Socceroos Deliver Confidence Boosting Performance Against Czech Republic Ahead Of World Cup
Bert van Marwijk bags his first win as the Australian coach, with the Socceroos beating Czech Republic 4-1 in a pre-World Cup friendly.
What you need to know
- A confidence-boosting match for the Socceroos just two weeks out from the World Cup.
- Matthew Leckie scored a brace, while Andrew Nabbout also got on the score sheet.
- Czech Republic completed the rout with an own goal.
The Socceroos' World Cup preparation seems to be on track, after a convincing 4-0 win over the Czech Republic on Friday night at the NV Arena in Austria.
The Czech Republic began the game with iron-fist control, dictating play and not allowing the Australians much time on the ball, but perseverance for the Green and Gold paid off and the deadlock was broken.
Matthew Leckie opened the scoring in the 32nd minute for the Australians, after a team effort set Robbie Kruse up for a half-volley cross. It was good timing for Kruse to get an assist on the record -- he has often been a scapegoat for Socceroos fans in the past.
Australia came back from the half-time break with renewed vigor, and journeyman Andrew Nabbout put one in the back of the net in the 52nd minute. A run to the right edge of the box and side-stepping two defenders, he blasted a shot to the left post for his first goal as a Socceroo.
It was all Australia's way after that, with Leckie getting a brace in the 72nd minute off an Aaron Mooy assist.
As if it couldn't get worse for the Czech Republic, debutante Jakub Jugas was the unlucky man to catch the deflection of a Mile Jedinak shot to put it in the back of the net for an own goal.
Much talked-about teenager Daniel Arzani made his debut in the 83rd minute, much to the glee of the Socceroos fans in the stands. Aaron Mooy picked up Man of the Match for his control in the midfield.
"The organisation for 89% was good, when the opposition had the ball we did very well," coach Bert van Marwijk said after the game.
"And we had chances."
It's hard to believe this is the same team that just two games ago suffered a 4-1 demolition at the hands of Norway. It was a team performance that showed an attacking line-up that was not afraid to go forward, and despite a few shaky moments, developing heart in the back.
It is important to not get ahead of ourselves, the Czech Republic is not competing at the World Cup and it was clear after the half-time break this was a team preparing for a summer break.
But after 198 days without a win, a performance like this is a great confidence-booster ahead of the Socceroos opening match against one of the best teams in the world -- France.
Watch on Channel One when Australia takes on Hungary in a pre-World Cup friendly on Sunday 10 June at 1.30am.