Previous
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cardiff City
AFC Bournemouth
0
3
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Reading
2
0
FT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Sheffield United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Norwich City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Sunderland
Stoke City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Everton
3
0
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Doncaster Rovers
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Celta Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz
2
2
FT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
SC Freiburg
3
3
FT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
Schalke 04
0
3
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Marseille
0
5
FT
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Toulouse
0
3
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Swindon Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Livingston
4
0
FT
Game Details
Falkirk
Rangers
1
3
FT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
St Johnstone
0
1
FT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
St Mirren
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ross County
Hibernian
0
2
FT
Game Details
Clyde
Montrose
1
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Lanciano
1
1
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
Pro Vercelli
1
2
FT
Game Details
Crotone
Catania
1
1
FT
Game Details
Frosinone
US Avellino
0
0
FT
Game Details
Livorno
Varese
1
0
FT
Game Details
Modena
Perugia
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ternana
Bologna
0
1
FT
Game Details
Trapani
Virtus Entella
2
2
FT
Game Details
US Pescara
Latina
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vicenza
Bari
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Ingolstadt 04
FC Erzgebirge Aue
1
1
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
VfR Aalen
1
1
FT
Game Details
St Pauli
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
1
0
FT
Game Details
SV Sandhausen
TSV 1860 Munich
1
0
FT
Game Details
AC Ajaccio
Le Havre AC
0
1
FT
Game Details
Angers
AJ Auxerre
0
0
FT
Game Details
Arles
Stade Laval
2
3
FT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Tours
2
1
FT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
Créteil
2
1
FT
Game Details
Nimes
Chateauroux
1
0
FT
Game Details
Orléans
Ajaccio GFCO
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sochaux
Brest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Troyes
Niort
4
1
FT
Game Details
Capelle
FC Volendam
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rijnsburgse Boys
Sparta Rotterdam
0
3
FT
Game Details
Scheveningen
Lisse
4
1
FT
Game Details
VVSB
Vitesse Arnhem
1
2
FT
Game Details
Spakenburg
NAC Breda
3
4
FT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Twente Enschede
Postp
Game Details
Ajax Amateurs
NEC Nijmegen
2
2
FT
Game Details
Almere City
ADO Den Haag
2
2
FT
Game Details
Deltasport
Willem II Tilburg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Exelsior Maassluis
FC Emmen
1
4
FT
Game Details
Flevo Boys
DOS '37
1
0
FT
Game Details
HHC Hardenberg
RKC Waalwijk
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kozakken Boys
Sportlust '46
1
2
FT
Game Details
ONS Sneek
Dordrecht '90
0
3
FT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
FC Utrecht
Postp
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Eindhoven
0
0
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Heerenveen
2
1
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
FC Vaduz
3
1
FT
Game Details
FC Thun
Lucerne
3
2
FT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Real Estelí
3
0
FT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Alpha United
2
0
LIVE 41'
Game Details
César Vallejo
Universitario de Sucre
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Independiente del Valle
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Argentinos Juniors
2
0
FT
Game Details
Atlante
Mérida
1
1
FT
Game Details
Correcaminos
At. San Luis
3
3
FT
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Oaxaca
3
2
FT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Dorados de Sinaloa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Santos
Monterrey
0
0
LIVE 1'
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Queretaro
0
0
LIVE 15'
Game Details
UNAM
Toluca
1
1
LIVE 39'
Game Details
Veracruz
Chiapas
0
1
LIVE 38'
Game Details
ABC
Goianiense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Boa MG
Luverdense
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bragantino
Icasa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Joinville
América Mineiro
1
1
FT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Avaí
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
AA Ponte Preta
0
3
FT
Game Details
Ceará
América RN
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Náutico
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
CR Vasco da Gama
2
2
FT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Oeste
3
0
FT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Vissel Kobe
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Nagoya Grampus Eight
1
2
FT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Sagan Tosu
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rangers de Talca
Palestino
0
1
FT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Colo Colo
3
0
FT
Game Details
Next
Mar 26, 2013

Australia's defence exposed by Oman

Australia's World Cup qualification hopes appeared in peril for much of their clash in Sydney with Oman. A 2-2 draw ultimately kept them in contention, but concurrently demonstrated the defensive frailties which could see their dreams of heading to Brazil in 2014 unravel.

