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Football news 2021, Australia Socceroos vs Chinese Taipei, FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying, scores, results, analysis, highlights,

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Tuesday morning delivered another big win for the Socceroos: this time 5-1 over winless Chinese Taipei.

It also saw coach Graham Arnold unveil another three debutants on his relentless pursuit of a deeper Socceroos squad for the long-term future.

And while the performance was underwhelming, there was plenty to discuss as Australian team booked a place in the third round of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

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Socceroos thump Chinese Taipei 5-1 | 02:21

Sizzling Socceroos run riot in brutal heat to reach next WC stage in 20-year first

Graham’s Grand Plan

When Graham Arnold picked an extended 31-man squad for the Socceroos four clashes this fortnight, he promised to use them all. And so far, Arnie’s stayed true to his word: 26 different players have appeared in the first two matches.

Against Chinese Taipei, he fielded an entirely fresh starting XI compared to four days prior. A new formation, shifting away from his favoured 4-2-3-1 to 4-2-2-2. Three debutants: Denis Genreau started, joined by Connor Metcalfe and Ruon Tongyik off the bench. Full starting debuts for Riley McGree and Kenny Dougall, two players who debuted as substitutes against Kuwait. Melbourne City centre-back Curtis Good thrust into an unusual left-back role in his first appearance in seven years.

This was a radical revamp, even if it was completely expected given the short turnaround. But against a team the Socceroos had beaten 7-1 in 2019, it was the perfect opportunity to get minutes into a whole new set of players – especially youngsters.

“I was very happy with the performance,” Arnold said. “We had a lot of inexperienced players tonight. There were five players with just one or two caps and some with only three or four, so overall I thought that the performance was quite a good performance but there is still a lot of improvement in us yet.”

Denis Genreau impressed on debut for the Socceroos. Source: Socceroos.com.auSource: Supplied

McGree, who looked lively against Kuwait, was man of the match today, highlighted by his pinpoint corners to set up Harry Souttar and Trent Sainsbury. Denis Genreau was thrown straight into the deep end and injected himself into the action with unshakeable confidence. His dummy to release Brandon Borrello for the fourth goal was all class. Souttar was a machine inside both boxes.

With the Olympics looming large, it’s a promising sign of what’s to come. Genreau, Metcalfe, Tongyik, McGree, Souttar: five players who could all start for the Olyroos at Tokyo – and hopefully for the Socceroos in the decade to come.

Graham Arnold said of his debutants: “All three of them [Genreau, Metcalfe, Tongyik] are young kids who have done exceptionally well at their clubs this year in the A-League, and no doubt it was tough for them to leave their clubs and miss the Finals Series, but to debut for your country, your nation [is special].

“Ruon Tongyik, when I said ‘come on’ you should have seen the smile on his face. He was just so happy to get out there and debut for Australia. They all did exceptionally well.”

Only four players of the 30 available for selection (left back Brad Smith returned home due to injury) have yet to play. Two are keepers (Lawrence Thomas and Andrew Redmayne) while two are forwards (Apostolos Giannou and Adam Taggart). With qualification secured, it’s likely all four might get their shot in the next two games.

Arnold’s focus on broadening the playing corps is crucial. He said: “It’s part of the development of the Socceroos family and the Socceroos squad, and the young players are the strength of it.

“When I first took over the job I probably had a list of 14-15 players that the country trusted, but now I have probably got a list of 40 and we are headed down the right pathway.”

One stat shows exactly how radical his squad building exercise is: Ahead of the match, captain Trent Sainsbury had 48 caps. The rest of the Socceroos starting XI boasted a combined 44 caps.

Young Socceroo’s horror miss | 00:28

A-League delivers the Good(s)

10 of the 31 Socceroos squad members came from the A-League. Five started today (Good, Genreau, Grant, Duke, Maclaren), and another three came off the bench – the only two others being goalkeepers.

