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Danes down Socceroos

This morning Denmark beat the Socceroos 3-1 in an international friendly played at Loftus Road Stadium, London. It was a nightmare first half for the Socceroos with some comical defending and by-passing of midfield that should have left Graham Arnold with some thinking to do.

Its good to see that the Socceroos created chances of their own in that first half but the big difference between the two teams was finishing. Whilst the Danes buried their chances to score three goals through double scorer Jon Dahl Tomasson and Daniel Jensen, the Socceroos could only see their shots missing the target or tamely hit giving the Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen no problems at all.

It was an improved display in the second half with a more organised defence and stand-in captain Brett Emerton gave us something to cheer about when he scored with five minutes remaining.

Although this was a friendly I think Arnold wanted a result and that could explain why the Socceroos only used two substitutes Jacob Burns and Ryan Griffiths who came in for Josip Skoko and Tim Cahill respectively instead of five. I don't understand why the full quota of five substitutes was not used. The Danes used five substitutes. This could have been due to the lack of depth on the bench with so many withdrawals from the squad but I would have given some of the players a run and thats how they get the experience.

This friendly was a preparation for the Asian Cup later in the year and if Arnold wanted to learn something it is that chances have to be taken whenever they come because in the later stages of the Asian Cup chances may not be that many. It was also a good exercise played against an organised team something that could be handy against the likes of Japan and South Korea.

Also this was the first match under the new agreement to show Socceroos matches exclusively live on Foxtel and not the usual SBS. While obviously this deal brings more money for the FFA, a lot of football fans wouldn't have been able to watch the match this morning which is a bit of a shame especially when it is the national team playing albeit a friendly. I don't even know whether a full replay of this match is going to be shown on free to air television because its not the TV guide as far as I have checked.

One would have thought missing key players for a friendly is a good omen for that gives fringe players a chance to get a run and some experience, but that is not the case because inevitably coaches are looking for success at every turn. You may have heard about the boos Steve McLaren got when England lost to Spain in a friendly this week and that's the problem. Coaches have no time to experiment and every match unfortunately is being taken too seriously and fringe players, well, have to wait for another day.

You have a point, Nick. Coaches are looking for success in every match and rightly so because they are mostly judged on results. Ideally, international friendlies should be used to try new formations, new players and tactics which may be required in competitive matches but the reality is there is simply no time for that.


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