Monday, February 13, 2006

Laos hands out first "stiff lesson" to Austalians

Football Federtion Australia has been given a stiff lesson as to how difficult playing in the Asian Football Confederation will be with its national under-17 squad crashing out of the under-17 World Cup in its first attempt at qualifying as an Asian nation. The "Joeys" were dumped when Laos defeated Indonesia 5-0 Vientiane, ensuring it, not Australia, topped their World Cup qualifying group.

Australia and Laos had drawn 0-0 earlier in the week, and when the Joeys could only beat Indonesia 3-1, Laos knew what it had to do to go through on goal difference — and did it.

"The Socceroos will make their debut as a member of FIFA's Asian Confederation in nine days, when they take on Bahrain in Manama in an Asian Cup qualifier. The makeshift squad, made up of eight A-League players and several uncapped men, will be anxious not to emulate the Joeys," commented Michael Lynch in The Age.

"Those who suggested that Australia's move to the AFC would make it easier to qualify for World Cups undoubtedly will be in line for several similar shocks over the next few years, if not at senior level, then certainly at Olympic, under-20 and under-17 level."

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