Three of the five goals came from A-League players: two to Western Sydney Wanderers talisman Mitch Duke, and another to Melbourne City’s golden boot winner Jamie Maclaren.

A handful of A-League youngsters have been included in the Australian U-23 Select squad that’s currently in Marbella, Spain, for a series of Olympics warm-ups. Many more have remained in Australia for the A-League finals.

With the captain against Kuwait, Mat Leckie, subsequently signing for recently anointed Premiers Melbourne City, the link between domestic league and national team grows stronger than ever.

Leckie signs deal with Melbourne City | 01:03

‘Should have had more’: Roos still hungry

Graham Arnold said the performance against Kuwait was: “20 per cent of what you’re going to get from this (Socceroos) team.”

The scoreline today was flattering compared to the performance – though the Socceroos could have scored many more had some players remembered their shooting boots. The Australians lashed the woodwork three times in quick succession during the first half and finished with 29 shots in total from their 78.2 per cent possession.

Former Socceroo Mark Bosnich declared on Fox Sports: “I don’t think they hit any great heights, I don’t think they were as fluent and as sharp as they were the other day.”

“Disjointed in the second half,” another ex-Socceroo star Robbie Slater added. “But not with any alarm bells.”

The quality of football was mostly forgettable, though that wasn’t purely due to the performances of the players – blame the heat, the poor pitch quality, and a very creditable Chinese Taipei showing.

There was little celebration for half the goals, and almost none from skipper Trent Sainsbury. Arnold’s voice on the sidelines – particularly in the first 20 minutes – was hardly cheerful.

Mitchell Duke said after the game: “Job done for us and we just move on to the next game. That’s what we’re all about. I think (we’re) not too happy about the performance. I think it could have been a bit more polished, but we got the job done.”

And despite his double, he showed the same hunger for improvement. “To get two goals is awesome but (I’m) not too happy as a striker. I should have had more.”

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Socceroos breeze past outmatched Kuwait | 02:15

Six from six: Now to keep it perfect

Six wins from six games is nothing to laugh at: it’s the first time in two decades for the Socceroos, after all. As the old saying goes, you can only beat who is in front of you. Of course there are tougher tests ahead: only two games left before the next stage kicks off in September.

United Arab Emirates, under former Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk, have impressed recently. Traditional heavyweights Iran bounced out of a form slump with a 3-0 win over Bahrain. South Korea, featuring Spurs’ Son Heung-Min, are deadly opponents, as are Japan. The next stage will be difficult.

Having qualified for that next stage, the priority in the next two matches must be to discover the combinations that can best stronger opponents. There is time – but not much – to tinker with formations and tactics, to give more minutes to youngsters.

Of course, some tactics just seem obvious: put the ball on Harry Souttar’s head. Arnold said: “Set pieces are crucial in elite football now and the fact that we scored from set pieces is also great as it means the boys are taking note of what we are doing at training and are playing their roles.”

After the Kuwait game, Arnold demanded more goals and greater ruthlessness – even shifting formations to accommodate a second veteran striker in the hope of burying more goals. And yet the Socceroos once again created plenty of chances against Chinese Taipei but passed up a host of goalscoring opportunities.

Arnold’s message will likely remain the same for Saturday morning’s match against Nepal. As Mitchell Duke said: “The target is maximum points and we won’t accept anything less.”

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Football news 2021, Euro 2020, Ukraine jersey, Russia reacts, Crimea

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Russia has expressed its anger at a tiny detail in Ukraine’s football tops for the upcoming Euro 2020 championship, which kicks off this week.

Ukraine unveiled its kit for the Euros on the Facebook page of Andrii Pavelko, the head of Ukraine’s Football Association.

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The predominantly yellow jersey features a map of Ukraine that includes Crimea, which is stitched around Ukraine’s national emblem.

The inclusion of Crimea on Ukaine’s official Euro 2020 kit has angered Russian officials. Source: Facebook (Andrii Pavelko)Source: Facebook

Russia took over control of Crimea in 2014 and has sought to integrate the contested peninsula permanently, but it is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.

