Socceroos impress Sepp Blatter ? Fat chance

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AUGUST 18 2017

Vince Rugari

Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter reckons the Socceroos are “overweight” and are built more like a rugby team.

In a bizarre attack on the Australian national team, Blatter said he came to the conclusion after watching Ange Postecoglou’s team play on television during the recent Confederations Cup.

“I saw them on TV yesterday. They looked like a rugby team,” Blatter said in remarks published by Swedish newspaper Expressen in July.

“Some of their players were overweight. They need to work out more. They need to run more.”

The Socceroos earned rave reviews for their performance against Chile in their final Confederations Cup match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

They were also applauded by Germany’s World Cup winning coach Joachim Loew after losing their opener 3-2, while they also fought out a 1-1 draw with Cameroon.


Blatter was slapped with a six-year ban from all football activities last year for approving a dubious PS1.35m payment to UEFA boss Michel Platini, who was also banned.

Blatter made the comments while trying to explain how football was a game “anyone can play”, including women of all shapes and sizes.

“In men’s sport it’s different, because the athletes are so big. Like in the Australian national team,” he said.

The Socceroos return to action on August 31 in their penultimate World Cup qualifier against Japan in Saitama.




Source  :  The Canberra Times

Sam Kerr scores four goals in Sky Blue FC comeback win

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AUGUST 20 2017 – 2:40PM

Claire Siracusa

Matilda Sam Kerr has made history in the National Women’s Soccer League – again.

Kerr sparked – and completed – a huge comeback for Sky Blue FC on Sunday, scoring a league-record four goals and missing a penalty as her side stole a 5-4 win over Seattle Reign.

No NWSL player had previously scored four goals in a match – Kerr scored her four goals in a half. She now has 15 goals for the season – three ahead of her nearest competition, Seattle’s Meagan Rapinoe.

Kerr’s excellent form is sending records tumbling this year. She became the league’s all-time leading goalscorer in July, when her match-winning hat-trick over Kansas City took her to 34 career NWSL goals.

She was also a member of the Matildas side that notched an historic first win over the US, at the Tournament of Nations, in July.

Trailing 3-0 at half-time, Sky Blue looked set for defeat before Kerr hit her straps. Her first goal came just minutes into the second half, dribbling through traffic and over the line.

Her second goal, in the 68th minute, was more impressive. Kerr got on the end of a long ball inside her attacking half. One-on-one with a Seattle defender, and with another closing in, Kerr took the ball inside the area and fired on across goal into the bottom left corner of the net.

Kerr’s hat-trick came in the 71st minute. It would be her second of the season – another league record.

She notched it in style, controlling a looping pass just past the halfway line amid four Seattle defenders. Taking off, Kerr slowed down on the edge of the area, and still surrounded by defenders, curled her shot into the top right corner.

With scores level at 3-3, the game wasn’t done with yet. Seattle took the lead back in the 85th minute with Kiersten Dallstream scoring off a deflected save.

But Sky Blue equalised in stoppage time thanks to a header from Maya Hayes, before earning a penalty in the 93rd minute for a handball inside the area.

Kerr took the penalty but sent her shot into the crossbar, leaving scores tied at 4-4.

But the Aussie wasn’t done with yet.

She latched on to a 94th minute corner kick, sent in by Taylor Lyttle, rising above four defenders, and sending a floating header past yet another defender and the Seattle keeper to steal the win.

Kerr’s heroics sparked a wave of support and admiration on social media from teammates, opposition and the general public.

The win leaves Sky Blue just three points off fourth spot and a place in the playoffs.

Kerr was recently shortlisted for FIFA’s Best Women’s Player award. She is likely to be in action for the Matildas on home soil for friendlies against Brazil in Penrith and Newcastle in September.



Source  :  The Canberra Times

Mile Jedinak must play to survive Socceroos cut

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AUGUST 20 2017 – 5:10PM

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak will be available for the World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand if he gets through club duty this week unscathed.

