... 1997 ARCHIVE

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in Saudi Arabia from 12th December, 1997 - Group A:


Australia 3 v. Mexico 1

12th Dec: Viduka 44 Aloisi 60 Hernandez 80 Mori 90

Coming Up: Australia V. Saudi Arabia 16th

Squad of 20:
Goalkeepers - Mark Bosnich (Aston Villa), Zeljko Kalac (Sydney United)
Defenders - Robert Hooker (Sydney U), Milan Ivanovic (Adelaide City), Alex Tobin (Adelaide City, Captain), Tony Vidmar (Glasgow Rangers), Matthew Bingley (Vissel Kobe), Steve Horvat (Hadjuk Split)
Midfielders - Stan Lazaridis (West Ham U), Ernie Tapai (Perth Glory), Josip Skoko (Hadjuk Split), Robbie Slater (Southampton), Craig Foster (Portsmouth), Ned Zelic (Auxerre)
Forwards - Aurelio Vidmar (Tenerife), Mark Viduka (Croatia Zagreb), Harry Kewell (Leeds U), Damian Mori (Adelaide City), Paul Timboli (South Melbourne), John Aloisi (Portsmouth)

Kick off time for the first group match in the Confederations Cup is 3:00 a.m. Sydney time on Saturday morning (Dec 13th). The match is against Mexico. Channel 7 is showing the game live on the east coast of Oz, check with your local station for broadcast times. (Info from Greg Stock)

Away - Saturday 22nd November - Azadi Stadium, Tehran

1-1 DRAW in Tehran!

Go to Tehran Match Report

El Tels team was:
Bosnich: Horvat, Tobin, Moore, T Vidmar, Slater (Lazarides): Zelic, A Vidmar (Tapai), Foster: Viduka, Kewell (Arnold).

Home - Sat 29th November, 1997 - Melbourne Cricket Ground, 8.15pm.

2-2 DRAW in Melbourne! IRAN Qualify for WC France 98 ...

Go to Melbourne Match Report

A footballing nation is in mourning. It is true we were the better team at the MCG but we didn't deserve to qualify if we couldn't overcome the histrionics of Iran and curb our loose marking under pressure! Here we go again - 4 years of obscurity!
Crowd: 85,000 - A record Oz Football crowd if so, and the two legs may be world record at 203,000

El Tels team was:
Bosnich: Horvat, Tobin, Moore (Arnold 83), Lazaridis, Slater (T Vidmar 81): Zelic, A Vidmar (Tapai 81), Foster: Viduka, Kewell.

Iranian Football Sites: WC98 Tripod

We will have to settle for the Confederation Cup in December and I hope we win the damn thing and shame FIFA!

For those at the MCG on Nov. 29th: A nation thanks you for your support. To the team thanks for some lovely football. Goodbye and thanks for the memories and hard work to those players and supporters who will not with us for the long haul to 2002!
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THE TEAM - UNDER THE SPOT LIGHT ..My personal comment :

FIFA Confederations Cup: Group A
Match Report off Channel 7

Australia 0 v. Brasil 0


Team: Bosnich, Tobin, Horvat, Ivanovic, T Vidmar, Lazaridis, Foster, Zelic, A Vidmar (Tapai), Aloisi (Bingley), Viduka (Mori). Best: Bosnich, Foster, Lazarides; but special mention to the defencive trio.

What can one say other than ... yes that was the score! An outstanding if not pretty result (up there with 4-1 v. Argies in '88 as this is a FIFA tournament!). The whole team played well as a unit, and the defence rarely looked like being breeched. Bosso was again magnificent making at least 3 world class saves. Don't let people say Brasil weren't trying as the look on Zagalo's face showed the strain. The first 10 minutes we held our own and settled well but it seemed a slight chance to Oz sparked a rampaging spell from the masters. One free kick just missed the right hand post and would have killed you if hit in the head! Through that spell Bosnich just kept smiling and urging his team upfield. A good chance fell to Aloisi but the leg of the keeper deflected it. At half time one could feel that we would be in for a whirlwind. In fact, although Brasil probably had 70% of possession as the game wore on they looked less and less likely to score under some great in depth defence from Tobin, Ivanovic, and Horvat. Even Tony handled it well. This against Ronaldo & Bebeto! For some reason Romario stayed on the bench. Laza couldn't get forward much but did provide some relief. At the final whistle the boys all had heads held high and perhaps some of that deep pain dispelled. If we can keep our heads against the Saudis we may get a crack at going right to meet Brasil again in the finals.

