davidson blocks Barnes and Yankos clears the ball as referee Jack Johnston blows the half-time whistle
It's been a memorable half. Cowans, Butcher, Lee, Francis and Barnes have been outstanding for England, as have Greedy, Yankos, Phil O'Connor and Watson for Australia.
England manager Bobby Robson replaces Shilton with Nigel Spink and Neal - who shouldn't have played because of an injury - with Danny Thomas who did so well in Sydney.
Phil O'Connor gets into the fray immediately, but he's downed by Butcher who's having a fine game in England's defence. Murphy gets clear to play the ball square into the box, but no.one's there to take advantage of it, and
Full marks to Osman for his persistence. Robson had said the previous day that Osman put in his finest performance for England in the Brisbane match. Australia has control now, although Thomas does manage a harmless shot which Greedy saves cleanly.
Again, O'Connor darts away but without support he cannot overcome sheer weight of numbers and eventually is dispossessed. He does it again, however, a few minutes later and this time, after having beaten Thomas, he sees Kosmina coming through the middle. O'Connor sends the ball over, but Butcher clears before Kosmina can reach it.
It's England's turn now. Francis goes on a diagonal run across the defence and cuts the ball back to Walsh for a shot. It's Greedy in command once more. There's no way to beat this guy!
Now we savor one of the most memorable moments of the match.
Davidson, having come from right back to the left wing, is holding possession against a barrage of furious challenges. He's got four men around him, and still he's the master of the ball. Finally two of the Englishmen sandwich him and Davidson comes out of it with the free kick.
Osman saves England from a certain goal in the 58th minute. O'Connor has wriggled clear inside the penalty area and has turned for his shot from about 12 metres, after a forward ball from Ratcliffe. The goal is at O'Connor's mercy but Osman, with only one chance to advert disaster, manages a perfectly-timed challenge which stops the Australian striker.
Murphy and Wilson play a one-two down the line, and the cross comes in, looking for Kosmina. Butcher stands in Kosmina's way and Spink comes out to clutch the ball. Osman concedes a corner as Watson hooks in a cross. It's Australia's first corner, and it's the 62-minute mark of the match. The corner is taken by Watson himself, and Ratcliffe, rising like a Boeing
The crowd erupts chanting "AUSTRALIA. AUSTRALIA!"
We're seeing the very best of Davidson now, He sells Francis a dummy, turns and plays it out of defence. If Francis is worth $2 million,
Yankos brings down Cowans on the flank and with the free kick, Cowans forces Greedy to punch clear under pressure. Barnes latches onto the rebound and slams a fantastic 30-metre drive against the crossbar. That so nearly was the winning goal.In punching away the free kick, Greedy falls and requires treatment, but he's back on his feet ready for more. Robson decides he needs reinforcements to break down this Australian defence, so Luther Blissett comes on for Walsh in the 69th minute. Greedy mukes another strong reflex save, from Butcher who has connected with a corner kick.
The Australian goalkeeper excels once more in coming out very far to catch the ball in front of Francis, and then he's fouled while punching clear a corner from Barnes. Next, he pounces at the feet of Blissett, but he can see all his good work reduced to nothing as Kosmina pushes an opponent inside the area, and referee Johnston awards England a penalty.
Francis is the man who will take it. He places it. He shoots, and it's a good one. past Greedy who is given no chance. But walt! Johnston orders Francis to take it again.
We later learn later that Johnston told Francis not to shoot until given the signal, Francis had not heeded that command. No signal had been given by Johnston.
And so a decision greeted with much hostility by the crowd proves to be justified Francis has his chance to score with the second kick, but instead he blasts it over the bar! The Australian players are thoroughly delighted, of course. So too are the Australian fans,
Francis figures prominently again in a free kick situation at the edge of the area, Cowans rolls the ball to him and Francis goes to his right. trying to skirt the wall and get into the clear but Murphy follows him and wins the ball with a sliding tackle. Jennings and O'Connor go down the line with a one-two but Jennings can't get his cross in, O'Connor does more good work a few moments later, resulting in a shot by Murphy which is deflected for a corner.
At the other end. Greedy saves a low shot by Osman.
Australian coach Frank Arok is up on his feet, waiting for the final seconds to tick by, Davidson has the last word with a header that is saved by Spink and it's all over.
It's a 1-1 draw and it's been one of the most exciting international matches yet played at Olympic Park.
Australia : Terry Greedy, Charlie Yankos, Alan Davidson, David Ratcliffe, Steve O'Connor, Graham Jennings, Joe Watson, Jim Cant, Ken Murphy, John Kosmina, Phil O'Connor
Goal : Neal 27th og
England : Peter Shilton (Nigel Spink 46), Neal (Thomas 46'), Terry Butcher, Osman, Pickering, Lee, Gregory, Cowans, Trevor Francis, Peter Walsh (Blissett 69'), John Barnes
Goal : Francis 25th