“We believe that the silhouette of Ukraine will give strength to the players, because they will fight for all Ukraine,” Pavelko said.

“And all Ukraine, from Sevastopol and Simferopol to Kyiv, from Donetsk and Lugansk to Uzhgorod will support them in every match.”

The cities of Sevastopol and Simferopol in Crimea are under Russian control, while Donetsk and Lugansk are controlled by fighters viewed as proxy Russian forces.

Russian officials swiftly rebuked the inclusion of Crimea on Ukraine’s kit. Russian parliamentary secretary deputy Dmitry Svishchev told Russian news agency RIA the shirt design was “a political provocation”.

He added showing a map of Ukraine “which includes a Russian territory is illegal”.

The shirt also features controversial slogans, which have riled up Russia. A slogan on the back reads “Glory to Ukraine!”, while the phrase “Glory to the heroes!” appears on the inside of the jersey.

The slogan “Glory to the heroes!” on the inside of Ukraine’s Euro 2020 jersey has been compared to a Nazi rallying cry. Source: Facebook (Andrii Pavelko)Source: Facebook

Both statements have become widely used in Ukraine in the military and among supporters of the 2014 revolution that ousted former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, who now lives in Russia.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, went one step further in her criticism of the jerseys, taking to social media to say the slogans were nationalistic and the slogan “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!” had similarities to a Nazi rallying cry.

The US embassy in Kiev weighed in on the diplomatic spat, showing its support for the controversial design.

“Love the new look. Glory to Ukraine! #CrimeaisUkraine,” it posted to Twitter.

Several Euro 2020 matches will be played in Russia at St Petersburg’s Krestovsky stadium, including a quarter-final. However, Ukraine is not scheduled to play in Russia or face off against the Russian national side.

Russia plays Belgium on June 12, and will also take on Finland and Denmark in Group B.

Euro 2020 was postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Twenty-four teams will battle it out for the title of the best footballing nation in Europe. The matches will be played at across several European countries including Russia, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Denmark, the Netherlands and Azerbaijan. London’s Wembley Stadium will host the final on July 12.

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player ratings, Harry Souttar, analysis, scores, results, video, goals, FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying,

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The Socceroos notched a crucial 5-1 win over Chinese Taipei to book a place in the next stage of qualification for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

And while the scoreline reflects the dominance of the Australian side, some players will be more pleased than others based on their individual performances.

From three debutants – plus two starting debuts – to a return from seven-year exile, here’s how all the players rated in Tuesday morning’s rout.

Watch every Socceroos World Cup Qualifier in June Live & Free on Kayo Freebies. Join now & start streaming instantly >

Socceroos thump Chinese Taipei 5-1 | 02:21

Sizzling Socceroos run riot in brutal heat to reach next WC stage in 20-year first

Danny Vukovic: 7.

He’ll be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet, but there was nothing he could do to save a clinical finish. Made a very strong save in the early minutes to deny a strike at his near post – the only other shot on target he faced. Distributed almost flawlessly.

Curtis Good: 6.

Was pushed into an unfamiliar left-sided role after Brad Smith’s withdrawal from the squad due to injury left Australia lacking in fullbacks. Handled it relatively comfortably, despite it being just his second appearance for the Socceroos – and his first since debuting in March 2014, when he was horribly injured on debut against Ecuador. Passed very well. Good to have him back.

Harry Souttar: 8.

The towering Stoke City defender was simply unstoppable in the air, winning nine of his 11 duels. Five goals from three games puts him equal with Jamie Maclaren as the top scorers in this stage of qualifying – but he could have had more than his single goal today! He struck the crossbar with another header, and sent yet another one bouncing into the keeper’s hands, so he might just be sent for more heading practice on the training paddock this week. Also led the game with six pass breakups. Very strong on both ends.

Trent Sainsbury: 7.5.