Match Report off Channel 7

Australia 3 v. Mexico 1

Viduka 44min, Aloisi 60min, Hernandez 80min (Mex) pen., Mori 90min
Team: Kalac, Tobin, Horvat, T Vidmar, Slater(Tapai), Lazaridis (c.!), Foster, Zelic, A Vidmar (Hooker), Aloisi, Viduka (Mori). Best: Kalac, Foster, Viduka

This was a great result, and hopefully of some cathartic value for the team, and even the nation. We shall see. We dominated the first 10 minutes and then Mexico took over, having 60% of possession and Oz giving away the ball too much. Mexico werte using a very nice short passing, switch play pattern. Kalac made two very good saves, to one clearance from a chance by Aloisi at the other end. The first goal was against the run of play but a nice piece of work by Foster and the best poach I've seen from Viduka. After the half time break we came out for another 10 min spell with some great midfield work but then just as Mexico were getting more of possesion Aloisi (off Foster again or Zelic?) made himself a glorious goal, waltzing through two defenders and slotting it sweetly home past the GK. 2-0 This forced Mexico to make some changes and they were effective with Australia keeping formation better than at the MCG but a bit of panic setting in under attack. At last Mexico broke through behind the defence and Kalac came out to smother but could only take out the player. Hernandez took the penalty and squeezed it to the left past Kalac's outstretched hand. 2-1 Mexico pushed up after playing from deep befire and exposed themselves to Lazarides and Foster on the left. From a nice Foster overlap and pin point cross substitute Mori guided his header over the keeper. 3-1 and the last few minutes we could have had another.

Generally Mexico outplayed us but the shape and commitment stayed OK and we took our chances this time. A very good result for us, against the CONCACAF champs rated well above us by FIFA, before playing Brasil who won 3-0 over Saudi Arabia. Dented pride slighty avenged and so far on track to go to the Qtr finals. :-) Bring on Brasil!

Match Report off Optus Vision

Australia 2 V. Iran 2 (2-0) In Melbourne!

Kick-off was 8.15pm - Saturday 29th November, 1997
Referee: Sandor Puhl of Hungary - FIFA No. 1 (5/10), Crowd: 85,022 (all Aussies and about 3,000 Iranians), Game: 8/10 as a game, 0/10 as a result! Scorers: Oz - Kewell 31min, A Vidmar 47min, Iran - Bagheri 76min, Azizi 79min
Team: Bosnich: Horvat, Tobin, Moore, Lazarides, Slater: Zelic, A Vidmar, Foster: Viduka, Kewell. Scorers: Harry Kewell (Aus) min, Aurelio Vidmar (Aus) min, Bagheri (Iran) mins, Azizi (Iran) mins. Yellow cards to Oz: Harry Kewell for ungentlemanly conduct
What a bloody awful result. We played just world class & beautiful football for 80 minutes and panicked for 10. What a crowd, what a game. The players ratings are:
Mark Bosnich 9 - a magnificent performance. Talked well, took some hard balls, made at least 3 top saves. Only his distribution let him down
Horvat 6 - good game and showed what he's got but is probably to blame for again leaving the man leading to Iran's 1st goal.
Tobin 7 - great game but again that lapse of concentration. Got forward well.
Moore 7 - very solid game but too far foward when it counted.
Lazaridis 9 - played a blinder! Not only on the flank but cut in at just the right times and delivered superb balls.
Slater 8 - played himself into the ground.
Zelic 7 - fine contribution and some lovely passes to the strikers.
Vidmar, A 8 - marked down for some easy chances missed, from what was his best for the green & gold.
Foster 7 - is developing into a big game player with surprising skills.
Viduka 7 - much better game and held the ball very well, and esp. good from deep.
Kewell 9 - what more can be said about this lad? A fantastic game marred only by falling for the idiot goalkeepers acting.
Subs: Tapai (6) Arnold (6) T Vidmar (5) -
We are definitely one of the top 20 teams in the world after that display! It is cruelty that we will get bugger all chances to prove it!

