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Honduras vs Australia

FIFA World Cup - 2018 Qualifiers - AFC vs CONCACAF - Match 1
Honduras vs Australia
at Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, Honduras on 2017-11-10T05:00:00
Score: 0-0 (0-0)
Official Info: Socceros
Previous Match: Australia vs Syria
Next Match: Australia vs Honduras

There were a lot of shenanigans in the lead up to this match. A lot of talk about how intimidating the stadium it is and how often it is a graveyard for visiting teams. There was an attempt by the Honduran FA to move the kick-off time forward - denied by FIFA. For a while it seemed that the Honduran players had their yellow cards cleared while the Socceroos did not. Again FIFA intervened and both sides were treated equally. In the end though, it seemed like no real trouble eventuated.

The Socceroos put in one of their better performances and were unfortunate not to have come away with a win. The 0-0 scoreline flattered Honduras and it was our recurrent problem of being unable to put away our chances that kept them in the game. Rogic in the first half (one-on-one) and the pass behind two players in front of an open net in the second were two guilt-edged chances that must be put away at this level. Let’s hope we don’t rue missing them.

I know next to nothing about Honduran football. I expected them to be more skilful with the ball and to be more proactive on the day. Australia were composed and did well to stifle them, but I didn’t see much to worry about. Equally the crowd and the reputed hostile environment did not show up. Their fans had little impact, looked worried and sounded frustrated.

The pitch was poor - heavy and the turf gave way too often. The heat and humidity sapped both sides and they all looked tried at the end. Surprisingly, I thought Australia looked slightly fitter. For once, I thought the refereeing was pretty good. He didn’t take any nonsense and it seemed like every dive (by both sides) was treated as such. The only black mark was the apparent penalty that was overturned. I’m still not clear what happened there.

In a tie such as this, if you were offered a 0-0 result before the game with no injuries or send-offs, you’d be tempted to take it. In the end, while the result does us no harm, I’m disappointed we didn’t win. We really could have and should have wrapped up the tie in the first 90 minutes.

I suppose Australia comes away with a slight advantage. We’ll take confidence from this result. I hear we’ll get back to Australia a full 24 hours before our opponents. And we’ll have home ground advantage. So we have no excuses. My only concern is we failed to score when we should have. If Honduras bag an away goal in Sydney, how will we score two?

I’ll see you there on Wednesday night to find out.