You are here

Australia vs Kuwait

Asian Cup Finals 2015 - Group Stage, Match 1
Australia vs Kuwait
at Melbourne Rectangular Field on 2015-01-09T09:00:00
Score: 4-1 (2-1)
Scorers: Tim Cahill (33'), Massimo Luongo (44'), Mile Jedinak (62', P), James Troisi (90+2')
Official Info: AFC Details
Previous Match: Japan vs Australia
Next Match: Australia vs Oman

We began by keeping possession against a Kuwait side that was clearly parking the bus early. We took a body blow in just the 8th minute when some poor defending at a corner lead to an unmarked player scoring for Kuwait. All the doubts about our rejuvenation under Postecoglou surfaced. Could Kuwait protect this lead and hand Australia a disastrous defeat? Thankfully no.

The next twenty minutes were hard going as we looked for ways through a well organised defence. Around the 30-minute mark we really started to pick up the pace and create opportunities. Luongo did well to beat three and put in the perfect cross to Cahill who finished clinically. Drawing level proved decisive as we went on with it from there. Luongo scored our second from a fine header and we went into the break 2-1 up.

In the second half, we maintained our pressure and created many opportunities. Kruse earned a penalty and Jedinak put the result beyond doubt. We had a small lapse following substitutions for both teams, before steadying. Postecoglou used all our subs and brought on attacking players. Burns could have had a couple but for the cross-bar and a fine save. Troisi put the icing on the cake at the death.

All up it was a convincing win. Conceding from a set piece early was unforgivable, but the way be fought back was pleasing. In attack we were very good. Matt Ryan pulled off some great saves and our defence was solid. The most important thing from this match will be the confidence it gives the squad. After a tough 2014, a big win will settle a lot of nerves. But let's not forget that we should have won this match. Kuwait are ranked 125 in the world and Australia 100. (And if you buy into the theory that our ranking could be higher, but for our choice to play several away games against better teams, the gap is even more.)

Our next match against Oman on Tuesday will give us a good idea of where we stand. Their ranking of 93 and our past experience suggests this will be a tough match. After last night, the sporting public will be expecting a win. Australia's challenge is to deliver and get some momentum before a genuine contest against the Republic of Korea (rank 69) on Saturday.

Hat-tip to Tim Cahill for scoring in his third Asian Cup to complement scoring in three World Cups. There can't be many men who achieved the equivalent, ie. scoring in three World Cups and three of their respective confederation's Cups. For mine, he is Australia's best ever.

Boo to the ABC for promoting "live" coverage that started after the match was over.

Update: The Republic of Korea defeated Oman 1-0 on Saturday. This probably works in our favour as Oman need a result against us in order to progress. This assumes Korea will beat Kuwait, which seems likely. If Oman draw with us, they will need to defeat Kuwait, Korea to beat us and for the cumulative goal differences to go in their favour. This is possible, but the goal difference will be a challenge. Realistically they need to beat us. So they cannot be too defensive which should give us opportunities. That said, they have a good goalkeeper. Stay tuned.

Update 2: Captain Mile Jedinak's injury is severe enough that he will miss the Oman game. Let's hope he's fit to play Korea.