Australia 2-1 New Zealand – Match Report

24th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

Australia 2-1 New Zealand


Scorers: Dario Vidosic and Brett Holman (Australia); Chris Killen (New Zealand)

WCB(World Cup Betting) Man of the Match: Jason Culina (Australia)


A game which came with it’s usual Derby off-pitch jabs from both camps in their pre-match interviews, started in a tame manner, with New Zealand controlling the tempo of the game, enjoying a large spell of possession in the first 10-15 minutes. And it was fitting that the first goal should go the way of the side which began with more adventure, as with 16 minutes gone Chris Killen was poking home an effort from inside the six-yard area to take New Zealand into an early and surprising 1-0 lead, although questions will be asked over the defending from Australia, who missed the long ball over the top altogether and had no-one marking Killen at the back post.

With home advantage, it wasn’t too surprising to see Australia as the overwhelming favourites to win this eagerly awaited clash between two nations who, in football terms, just don’t like each other. The latter statement began to ring true as after 30 minutes of drab football from Australia and some neat play and impressive ball retaining from the Kiwi’s, frustration began to kick in from the Aussie corner, as three yellow cards were dished out in the first half alone, with both Tim Cahill and Vince Grella receiving one each and lucky to remain on the pitch after some rash challenges which, were they to occur in South Africa, would have resulted in red for sure.

After a poor start to proceedings; spending the early part on the back-foot, sloppy in possession, lacklustre and clueless in defence and lacking any sort of guile and creativity in the final third, as well as any real forward urgency, Australia did end the half in a promising manner and perhaps should of levelled when Scott McDonald was presented with a volley from a mere 5 yards out, at an angle, only to see it saved by an alert Kiwi keeper. Pim Verbeek’s men ended the half on the front foot, with New Zealand retreating further back as the half drew to a close.

The key points in the first half were Australia’s poor start, sloppy defending and lack of cutting edge in the final, as well as some dreadful tackles. For New Zealand, plenty of promise and positives for Ricki Herbert to take into consideration. They were lively in the final third, carving out half-a-dozen decent opportunities and putting one away through Chris Killen, but it was their resolute defending which impressed us the most. Herbert had the Kiwi defence very well organised and disciplined throughout the first period. A welcome plus point to take into consideration from a nation which isn’t expected to pull up too many trees in South Africa next month.



Australia started the second half as they finished the first; on the front foot and seeking an equaliser. It was clearly evident that Australia coach Pim Verbeek laid into his players after a dire opening 45 minue display from his side, so it was of no surprise to see the Aussies sprinting out of the blocks in the second period and quickly asserting themselves on the game.

Unlike the first half, Australia were bossing proceedings in the opening 10 minutes of the second, creating more openings in this 10 minute spell than they did throughout the first period. And, with 57 minutes on the clocks, Dario Vidosic found himself in behind the Kiwi defence after a deflected ball over the top landed on his feet, to which the Bundesliga striker volleyed home with aplomb to level the scoring. Thereafter, everyone was expecting an explosive finish from Verbeek’s men, but that wasn’t really the case as Australia dropped into their comma like state once again and almost paid the penalty when Rory Fallon’s diving header was superbly kept out by Middlesbrough’s Brad Guzan in the Australia goal, with New Zealand signalling that they weren’t willing to roll over for the remainder of the game.

In fairness, Australia were in control for the majority of the final quarter of the game although without creating a great deal of goalmouth pressure. In fact, New Zealand were presetend with some scrappy openings, once again from set-pieces which Australia struggled to deal with all night, but the Kiwi’s failed to capitalize.

So it was somewhat fitting that with time almost up, and the game seemingly petering out into a stalemate, Brett Holman popped up with an injury time winner for Australia, a winner which was largely undeserved and an injustice to what was a pleasing performance from New Zealand and a flat display from Australia. 2-1 it finished though, leaving Pim Verbeek of Australia the happier coach, at least from the perspective of the result, and Ricki Herbert of New Zealand slightly dejected, although equally pleased with his sides performance against the odds.



There was food for thought for both managers, with the Kiwi’s catching a flat Australia off-guard in the opening exchanges. The slow start from Australia coincided with their sluggish tackling and temperamental attitude, and both traits will have angered coach Pim Verbeek and, in many respects, taken him straight back to the drawing board. Australia did improve the second half, as Verbeek’s half-time rant led to a more urgent and high-tempo second half display from his side instead of the passive mode they were in for the majority of the first period. Clear-cut chances however were few and far between despite the Aussies dominating possession. However, in typical Pim Verbeek fashion, Australia snatched a 94th minute winner when Brett Holman strolled in at the back past to side-foot in the winner.

For New Zealand, despite being on the losing end of a 2-1 scoreline, coach Ricki Herbert will have been pleased with the overall performance from his team; their aggressive attitude in the final third and the ease at which they carved out some decent openings, whilst their defending for the most part was organised and committed. The problem with the Kiwi’s was they tired fast, while they seemed quite content to defend for the final 45 minutes in the knowledge that they had the advantage. In the second period New Zealand had far less of the ball and that’s a major concern ahead of some gruelling encounter in South Africa, as team will dominate possession against the Kiwi’s and the fact Australia had them run ragged in the latter stages of the game is a worry for Herbert, with fitness levels clearly an issue. Even so, considering Australia were strong favourites at the start of the game, New Zealand left Australia with their dignity in tact and with plenty of promise, with their final scoreline a harsh and unfair result. 


Australia Positive: Winning the game without playing well.

Australia Negative: Had no answer to the aerial balls, whether it be balls over the top or set-pieces. Australia will face Serbia in South Africa, a team with a huge striker by the name of Zigic and the Serbian giant will range over the entire Australia defence.


New Zealand Positive: All-round solid performance, especially at the back from an area of the team many were targetting as a weak spot.Very unlucky to lose this game.

New Zealand Negative: Despite creating a number of good openings, only one was put away. Moreover, the Kiwi’s tired too early and that’s a big concern ahead of some gruelling encounters in a warm South Africa.


WCB Man of the Match: Jason Culina

Started the game in the centre of midfield, Jason Culina was largely ineffective in the first period but found countless amount of time and space when switched to the right-midfield position, a position on the field where he came into his own in the second half, sprinting down the touchline and whipping in some delicious balls. Culina played a significant part in every positive forward move from Australia and with his impressive stint down the right in the second half, coach Pim Verbeek may consider making the switch permanent.

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