Donned the armband, and his leadership role in marshalling a new-look backline was obvious. His combination with Souttar – which impressed in 2019 – raises the prospect of a potential call-up for the Olympics, such was the stability they showed together. His lack of celebration after scoring showed just how intent he was on getting the job done. Five intercepts was the most impressive statistic from a solid effort in all aspects.

Rhyan Grant: 5.

Not his finest performance in the green and gold – and given just how impressive Fran Karacic was on debut against Kuwait, the Sydney FC veteran now looks set for a real battle to retain his jersey in the long term.

Grant was the closest defender when Australia conceded, and he should have stepped off the six-yard box to pick up the attacker. Also got turned inside out as dangerous attacker Estevez unleashed a superb shot in the first half.

Crossed reasonably, creating four chances in the game – including a perfect cross to Mitch Duke, who headed straight at the keeper after 20 minutes. But his passing was below his usual standards.

Riley McGree: 8.5.

Man of the match. On a poor-quality pitch, he passed well and drove the attack onwards. Was willing to take on a defender on the dribble, which is a crucial trait against a defensive-minded side like Chinese Taipei. Played 11 balls into the box and bagged two assists with perfect dead-ball crosses to Souttar and Sainsbury, as well as striking the woodwork himself. Easily the best player in the first half.

Denis Genreau: 7.

Genreau racked up a staggering 108 touches, holding the midfield together and allowing the offence to move around him. At just 22, he looks set for a long career in the green and gold. Despite his relatively defensive position, he put eight balls into the box, second only to McGree. Slowly faded out of action as time wore on.

Kenny Dougall: 8. A strong performance. He dictated the play and played with his head up, lways looking to poke holes in the defence and find space for teammates with his passing.. He ended up completing an impressive 81 of his 85 attempted passes. Solid defensively, except in being drawn out of position for the Chinese Taipei strike.

Brandon Borrello: 4.5.

Borrello struggled to get into the game in the first half, despite having a penalty waved away in the opening minutes.

His night was summed up by a woeful miss from six yards out when it would have been easier to score. Whatever coach Graham Arnold told him at halftime worked, as he floated a perfect cross to Mitchell Duke to score inside 20 seconds from the restart – though the time and space he was granted to make the play was generous from the defence. Was let down by poor decision-making throughout.

Mitchell Duke: 8.

Duke is a manager’s dream – always hardworking, and always willing to throw his body into a battle. A delightful chipped ball behind the line put Jamie Maclaren through on goal in the first half. Scored two goals and was visibly frustrated with himself for not getting more – and given the number of chances he had – eight shots in all – that’s valid.

Jamie Maclaren: 5.5.

Despite the goal, it was a quiet night by Maclaren’s lofty standards – though his clinical scoring record continues, with one goal from two shots. His runs behind the defence were perfectly timed, as we’ve come to expect from the Melbourne City man. Won the penalty on the back of hard work in defence, and converted it with a blasted strike down the middle.

SUBSTITUTES

Connor Metcalfe: 6. An impressive showing off the bench for the 21-year-old A-League gun on debut. Kept things ticking over in midfield nicely after taking over from Dougall.

Chris Ikonomidis: 5.5. Was lively off the bench in his half-hour, but his decision-making wasn’t always spot on – like his wayward shooting.

Ajdin Hrustic: 7.5. Came on in the 74th minute and immediately took control of the game. His ball to Nikita Rukavytsya was utterly sublime, lofted 20 yards onto a dime in the six-yard box. His seven balls into the box in less than 20 minutes prove his creative output and backs up a strong debut against Kuwait.

Nikita Rukavytsya: 7. Only touched the ball a handful of times and still bagged an assist! Was completely calm when he zipped into the box to receive the ball from Hrustic, but still had plenty of work to do to find a teammate. Like Maclaren, struggled to get involved.

Ruon Tongyik: N/A. Only had a handful of minutes to make an impact on debut, but looked unstressed by the big occasion.

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