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Match Report off SBS

Australia 1 V. Iran 1 (1-1) In Tehran!

Kick-off was 3.30pm local time Saturday 22nd November, 1997 (making it 11pm Aust. Eastern Summer Time)
Referee: Payreto of Italy (8/10 good), Crowd: 128,000 Iranians and a handful of Aussies, Game: 6/10 as a game, 10/10 as a nailbiter!
Team: Bosnich: Horvat, Tobin, Moore, T Vidmar, Slater (Lazarides): Zelic, A Vidmar (Tapai), Foster: Viduka, Kewell (Arnold). Scorers: Harry Kewell (Aus) 19min, Azizi (Iran) 39mins. Yellow cards to Aus. - T Vidmar, Kewell, Tobin, Tapai.
Player ratings: Mark Bosnich 9 - a fantastic performance. Best ever for Oz.
Horvat 5 - solid game but is probably to blame for leaving the man leading to Iran's goal.
Tobin 6 - solid game but didn't stifle that man Azizi. Could do better on him and not get yellow carded.
Moore 6 - solid game and very nearly nullified Daei. Another match fitness will help.
Vidmar, T 5 - Not a shocker but played on the left instead of his well known right side until late. Some bad tackles and could have got a red!
Slater 4 - Hard to see he was ready for the game. Very poor fitness and dropped back too much. Instructions?
Zelic 6 - Not match fit either but showed glimpses of his usual fine capabilities. Will be looked to for a big game at MCG.
Vidmar, A 4 - Again lack of top level play tells in this sort of match. Was well marked on the far post at set plays.
Foster 5 - Steady game but gave away too much ball when holding possession was important in the second half.
Viduka 5 - Lacked sharpness and contributed little. Muffed great free header very early on.
Kewell 7 - Lived up to his name for the first half but got 'roughed' up a bit later. Did well!
Subs: Tapai (6) Lazarides (5) Arnold -
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Australia 3 V. Tunisia 0 In Tunis! Great result fellas!!

Live Match Report

Australia 2 V. New Zealand 0 (3-0) World Cup Qualifier

at Parramatta Stadium - Sunday 6th July, 1997
Scorers: N. Zelic, G. Arnold

Crowd: officialy 14,000 plus - could have been a bit more; Weather: Damp but ground quite playable and probably better than a few weeks ago.; After the wash-out of the night before at the SFS it was good to get the game on and underway.
Well despite NZ being without a couple of players they put on a typical gusty display and fought to the final whistle. Unluckily for them there was never any doubt about the result as this far superior Aussie team put on a truly impressive display. Sure the 2 goals could have been 6 if we only had a striker - who will provide us with the lethal goal scoring we need to get through to France? That is the big question El TV has to answer after tonight. Still we need not fear anyone with such a team. The midfield was sublime. The first 30 minutes we looked likely to overrun them but seemed to ease off the pedal, and in the second half NZ tried to claw their way back but just hit a 'brick wall'. We picked up the game later.
Bring on the Asians .. Quick Ratings:
Bosnich 7 - Had some more to do than in Auckland and he is often a worry but a couple of long kicks out were right to the feet of our men, and some good takes; Ivanovic 7 - Competent display and just goes on and on.; Tobin (c) 7 - Very solid again ; Moore 6 - Off injured and after a yellow card (T Vidmar) ; Lazaridis 8 - Excellent game and really opned them up down the flanks ; Zelic 9 - Created a lot of moves / chances, magnificently gliding through the midfield and his goal was awesome.; Slater 8 - Held the ball well, worked hard, and helped dominate the midfield. ; Arnold 7 - Better game from Arnie but still shy of shooting. Nice goal. ; Foster 8 - Very good game and much above his usual EC stuff. Commanded the mf. ; A. Vidmar 8 - Looked sharp with some beatiful touches. Needs to work harder. ; Aloisi 6 - Missed two sitters and had an average game. ; T. Vidmar 7 - Did well and made some telling tackles as well as getting forward. ; Trimboli and Mori came on (for Arnold and Aloisi) too late to do much. ;
What a great night - and if you put Saturday's lead up at the Cricketers Arms with tonight's Bay 69 singing and the top game - a great Football weekend! Go you Aussies. PS. SBS broadcast clearly picked up a large amount of the temporary bay 69 singing including favourites such as "Celery", and "You Fat Bastard" It was also great to hear a few times the Cronin Stand reverberate to "Aussie" Aussie" when the mass behind us got in the swing. More of that at the SFS in November please.

