Socceroos' defence 'has improved' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Socceroos' defence 'has improved'

By Guy Hand 09/06/2010 02:37:34 PM Comments (0)

The Socceroos can boast scoring three goals in their most recent match against powerhouse World Cup first opponents Germany.

Yet they still lost - an indication of hard it is to beat the three-time World Cup winners no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the tournament.

"When you score three goals against Germany, you expect to win the game," says Scott Chipperfield, who played for the Socceroos in that 4-3 loss to Germany at the 2005 Confederations Cup in Frankfurt.

"To lose 4-3 was disappointing but we are better defensively now."

It was a match in which the Frank Farina-coached Socceroos matched it with the Germans for long periods, but a double to John Aloisi and one to Josip Skoko were cancelled out by defensive cloddishness.

Six of that Australian starting 11 are set to feature in the World Cup clash with the Germans in Durban on Sunday (Monday am AEST) - Chipperfield, Mark Schwarzer, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton and Tim Cahill.

A seventh, Jason Culina, was a second half substitute.

The tournament was the beginning of the end for Farina, who was sacked soon after it finished - heralding the start of the Guus Hiddink era and the Socceroos' march to the 2006 World Cup finals.

Chipperfield, whose conversion from an attacker to a left-back started at the Confederations Cup tournament, believes the Socceroos have become a far harder-edged defensive unit under the Dutch coaching influence.

"When Guus took over, he worked hard on our defence, and I think in the last few years Pim's taken over that as well," Chipperfield said.

"At the moment I think that strength's been the key to our success the last couple of years.

"Having said that, Germany's also a far better side than they were in 2005. But I think we can still compete with them."

For Socceroos goalkeeper Schwarzer, who is of German heritage, the match takes on added significance.

But Schwarzer, who speaks fluent German, leaves no doubt where his allegiances lie and how important it is to gain a result.

"It is exciting, but I am 100 per cent Australian," he said.

"It's my second time playing against Germany and my first at a World Cup.

"But what's important is we get a result and we start the group on a very positive note.

"If we get a couple of points in the first game, it puts us in a great position to go through to the next round."

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