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Two Weeks To Go

This time next week the first game (South Africa vs Mexico) will have been played. Australia was the first team to arrive in South Africa and are training at altitude. The aim is to be the fittest team (again?) at the finals, but will we be?

Australia vs New Zealand

A friendly against the Kiwis is normally anything but and this was no exception. However, it was Australia who behaved poorly with a couple of very rash tackles. We also played poorly. New Zealand took a deserved early lead in the first half. We picked up a bit in the second half and probably deserved our equaliser. We then pinched a goal with nothing on the clock to claim an undeserved win.

Australia vs Indonesia

This should have been a straight-forward match and it basically was. We were at home against a team that couldn't qualify and needed only a draw. A scrappy match, but the A-League players got the job done. 1-0 and we're through to the Asian Cup finals in 2011. We'll need to improve for the World Cup and the Asian Cup though.

Kuwait vs Australia

An intriguing match really. We were playing away with a team consisting of mostly A-League players and needing a result. This can be a tough ask, however we got off to a flyer, 2-0 up after 5 minutes. Ideally we should have been able to hold on from there, but Kuwait fought back and equalised before half-time. Then a scoreless second half for a good result, if disappointing given our start.

Oman vs Australia

A gutsy 2-1 win away after going down to 10 men after about 15 minutes. Rhys Williams made a clumsy challenge, gave away a penalty and received a red card for his trouble. Oman then converted the penalty (but only after Schwarzer blocked the shot and they put away the rebound). A poor start in a crucial match. But Australia rallied and equalised before half-time. They then survived a sustained attack to snatch a win with a few minutes to go.

Australia vs Oman

Yet another match I didn't get to see. Following the match on Twitter is no fun. There was a lot of talk in the lead up that Australia needed to win: because we must qualify for the 2011 finals; and Pim Verbeek's job could be on the line. Clearly World Cup qualification is not enough for the FFA!

Against a team ranked #74, we should be able to win at home. But it took until the 74' for us to break the deadlock. Guess who? Yep, Tim Cahill again. 1-0 win. Job done.

Australia vs Netherlands

A home town match featuring the world #3 team ... of course, I was there. The match was of a pretty good standard, but was more tense than exciting. The Netherlands was the dominant team, but we battled well and got away with a 0-0 draw.

Republic of Korea vs Australia

Not long after we'd risen to our highest place on the FIFA rankings (14th) we turned in a sub-par performance in this friendly. Yes, it was the B-team, with many players given a chance to prove themselves, but if we play like this again we can forget about doing well at the World Cup Finals.

A poor start basically cruelled any chance of a win. We were down 0-2 after 20 minutes due to poor defending and from there it was a battle. We pulled one back and lifted a bit. A late goal finished us off.

Ireland vs Australia

An excellent win, even it was a friendly. Ireland are preparing for key world cup qualifiers, so it wasn't meant to be an easy match. Both sides wasted chances, with Australia running out comfortable winners. That man again, Tim Cahill, doing the early damage. Good stuff.

Australia vs Japan

I've been saying for a long time that Tim Cahill is our most valuable player and I think he proved it again here. His two goals gave us a significant psychological advantage over Japan. Sure this game was a dead rubber in terms of qualification, but there's still rankings in Asia and the World to consider. Plus our rivalry with Japan. So inflicting their first defeat of this round as well as maintaining our record were both important.


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