Coach Ange Postecoglou told ABC’s Offsiders he had been in regular contact with Jedinak, who was selected in his preliminary 30-man squad despite struggling with the groin injury that kept him out of the Confederations Cup.

But he expects Jedinak should be right, provided he plays and recovers well from at least one of Aston Villa’s two matches this week.

“He’s an important part of what we’ve been building and what people don’t know is he’s been playing hurt for probably the last 12 to 18 months for us,” Postecoglou said.

“(He) always puts his hand up. If he gets through 90 minutes, he’ll be there for sure.”

 Villa face Wigan Athletic at home in the EFL Cup midweek, then travel to face Bailey Wright’s Bristol City in the English Championship at the weekend.

Postecoglou is due to trim his squad by seven players this week.

Several of his European-based players are in tip-top form, with Tom Rogic dominant as usual for Celtic and Aaron Mooy enjoying a terrific start to life in the Premier League with Huddersfield Town.

Winger Mathew Leckie also made a stunning debut for Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin overnight, scoring twice in a 2-0 win to celebrate the birth of his daughter last week.

The Socceroos forward, who joined from Ingolstadt in the off-season, eluded a defender with a clever flick and finished in style just after the restart, and then blasted home after Stuttgart failed to clear a corner.

Leckie had failed to score in his last 30 matches, his most recent goal coming in May last year against Bayer Leverkusen.

He has now scored three goals against Stuttgart, his best return against any Bundesliga outfit. His Socceroos teammate Mitch Langerak was left on the bench on Saturday as Stuttgart’s back-up goalkeeper.

Australia need at least four points from the two games – against Japan in Saitama on August 31, then against Thailand in Melbourne on September 5 – to qualify directly for the 2018 World Cup in Russia without relying on other results.

“Getting a draw and then trying to win at home, which we’ve done fairly consistently, is one method but I’d rather go over there and try and win that (Japan) game,” Postecoglou said.

“That’s what I want to test. We’ve worked with this team for the last four years to play well in big occasions when the pressure’s the most, and this is it.”

If the Socceroos finish third in Group B, they can still qualify if they win two dual-legged play-offs – first against the other third-placed Asian side in Group A, then the fourth-placed qualifier from North and Central America.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Four-goal Kerr sizzles in NWSL

Sam Kerr created more history in the NWSL by scoring four goals in Sky Blues FC's win over Seattle.

Westfield Matildas star Sam Kerr has created more history in the National Women’s Soccer League, becoming the first player to score four goals in a match in Sky Blue FC’s incredible comeback win on Sunday (AEST).


Kerr’s Sky Blue FC looked on course for a heavy defeat as they trailed Seattle Reign 3-0 at halftime in New Jersey.

But someone forgot to tell the Westfield Matildas striker.

Kerr kick-started the fightback three minutes after the break when she finished off a goal-mouth scramble before making it 2-3 20 minutes later with a piercing low drive.

But the drama wasn’t done there.

Just three minutes later a classic Kerr run was accompanied by a sublime curling finish into the top corner from just outside the box to draw her side level.

Reign edged back in front with five minutes left before Sky Blue FC equalised again in the first minute of stoppage-time, setting the scene for Kerr’s Match-winner.

And it was a beauty, timing her run perfectly to head in from a corner to spark jubilant scenes and cap one astonishing cameback.


Kerr’s four-goal haul now has her clearly out in front in the race for the NWSL Golden Boot.

She now has 15 for the season to sit three clear of Reign’s Megan Rapinoe with 12.

It comes at the end of a week where Kerr was also shortlisted among nine other players for the prestigious The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017 award.
Australian fans have the chance to see Kerr in the flesh in September when the Westfield Matildas play Brazil in friendlies in Penrith (Sept 16) and Newcastle (Sept 19).

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Aussies Abroad: Matthew Leckie’s special Bundesliga brace

Caltex Socceroo Mathew Leckie celebrates one of his two goals in Hertha Berlin's 2-0 Bundesliga win over Vfb Stuttgart.

Caltex Socceroo Mathew Leckie has become an instant hero for new club Hertha Berlin, scoring a brace in their Bundesliga opener against Mitch Langerak’s Vfb Stuttgart overnight.


