Sydney A-League derby set to be moved from round one next season

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JUNE 26 2017 – 5:21PM

Dominic Bossi

The Sydney derby is set to be moved from the first round of the A-League season despite its successful trial last year and replaced by a grand final replay as the marquee fixture on the opening weekend.

Fairfax Media understands Football Federation Australia will unveil the draw for the 2016-17 A-League season this week. A draft schedule has the first contest between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers to be played at Allianz Stadium in round three.

Despite a successful round one derby at ANZ Stadium last year, which set a record attendance for a domestic football game in Australia, the FFA indicated its desire to push the key fixture further back to maintain momentum after the season’s big kick-off.

The first Sydney derby will be a home match for the Sky Blues and will likely be the first clash between the two rivals to be televised live on free-to-air. The Saturday night fixture is set to be screened on Channel Ten or its subsidiary digital channels after the network came on board as a partner to the primary broadcaster, Fox Sports.

The second Sydney derby will likely be played in December at ANZ Stadium in Olympic Park. It’s understood the Melbourne A-League derby is scheduled to remain in round two after its success last year.

In a draft fixture list distributed to clubs, the FFA has set an opening-round clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, likely to be played on Saturday October 7. It will be the first time since 2013 a grand final replay will be scheduled for the first weekend of the season, after Central Coast Mariners hosted Western Sydney Wanderers in Gosford.

It’s understood the preliminary scheduling will not see the A-League break for international dates. However, after long-held complaints from clubs competing in the Asian Champions League, the FFA is set to take into account their hefty travel toll between February and May by included kinder fixtures during this period as well as two split rounds.

Last season saw the introduction of one split round with five games spread across two weekend and the preliminary draft will see an additional split round proposed to the clubs as a way of easing the demands of teams contesting in dual competitions. Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory have already qualified for the continental tournament, while Brisbane Roar could join them in Asia if they are successful in the play-offs.

The FFA declined to comment on next season’s draw until all dates, venues and fixtures are finalised following clubs’ approval. The clubs are expected to give the draft draw the green light early this week.

Meanwhile, Central Coast Mariners defender Harry Ascroft has the chance to play in England after being granted a request to go on trial with Championship club Barnsley FC. It’s understood the Mariners allowed the 21-year-old former Australian youth international to take time out of their pre-season to move to the South Yorkshire club where he will have a chance to impress their coach Paul Heckingbottom and earn himself a permanent deal.

Ascroft joined the Mariners in 2015 after his contract with Dutch club VVV Venlo was ended due to the club’s financial difficulties and he went on to make 34 appearances in the A-League.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Confederations Cup 2017: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou devastated at Russian exit

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JUNE 26 2017 – 11:14AM

Moscow: A devastated Ange Postecoglou has lamented the opportunity passed up by the Socceroos at the Confederations Cup.

Considered rank outsiders to progress to the second round, Australia were within touching distance of the feat on Sunday night in Moscow.

Socceroos draw to exit Confederations Cup

The Socceroos proved they can come up against the best in the world, drawing with world number 4 Chile and exiting the Confederations Cup in Russia.

The Socceroos led 1-0 against South American champions Chile and spurned a number of golden chances to increase their lead.

The world No.4 side hit back, scrambling a goal home to earn a share of the spoils and progress to the next phase

The Socceroos leave Russia after finishing third in their group, losing 3-2 to Germany and drawing 1-1 with both Cameroon and Chile.

Postecoglou credited his players for their effort but couldn’t shake the feeling it could have been very different.

“It’s definitely a missed opportunity. We wanted to come here and at least get out of the group and we haven’t,” Postecoglou said.

“If you look at the context of the three games we were in every game [so I’m] disappointed that we couldn’t get through.

“That’s me setting the highest possible benchmarks which I think we have to if we want to consistently compete at this level.

“For the boys to do that tonight, I think they’ll get a great amount of belief out of it.”

The Socceroos saved their best performance of the tournament for last.

Led by Tim Cahill in his 100th game, Australia played with confidence and dare against a side 44 places above them in the FIFA rankings – and that beat the Socceroos 3-1 at the last World Cup.

Mark Milligan kept Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez at bay. Jackson Irvine and Massimo Luongo were composed and sharp in the middle. Trent Sainsbury was a tower at the back and James Troisi took his chance well. Most impressively, the entire side executed the game plan for the entire 90 minutes.

