Debutant Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou got off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night.
The match started with a curious tactical choice by the Costa Ricans who played with a defensive high line that opposed an attacking high line by Australia. It was no surprise to see a number of Socceroos forwards making runs that caught the visitors short on a number of occasions in the opening stanza of the game.
Both teams started to settle but no individual player was willing to take control of the game. Postecoglou would have been very disappointed with some of his players dropping off their opposition to give them time on the ball, along with some much needed confidence.
A well created move on the right side saw Robbie Kruse race down the line and deliver the ball to an unmarked Mathew Leckie at the far post, only to see Leckie spurn the opportunity by blasting it over the goal.
The second half saw a slightly more mobile Costa Rica come out to play as they zipped around for the opening ten minutes both in defence and attack. But the introduction of Tim Cahill, Tom Rogic and Tommy Oar gave the Socceroos a fresh impetus up front. This gave the Socceroos a more threatening dynamic and the majority of possession. Tom Rogic looked very menacing going forward with every possession, despite his lack of game time at Celtic.
A 70th minute corner saw Tim Cahill rise high once again to give the Socceroos a 1-0 lead, scoring a record equalling 29 international goals for the green and gold.
The Socceroos continued to look very positive up front, showing great confidence in possession of the ball. Australia continued to have the lion’s share of the ball as the Costa Ricans didn’t look as though they were going to trouble the Australian defence at all.
It was a subdued performance by the highly fancied visitors, but most of that could be credited to the tactics and endeavour of the Socceroos. It was a 1-0 win for the opening of the Ange Postecoglou era; let’s hope that the few games available before the World Cup are enough to gain enough momentum to make a positive impact in Brazil.
Australia 1 Tim Cahill 69′
Costa Rica 0