After a goalless first half, it took Leckie less than a minute after the restart to get the home crowd of almost 45,000 on their feet.

He sprinted onto Vedad Ibisevic’s header to race free, before cutting inside his defender and curling a stunning effort into the far corner.

The 26-year-old then made the result safe just after the hour mark, in the right place at the right time to rifle home a loose ball from a corner.

“It’s a special moment for me, not just outside of football with my baby just being born,” Leckie told Hertha TV.

“Two goals at the start of my career in Berlin – I’ve never scored two goals in a game in the Bundesliga.

“Football is a crazy, funny game. I think the fresh start in Berlin was exactly what I needed.”

Caltex Socceroos teammate Mitch Langerak was on the bench for Stuttgart.


The Aussies man-of-the-match display comes just a week after he set up both goals in the club’s 2-0 German Cup win over Hansa Rostock last weekend.

But topping all that was the birth of his first daughter Olivia Valentina.

“I’ll be going straight home to the baby,” said the winger when asked how he’d celebrate his double.

“This week has been one of the best of my life. I’m definitely going to enjoy the next couple of days celebrating the performance.”


Both Leckie and Langerak are both likely to be named in Ange Postecoglou’s final 23-man squad on Tuesday for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.

In the Bundesliga, Leckie’s Hertha travel to play heavyweights Borussia Dortmund, while Langerak’s Stuttgart are at home to Mainz.

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Aussies Abroad: Matthew Ryan’s Brighton suffer EPL defeat

Mat Ryan played another full game in Brighton's 2-0 EPL loss to Leicester City.

Saturday, 19 August 2017 

Staff writer
Mat Ryan’s Brighton have fallen to a second straight English Premier League defeat after going down 2-0 to Leicester City overnight.


It took less than a minute for Leicester City to go in front at the King Power Stadium though Japanese international Shinji Okazaki.

Riyad Mahrez’s shot went through a crowd of players before getting to Ryan, who couldn’t keep a hold of the ball allowing Okazaki to tap-in from inside the area.

The second goal didn’t arrive until nine minutes into the second half as Harry Maguire rose highest to power a header in from Mahrez’s corner.

That’s now back-to-back 2-0 defeats for newly-promoted Brighton.


Caltex Socceroos left-back Brad Smith made the bench for AFC Bournemouth for their home clash with Watford.

Smith didn’t get on the pitch as the Hornets scored twice in the second-half to leave the Vitality Stadium with a 2-0 win.

Like Brighton, Bournemouth have yet to register a point from the opening two games.


Aaron Mooy’s Huddersfield Town will play their first EPL home game on Sunday night when they host Newcastle United.

The two newly-promoted clubs have enjoyed contrasting starts to life in the top-flight, with Mooy inspiring Huddersfield to a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace last weekend.

Newcastle suffered a 2-0 loss at home to Tottenham Hotspurs.

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Aussies Abroad: Tom Rogic shines for Celtic again

Rogic shines for Celtic

Tom Rogic has starred for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League overnight with the Caltex Socceroos playmaker setting up both goals in the 2-0 win over Kilmarnock.


The Aussie was on fire at Rugby Park in a match that Celtic dominated but relied on Rogic’s class to open up the stubborn home side.

Rogic’s first moment of magic came just before halftime when he beat two men on a powerful run into the box before sliding the ball into the path of James Forrest for a simple finish.

But his involvement in the second goal was even better.


Two minutes from the end Rogic again did most of the work himself, picking up the ball just inside Killie’s half before producing an incisive 30-metre run past a couple of defenders.

He slipped a pin-point pass into the path of Callum McGregor to score to seal another win for the defending champions.


Rogic and Celtic have another big week with the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier against Astana on Thursday (AEST) in Kazakhstan.

The Hoops take a 5-0 lead into the second leg.

Brendan Rodgers’ side then play St Johnstone in the SPL next weekend before Rogic will link up with the Caltex Socceroos for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.

Source  :  Football Federation Australia