“We played them four years ago and we thought we gave them a good game that day but they were just a little bit better than us,” Postecoglou said.

“Today I thought we were the better side and deserved to get something out of it. ”



Source  :  The Canberra Times

Confederations Cup 2017: Socceroos match Chile, but draw not enough to prevent exit

JUNE 26 2017 – 7:33AM

Michael Lynch

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Better, much better.

Australia produced a passionate, powerful, and tactically smart performance against the South American champions Chile in their final Confederations Cup match.

It wasn’t enough to secure them the win they needed to get through to the semi-final.

But the performance, if not the result, illustrated what Ange Postecoglou has been trying to achieve with a group of players who will have to produce such performances on a regular basis if they are to achieve the lofty standards their coach, and the Australian public, demand.

James Troisi celebrates after his goal against Chile in the Confederations Cup.

James Troisi celebrates after his goal against Chile in the Confederations Cup. Photo: Getty Images

Had their finishing been sharper they might have pulled off what would have been a stunning upset.

While there was great disappointment in the immediate aftermath of this game, the reality is that Australia can take plenty from their performance and use it as a template for what will be required over the next 12 months, to qualify for the World Cup and to perform in it when they get there.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is building a squad towards competing in the 2018 World Cup.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is building a squad towards competing in the 2018 World Cup. Photo: AP

The game illustrated how boldness in selection and philosophical approach can work. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose it’s worth just going for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail anyway.

But there is always the chance that the gamble might come off.

When Australia lined up against Chile early Monday morning few, even among their supporters, would have given them much of a chance.

Postecoglou and his team have beencastigated in recent months for their adventurous approach, particularly since he changed his team’s tactical shape and opted to play with three at the back.

Chile's Paulo Cesar Diaz Huincales  challenges for the ball with Australia's Jamie Maclaren.

Chile’s Paulo Cesar Diaz Huincales challenges for the ball with Australia’s Jamie Maclaren. Photo: AP

The coach believes that his team must take risks and get men forward – hence a five-man midfield which, in theory can quickly become a five-man defence – and take the game to their opposition.

He has been criticised for inflexibility  and for failing to be realistic about the quality of his players and their ability to implement his game plan.

But he has stuck to his guns, committed to a high tempo, aggressive approach he believes is emblematic of the way Australians should approach sport.

At times the Socceroos  have looked very shaky, coughing up crucial goals in vital World Cup qualifying matches against the likes of Iraq, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

They have been left reeling in the face of an onslaught by superior opposition – especially in their 4-0 friendly defeat to Brazil at the MCG and their opening Confederations Cup game against Germany, when the world champions’ second 11 threatened to run riot in a first half when they might have scored four or five times. The 3-2 scoreline definitely flattered Australia on that occasion.

They were markedly better in the second match against Cameroon, even though they were let off the hook somewhat by the African champions’ poor finishing in a 1-1 draw.

But Postecoglou has always said that his team is a work in progress, building towards the World Cup.

Against the Chileans he made six changes to his starting line-up, leaving out players most would deem crucial – Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic – and starting with the evergreen Tim Cahill, who was earning his 100th cap for his country.

His aim is to create a squad where no one is a guaranteed starter, where every player can operate within the structures he demands and do a job to replace a teammate with a minimum of fuss.

Jackson Irvine and Massimo Luongo, two players who had not been very impressive earlier in this tournament, came in and stepped up, their workrate and enthusiasm vital to Australia’s forward press. Ryan McGowan was given a chance in a backline which also featured captain Mark Milligan.

Robbie Kruse, whose output is so often diminished by injury, showed he could not only play the full 90 minutes but make a major contribution in a wing-back role. It was his pressure in midfield that helped win the ball for Australia’s opening goal when he slid the pass through to Troisi, whose clever chip added to the important goals he has netted for his country.

The hard work remains to be done. A result against Japan in the penultimate World Cup qualifier is vital if the Socceroos are to make it to Russia 2018.

But this performance means they will travel to Tokyo with self-belief and the knowledge that if they stick to their guns, work hard and concentrate for 90 minutes they can get the points they need.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Captain Tim Cahill sees positives after super display in Moscow

Socceroos knocked out of Confederations Cup

After his 100th appearance for the Caltex Socceroos legend Tim Cahill took a philosophical approach to the draw in Moscow which ended Australia’s campaign at the Confederations Cup.