Aston Villa's Brett Holman salvaged a draw with a fine strike in the dying stages, but it was hardly the result the Socceroos needed - particularly at home.

Midweek, stand-in captain Mark Schwarzer revealed his concern that "anything less than three points would be a disaster". That may have been hyperbole used to rouse his team-mates, but Australia's back four certainly tested the theory.

To this point, Australia had experienced an inconsistent path on the road to qualification. The ageing stars of Holger Osieck's squads had, before this match, fallen well off the pace set by Japan, leaving the Socceroos to play for second spot in Group B along with Iraq, Jordan and their opponents Oman.

The two sides previously met in the third round of the qualification process, with the Socceroos coming out on top 3-0 at home in October 2011, before going down 1-0 in Muscat one month later. A fourth-round encounter followed last June, where the teams played out a cagey 0-0 draw. That match, incidentally, was the last time Harry Kewell was seen on a football pitch.

Many Australian fans feared the worst for their qualification hopes when the side slipped to a 2-1 loss away to Jordan in October, before the men in green and gold rallied to reverse that scoreline in Doha when faced with Iraq. Two late strikes from Tim Cahill and Archie Thompson steered Australia back on course that day, but that they needed to do so in such dramatic fashion continued to create some worry lines on those looking on Down Under.

Most troublesome for Osieck's men has been the attacking third, where 34-year-old Thompson was the only player to have scored more than one goal in the fourth round. Indeed, Cahill and Luke Wilkshire (penalty) were the only other players to have scored in this phase of qualification. Japan, meanwhile, had scored 13 times, thanks largely to the brilliance of Keisuke Honda.

But it was their defence that captured most interest in the lead-up to this fixture, with Robert Cornthwaite and Michael Thwaite selected as an unlikely centre-back pairing. The suspension of skipper Lucas Neill was always going to pose a question of Australia's depth at the back, yet the appearance of the 'Double Thwaite's' added little confidence to the masses.

Indeed the defence was to be the key talking point of the opening exchanges with Thwaite being caught on his heels as Abdul Aziz slipped past him to score the opener beyond a stranded Schwarzer in the sixth minute.

A dream start for Oman coach Paul Le Guen, with the Socceroos' nerves in tatters for the ensuing 10 minutes, before they settled and regained a foothold in the game. Crystal Palace man Mile Jedinak saw a header flash past the post before his midfield partner James Holland had his shot deflected wide.

Oman sat predictably deep from then on, but another lapse at the start of the second half turned put an already disappointing night on the brink of catastrophe as Raed Saleh's harmless cross was turned into his own net by Jedinak.

However, Tim Cahill's headed goal from a corner moments later returned hope to the Socceroos' cause and the comeback was almost competed when Wilkshire's stinging low drive took a wicked deflection and spun away from goal via the crossbar and the post.

But it followed soon after. Holman, who has struggled for game time at Villa of late, then rewarded the Socceroos' endeavour with a blistering 25-yard strike five minutes from time. Masking, ever so briefly, the issues troubling Osieck's charges.

The coach himself did his best to shield his new-look back four after the final whistle, but his response when probed lacked conviction.

"They've never played together in a competition like this and you could see they need a little bit more time," Osieck explained. "They just had recently some playing time in friendly games, and this is a different ball game.

"I don't want to have a go at them because it's my responsibility because I thought they were the right players for that position. On the other hand I think you have to show a little bit of consideration to that. So, again, if you look at our line-up, in this format, they've never ever played together for whatever reason and to really get your feet on the ground quickly is not always easy."

In truth, Australia generally dominated proceedings. Possession, corners won and shots on goal were all heavily in favour of the home side. Unfortunately, these statistics matter not when it comes to progressing to the World Cup. Something Osieck's side are now only too aware of.

It's not the end of the road for the Socceroos, but the result leaves them in a desperate search for a result away to Japan next match in June. If they don't tighten up at the back for that game, hopes of another World Cup campaign could be short-lived.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.