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Socceroos Must Improve on Confed Cup Displays

by isport

Australia may have failed to qualify for the Semi-Finals of the Confederations Cup but Ange Postecoglu's side can hold their heads high following their unexpected 1-1 draw with Chile.

They may feel a little disappointed however with their failure to pick up more points from their opening two contests against Germany and Cameroon. Their next major assignment is a crucial match-up with Japan at the end of August and lessons must be learnt from this tournament.

There was plenty of encouragement in Australia's opening game against Germany. A 3-2 defeat against Joachim Low's side doesn't seem too bad and they provided plenty of nervous moments for the World Champions but this was far from a full strength German outfit!

The Aussie's disappointed in the first half with a lack of attacking outlets evident throughout the side. A better second 45 provided some optimism but they needed a helping hand from the German goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Fans will have taken some optimism into the Socceroos second game against Cameroon but were left underwhelmed by a 1-1 draw which saw Australia dominate possession but create few clearcut chances. A second half Mark Milligan penalty got them back into the contest staged in St Petersburg but the lack of cutting edge is a real concern.

Following that disappointing draw Ange Postecoglu had been aiming to keep spirits high in the camp, insisting his side were still in with a chance of progressing to the Semi-Final stage and his squad showed plenty of belief in their third and final match but failed to hold onto the lead against their South American opponents. Chile had put themselves in prime position to qualify following their 1-1 draw with Germany and began proceedings against Australia full of confidence but failed to capitalise on their early dominance.

Whilst Trent Sainsbury has impressed in Russia, there is a feeling the back three system isn't working and Postecoglu must revert back to a four man defence ahead of the crucial World Cup Qualifier in August. Milos Degenek's lack of pace has been exposed this summer whilst Germany's continuous delivery of balls from wide areas caused endless problems at the back.

Australia dominated possession in their encounter with Cameroon but couldn't find enough space or creativity to trouble their defence. The African side won the shot count as the lively Christian Bassogog gave the Socceroos back-line plenty to think about. Postecoglu had bemoaned 'a little lapse' which led to the concession of the goal against Cameroon but he is likely to be more frustrated by his sides lack of cutting edge. His side must resolve this issue ahead of the International Break at the end of August.

Chile came into the match expecting plenty of opportunities against their opponents but the Socceroos three man defence actually emerged with plenty of credit.

Nevertheless, Chile have progressed to the Semi-Finals and if you're thinking of backing the South American outfit for success at the 2017 Confederations Cup, take a look at Oddschecker to see the full range of welcome bonuses available ahead of the competitions conclusion. Juan Antonio Pizzi's side are much fancied to lift the trophy and have been priced up as second favourites for the tournament.

The Socceroos currently sit third in their qualifying group and face leaders Japan in their next commitment. They are level on points with Saudi Arabia and their hopes of automatic qualification for Russia 2018 were handed a boost with Iraq holding Japan to a draw in the middle of June.

Finishing third would result in a play-off match with either South Korea or Uzbekistan and Postecoglu is desperate for his side to book their place at next summer's tournament as soon as possible. Japan lead the group on 17 points and will qualify automatically with victory against the Socceroos.

Australia twice blew a lead against Saudi Arabia and a defensive re-think is needed ahead of the crucial showdown in August. They face Thailand in the final group game but can't afford to rely on other teams slipping up.

Postecoglu has his work cut out this summer but the Confederations Cup has offered some harsh lessons to the head coach and his staff. Australia must tighten up, avoid costly mistakes and turn possession into chances if they are to return to Russia next summer!