TV (SBS) Match Report

Australia 3 V. New Zealand 0 (3-0) World Cup Qualifier

at Northside Stadium, Albany, Auckland - Saturday 28th June, 1997
Scorers: Aloisi, Foster, Arnold

The SSB were shorn, mulesed, and de-dagged in their own shed. Despite putting together a ground that is worse than Gippslands NZ didn't have a lot to offer. Sure late in the second half they gave some flutters to 'the Hill' gathered at my place (mainly poor marking and one or too Ruferisms) but compare Foster to Wilkinson (P-G) and Coveny (SM-L) and ask who was lifted by the team around them.
Three great goals and at least 2 probably 3 more that should have been. Some great work to move the ball around and use the flanks (even in the sandheap) creating space and the diagonal balls through the defence were divine boys.
Bosnich 5 - really did not have much to do. (Yellow card for time wasting !?); Ivanovic 6 - Did OK but his footing for interceptions was marred by the ground; Tobin (c) 7 - Did the job on Rufer most of the time; Moore 7 - Off injured late but also contained well - should have come forward; Lazaridis 8 - If he had a right foot he could have created havoc; Zelic 8 - Rode a lot of heavy tackling and created a lot of moves / chances; Slater 9 - Ran all day, held the ball well, and always looked for options; Arnold 7 - In positions early and well but shooting let him down. 2 at least.; Foster 9 - Very good game and much above his usual EC stuff. Commanded the mf.; A. Vidmar 7 - Fetched and carried and gave options. Hope he keeps improving; Aloisi 8 - Getting much more confident, received well and took some nice shots.; Tony Vidmar on very late for injured Moore.

Live Match Report

Australia 5 V. Tahiti 0 (3-0)

at Parramatta Stadium - Friday 13th June, 1997
Scorers: P Trimboli 2, A.Vidmar, M Bingley, G Arnold.

Having rushed home to get to Parra Stadium for the 2nd game in our great Oceania Confederation Tournament NOT 2nd Round World Cup Qualifier. The SFS Bay 23'ers were not visible so we settle down with a hot dog among dads with kids, teens, and other baby boomers like us with that jaded "I know this will be crap" look. About 2900 there. What can I say. Score 5-0 - should have been 10. A couple of very well set up and taken goals, and a couple of easy ones.
Tahiti - they feed their defenders something better than sweet potato. Paul Trimboli came up to their knees. Two or three usefull players and their stamina stayed right to the end. Some reasonable close skills but most usefull moves broke down when they were naively played off the ball by our defence.
US - Trimboli enhanced his chances with a gutsy and at times inventive display against some big boys! Craig Moore oozed class every time he did something (his pass to Trimboli for the 2nd goal was top vision stuff) but that wasn't as much as he should have. Zelic waltzed around the park with the ball tied to his boots, but faded in the second half. Bingley did bugger all, and Muscat was neither impressive nor a boofhead - just ineffective. Arnie showed some really classy touches and good poaching sense but was marked very very tight man-to-man. Hooker was workmanlike, Milan Iv. had it easy, Skoko only occasionally got forward, but Lazarides when he came on late in 2nd half at least tried to pick up the tempo of the game. Really Oz played well enough in the first half after a slow start (but except for a short spell at the 2nd half beginning) didn't go on with it. Would have liked to have seen some long range strikes instead of trying to walk it in.

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TV Match Report

Australia 3 V. Hungary 1

(1-1) at Budapest, Hungary - Wednesday 2nd April, 1997
Scorers: A.Vidmar 4 mins & 89 mins, Klausz (H) 31 mins, Muscat 88 min. Referee: a German one (quite good)
Australia: J.Filan; T.Vidmar, S.Horvat, T.Popovic; S.Lazarides, R.Slater; N.Zelic, J.Skoko (K.Muscat 45min), A.Vidmar (c); Mark Viduka, G.Arnold (J.Aloisi 75 min)

