thumbnail Hello,

Five things we learned from Croatia 1-0 Australia: Jury out on playmaker Oar

The Utrecht man did his best in a central attacking role without convincing, while there were encouraging performances from three men on the comeback trail

Cagey friendly difficult to interpret

Despite a promising performance from Australia, any conclusions drawn from this match should be conditioned by the fact Croatia barely exerted themselves. Niko Kovac's team were at times happy to cede possession to their opponents in preparation for a game spent playing on the counter against Brazil in the tournament opener next week. They became even less keen to push the Socceroos physically after losing Danijel Pranjic to injury, with Eduardo da Silva also surviving a scare.

Jury out on Tommy Oar experiment

The Utrecht forward was deployed as a central playmaker but didn't see enough of the ball to influence proceedings. There were one or two nice touches and some intelligent paces, but is Oar better used on the flank, where he tormented South Africa in Sydney last month? Mathew Leckie was also quieter on the left than the right, although in both cases that may have had more to do with the differing quality of opposition. Dario Vidosic produced a disciplined performance on the right. Not always a fan favourite, coaches love the FC Sion's man versatility and ability to follow instructions.

Sluggish Wilkinson the weakest link

Surprisingly, Australia's defence was tested less by Croatia than Bafana Bafana. Ivan Franjic and Jason Davidson got forward frequently but also left room in behind. Nikica Jelavic exploited that space in the 20th minute and beat Alex Wilkinson for pace to set up his side's best chance of the first half, an Eduardo shot saved well by Mat Ryan. The Socceroos' backline looked more stable with Matthew Spiranovic back in the team, but Wilkinson will be targeted by Chile's lightning fast forwards.

Franjic, Jedinak good to go

Ange Postecoglou has insisted both key men are fitting fit and he was proven right on Friday, with the right-back and the captain starting and playing well in Bahia. The skipper's return offered the midfield more solidity and shape than against South Africa, when a combination of Milligan, Holland and McKay struggled to impose themselves on the game.

Is Bresciano ready?

When asked about Bresciano's fitness before the Croatia game, Postecoglou was quick to remind the media it's not all about the Chile showdown. Having only just returned to full training, the veteran played 25 minutes off the bench and looked relatively sharp. Even if doesn't start next weekend, he could be a good option as a substitute if Australia need to try and get hold of the ball or make something happen mid-way through the second half against Chile. He could then start the matches against the Netherlands and Spain, both of which are likely to suit him better than what is sure to be a fast and furious contest against Jorge Sampaoli's men.

Related

From the web