“WHAT a night for Norway. What a disaster for Australia,” said Simon Hill.
“If Australia have been working on their defensive structure in camp, they need to go back to square one,” quipped Andy Harper.
It was a first game in charge to forget for Bert van Marwijk after just four training sessions to implement his ideas on this Socceroos side.
Falling 4-1 to a mediocre Norway, the Aussie back four struggled with the directness of their rivals with some of the Socceroos’ most experienced players struggling in a line up which included plenty of experiments.
Here are the player ratings from Australia v Norway…
MATHEW RYAN – 5
Played most of his early passes longer and out to wide areas, and a diagonal pass out to Leckie led to a half chance off the second ball. Also forced into a few saves, which were regulation as Australia’s back four were exposed.
Turned over the ball into midfield with the first example of Australia looking to play out into midfield which directly led to the third goal.
BAILEY WRIGHT – 4
It took 10 seconds in the second half for Wright to be exposed. Ninety seconds later, it happened again, which gave Norway the free kick to make it 2-1. It wasn’t a shock. Wright should have been on a card, and it was a continuation of the overriding trend of the first half, playing out of position at right back. Wright’s positioning was also noticeably deeper in build-up, meaning he offered next to nothing going forward. Not a viable long term option at right back on the international stage. Hooked on 52 minutes.
MARK MILLIGAN – 3
Next to a very shaky Wright, Milligan was himself then badly exposed and in turn did little to steady things. Left on the floor for Norway’s equaliser, it was Milligan’s turnover that led to the home side having a chance to break in behind. Shifted to right back early in the second half after Wright was replaced.
MILOS DEGENEK – 4
Another big culprit of Australia’s struggles in the air, constantly exposed as Bjorn Johnsen and Ola Kamara caused havoc. Was unimaginative on the ball and didn’t look comfortable on a night where the entire back four struggled.
AZIZ BEHICH – 5
Like with Wright on the other flank, offered little going forward despite Aussie fans becoming familiar with his overlapping runs in the past. Behich was also caught out in 2v1s in wide areas, with Norway’s right fullback Omar Elabdellaoui getting beyond Petratos.
AARON MOOY – 4.5
“The midfield pairing have been both too square and too high up the field at the same time.”
That was the assessment of Fox Sports football commentator Andy Harper after Norway put their third past the green and gold. Mooy had by far the most touches on the ball of any of his teammates, but wasn’t able to make an impact on the tempo of Australia’s time with the ball.
MILE JEDINAK – 4.5
We can only imagine what went through Jedinak’s head when Ryan sold him short with a pass into midfield for Norway’s third. Jedinak, along with Mooy, wasn’t able to link defence with midfield as the Socceroos played more predictably and direct from the back in the opening 60 minutes. By the time spark started to come into the match, Jedi was off.
MATHEW LECKIE – 5
Playing in his favoured right wing role, was forced to come deeper to find the ball due to Wright’s positioning and also had to battle in the air as Ryan looked towards the Hertha Berlin man from the back. Had one instance of getting to the byline and crossing and had a good chance blocked
JACKSON IRVINE – 6
Scored the first goal of the Bert van Marwijk era and looked to bring energy into the attacking midfield role. Had a good moment of linking up with Leckie after a Ryan long pass which allowed the winger to get to the byline and got across the player at the near post to head home from a corner.
Also found himself in a good position in the box in the 40th minute but got the ball caught between his feet with a half chance to make it 2-1 before the break. Replaced by Rogic on 60.
DIMITRI PETRATOS – 6.5
One of the brightest sparks in the first half, involved in the best open play attack when the Newcastle Jet combined with Mooy with a give and go and found himself in behind Norway’s defence. A good left foot delivery flashed across goal and found Leckie, whose shot was blocked. A positive first showing that lasted 74 minutes.
ANDREW NABBOUT – 5
Isolated, not involved. Just as Australia started to lift the tempo, he was replaced on 66 minutes. The one positive impact on the match was winning the corner for Irvine’s goal.
Aleksandar Susnjar (52’) – 7
Slipped straight into the left of central defence on his debut and was giving a positive review by Fox Sports football commentator Andy Harper: “Early signs of Susnjar have been impressive. He’s composed on the ball and he’s the first defender who’s been able to make a dent on Bjorn Johnsen in the air.” Could have scored on debut, but a free kick evaded him at the back post.
Tom Rogic (61’) – 5
Attempted to grab the game by the scruff of the neck by taking pot shots from range. We’ve seen him score from there, but it’s not a viable outlet for consistent goals.
Massimo Luongo (61’) – 6
The general tempo of the game improved with Luongo in the middle of the park.
Tomi Juric (66’) – 6.5
Much bigger impact on the match leading the line – immediately able to hold the ball up, show to feet and link up with midfielders and wingers in the front third.
Robbie Kruse (74’) – n/a
Nikita Rukavystya (85’) – n/a