Gutsy Australia comes up short in Cup opener

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2014 World Cup Group B- Match 4
Chile 3: Sanchez 12’, Valdivia 14’, Bousejour 92’
Australia 1: Cahill 35’

Early nerves:
It was obvious early in the game that the Aussies were extremely nervous to start the game, infact I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Australian side so nervous on the international stage. The passing was off, their was no rhythm in their play and the Chileans capitalised. Given that there were just three players in the XI – Jedinak, Cahill and Bresciano- who had previous World Cup experience that was to be expected.

Chile take early advantage:
If Australia started nervously, the Chileans started with a surge determined to put the Socceroos on the back foot from the off and they quickly set about controlling the play in their typical, powerful, pacy style. Their first goal was a bit of a shambles in truth, and im sure Mat Ryan won’t be trilled about being beaten on his near post by Sanchez. They then doubled there lead barely a minute later when Jorge Valdivia netted a superb second after a defensive mix-up.

St. Tim scores again:
After the goals went in the Australians seemed to settle down into their game plan and begin to gain some ascendancy in the game, while the Chileans early efforts seemed to show, although they still had their moments. The Australian goal came from some good work down the right from Brisbane’s Ivan Franjic, before Timmy did what he’s always done. Four goals in three World Cups now for Australia’s all time top scorer.

Super second half:
Australia seized the initiative late in the first half and in the second they rammed that point home with a dominant and at times scintillating display. Matthew Leckie made a series of terrorizing runs at the Chilean back four, while Cahill and Bresciano had their chances to get Australia something out of the game. Cahill was denied by the Assistant Referee, while Claudio Bravo made a fantastic save to foil Bresciano. They tried to press for the equaliser, but a late Jean Bousejour strike from 25 yards consigned the Socceroos to a first up defeat. There were however superb signs for the future, both long term and in this tournament. One final point- the much maligned – including by me- back four stood up tall today, with Spiranovic and Wilkinson doing a solid job for the most part.

Brisbane factor:
Brisbane’s Ivan Franjic started the game but was subbed early in the second half with a reported hamstring injury. It’s unknown yet what the severity is however there’s a chance his BqDUrV7CQAAIYGBtournament is over. Tommy Oar also started, however had a quiet game and was subbed midway through the second half, replaced by fellow Roar alum Ben Halloran. Matt McKay and Dario Vidosic remained on the bench.

Group B:
After Netherlands comprehensive 5-1 romp against Spain earlier, Australia sit third in Group B and take on the top of the table Dutch in their next game. Chile meanwhile will have the chance to consign the defending champions to an unexpected Group Stage exit.

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