2019
01/13

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Socceroos beat Denmark in friendly

The Socceroos have made it two wins from two pre-World Cup friendlies as striker Josh Kennedy swooped in the second half to seal a 1-0 win over Denmark at Ruimsig Stadium on Tuesday.

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In a far more composed performance than last week’s widely panned 2-1 win over New Zealand, the Socceroos made the most of one of just a handful of clear-cut chances in a match congested and contested in the midfield.

Kennedy capitalised on a Danish defensive mix-up on 71 minutes to volley home from close range.

As Australia build towards their opening World Cup match against Germany on June 13, coach Pim Verbeek declared himself happy with his side’s defensive performance.

But he and Danish counterpart Morten Olsen added to the growing chorus of discontent about the new adidas Jabulani balls being used at the World Cup.

Both believed the ball’s unpredictable movement at altitude had seriously compromised the game.

“We kept them away from the goal, we played very compact,” Verbeek said.

“Playing at altitude means you have to change your way of playing and those balls are very difficult in this environment.

“We did well but we were struggling when we had the ball.

“Every pass has to be 100 per cent, at feet. If it’s not going there it gets more speed and you never get the ball back.”

Starting with nine of what is likely to be their first choice 11 when the tournament kicks off, the Socceroos maintained possession well against their fellow World Cup qualifiers who offered little in the way of attacking thrust.

What there was came down the left side with Scott Chipperfield and Mark Bresciano proving more than equal to the task.

On the opposite side of defence Luke Wilkshire was outstanding while Craig Moore turned in a pleasing return to form in central defence after struggling against New Zealand.

Denmark’s best chance came in the 57th minute, when Christian Poulsen’s long-range shot was well saved by diving Socceroos keeper Mark Schwarzer.

But cheered on by a noisy and excited crowd – mainly made up of local schoolchildren admitted free to the picturesque country ground about one hour’s drive outside central Johannesburg – Australia assumed control of the match the longer it went.

And they eventually got their winner as Kennedy capitalised on a Wilkshire cross the Danish defence made a meal of.

The giant striker stepped between a defender and goalkeeper Stephan Andersen to first head the ball into his own path, then volley home.

The Socceroos’ final pre-World Cup hitout comes on Saturday against the United States – also at Ruimsig Stadium.

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