The Socceroos outclassed world number four Chile only to draw 1-1 in an entertaining final group B game in Russia.

The result wasn’t enough for the Socceroos to progress through to the semis and their campaign ended in Moscow after the draw.


Asked whether he was disappointed Cahill told SBS TV, “In a way yes, and in way no,” he said.

“This is exactly what I expected. I said before the game I think we can win it.

“And when you go out and implement the style the boss believes in, what we’ve worked on for three years, and press them high.

“Yes we’ve got to respect teams but also must look them in the eye and show them what we’re all about. And it’s not about being physical it’s about being brave…


“When you come here, it’s the little differences that are so small that make such a big difference between going through [and not].

“We had loads of chances. I’m really happy.

“There is nothing but fire from these boys. The football was great.”



“It had all the ingredients of one of the best performances. I told them don’t focus on my 100 th  cap, focus on making this a memorable day for Australia.

“And it was. It was one of the best days for me. Last night was special when the boss presented me with the captain’s armband.

“I was emotional last night but there were no emotions in the game.

“It’s an honour to captain my country but an honour to captain this group.

“And we’re going to go again and they [the Socceroos] will know that was probably the hardest test they’ve had so far.”

Australia next play in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Japan on August 31.

James Troisi wheels away to celebrate after giving the Caltex Socceroos the lead against Chile.

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Ange Postecoglou shattered after brave Aussies bow out

Socceroos knocked out of Confederations Cup

Caltex Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was left shattered after an eye-catching display against Chile wasn’t quite enough to see the Australians progress overnight at the Confederations Cup.

In Tim Cahill’s 100th appearance, the Caltex Socceroos outclassed world number four Chile only to draw 1-1 in an entertaining final group B game in Russia.

The result wasn’t enough for the Socceroos to progress through to the semis and their campaign ended in Moscow with the draw.


“Shattered is a good word,” he told SBS TV.

“Hugely disappointed. Just for the players who’ve put in an enormous effort against a world-class team.

“We’ve been working towards this day. That’s the kind of team we want to be.

Tim Cahill celebrates with teammates after James Troisi opened the scoring against Chile in Moscow.“I was convinced we were going to do it today.

“It just doesn’t feel right at the moment.


“It was impressive against a world class side.

“That’s the measure now. That’s who we want to be measured against.

“We made six changes but we were confident the guys coming in had the energy and knew how we wanted to play.

“And guys like Mass [Luongo], Jackson [Irvine] were unbelievable today and Ryan McGowan …

“I’m just hugely disappointed we didn’t get what we wanted.”

Source  :  Football Federation Australia


Australia outshine Chile but exit Russia after draw

The Caltex Socceroos celebrate taking a first-half lead in their FIFA Confederations Cup clash against Chile.

In Tim Cahill’s 100th appearance, the Caltex Socceroos have outclassed world number four Chile only to draw 1-1 in an entertaining final group B game at the Confederations Cup in Russia.

At Moscow’s Spartak Stadium, the Aussie display was energetic and full of intent throughout, but the result wasn’t enough to make the top two in the group, meaning their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign is now over.


In Cahill’ 100th the green and gold put on a display of courage and class to shock one of the world’s powers in Chile, who looked second best for most of their encounter in Moscow.



·      Australia were brilliant in the first half. Pressing Chile incessantly, up for the challenge and defending smartly, they outclassed the South Americans and deservedly went to the break a goal to the good.

·      Chile had a penalty shout in the first half but the VAR ruled it out.

·      Tim Cahill lead from the front with a display that belied his 37 years – he set the tone early with his pressing and fierce tackling before he was subbed off just before the hour mark.

·      Chile equalised shortly after Cahill left the pitch on his big day.

·      Australia should’ve retaken the lead on 72 minutes but sub Jamie Maclaren missed from right in front.


James Troisi Australia, 41’: 1-0

Australia’s opener summed up their first half. Superb pressing forced a turnover inside the Chile half, and a free Troisi kept his cool when the ball fell to him in the box to calmly dink the ball over Claudio Bravo.

Martin Rodriguez Chile, 66’: 1-1

A scrappy goal after a heading duel went Chile’s way saw the ball fall to Rodriguez in front of goal and he couldn’t miss, poking the ball past Ryan.


Source  :  Football Federation Australia