A small surprise at the start with John Filan in for Bosnich. Australia start by looking much more together than in Skopje. 2 min a move on the left found Vidmar offside? Hungary try to attack but Tony Vidmar makes a great tackle to break it down. Slater received the ball on the right, stands on it, looks up and hits a beaut ball to the far post where Aurelio Vidmar rises to head it across goal and in! 1-0. 4 mins. Oz dominate for the next 10 minutes with Slater active, but Hungary show promise with a snap shot by Klausz. Hungary then start to come into the match, pushing up more and Oz struggle to get forward. T.Vidmar overlaps well and almost walks the ball through but sees it palmed away by the keeper. Zelic is upended for the 4th time whilst coming forward on one of his mazy runs. Klausz scores for Hungary at the 31 min mark after a through ball finds him unmarked with most of Australia's defence committed forward for a long throw. 1-1. Hungary have another chance soon after but Klausz hits it over the bar from a corner. Australia force their way back and at 42 mins Graham Arnold (who has been playing so deep he's behind Zelic and Slater often) finds space free on the right and from a Ned Zelic ball hits well to draw a good save from the Hungarian keeper.
Second half sees more tentative play and at the 3 min Muscat (2nd half sub.) eases off his man to see him move up and take a strike just off the left side of goal. Lazarides who has been withdrawn (in both senses) in the 1st half starts to overlap and combines with Viduka (who was unseen 1st half) for a great chance. Popovic comes up and is fouled. Viduka puts it over the wall, and the bar. Lazarides through on the left flank again and with a nifty little flick goes around the defender slips the ball in and Muscat muffs the shot. For the next 10 mins it ebbs and flows, but Oz start to hold possession. Zelic waltzes through again and is brought down again. T.Vidmar takes the kick and a long strike is just smothered by the keeper. 77 mins and a little one-two (Viduka-Lazarides-Viduka) is inches wide from Viduka. A freekick and Zelic misses. By now (80 mins) Australia look on top. Viduka brought down, and Zelic puts the shot to the keeper. Hungary make a move up and Hungary get a free kick in range which Filan gathers. At 88 mins Zelic makes a terrific through ball, which Lazarides chests down and Muscat coming up on the right smashes into the top far (left) corner. 2-1. Oz attack again and Muscat hits a cross which finds A.Vidmar moving into space on the far post, and he makes no mistake in the 89th min. 3-1. That's it folks!
Well what can I say. The performance was quite good, and will do everyone's confidence some good. No-one really put a foot wrong. The scoreline was fair, as although Hungary may have had a points call on the first half, Australia dominated the end of the 2nd half and always looked more likely to score. Great result guys! Best: Zelic, A.Vidmar, and Slater, but 2nd half Lazarides played a blinder.

TV Match Report

Australia 1 V. Macedonia 0

(0-0) at Skopje, Macedonia - Wednesday 12th March, 1997
Australia: Bosnich, Horvat, Durakovic, Kulscar, T.Vidmar, Slater, Corica (Skoko), Zelic (Tiatto), A.Vidmar, Viduka, J.Aloisi (Mori)

A game very nostalgic for an Australian football fan - poor defence, loose passing, untaken chances, promising moves forward! Australia played like the rusty unfamiliar side that they are in the first 30 mins, whilst Makedonia was fast, tight in control, and direct.
There were some chances for Australia early on through Aloisi and Corica. Horvat and Durakovic cleared some dangerous situations at the other end. In the last 15 of the 1st half the Socceroos starting to push the ball around, keep possession and a great volleyed shot from Aurelio Vidmar was pushed aside by the good Makedonia keeper for a corner only. Makedonia fell away but even so in the dying minutes Bosnich has to make two clearances.
In the second half Aloisi had a good chance nudged away, followed by a Zelic strike. Some harrowing moments for Australia as the defence is caught flat and flat footed a number of times with Bosnich shaky behind. Horvat tackles well but the midfield starts breaking down. Venables makes 3 changes. In the 89 min a nice curling cross from Tiatto finds Aurelio Vidmar off the back post and his head beats the goalkeeper.
Australia lucky to win, although they had more clear chances. Makedonia a fast useful side. For us - there is still a lot of 'gelling' to do! Best: A.Vidmar, Horvat. Corica OK in 1st half as was Zelic 'til he faded. Aloisi and Bosnich poor games.

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