Australia was held to a 1-1 draw by an understrength South
Africa on Monday in its last international friendly on home soil before the
More than 50,000 spectators were at Sydney's Olympic stadium
expecting to send the Socceroos off with what should have been a
straightforward win. Instead, it was Ayanda Patosi who opened the scoring for
South Africa against the run of play in the 13th minute.
New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill scored the equalizer a
minute later, extending his record as Australia's all-time leading
international scorer to 32 goals, when he nodded in Tommy Oar's well-placed
cross. But it was one of the rare highlights in an Australian performance that
was more notable for the problems in its inexperienced defense.
"It's always great to score, but there were also some
good points to the game and a chance to fix some things," said Cahill, who
was filling in as captain for Mile Jedinak and playing as a lone striker.
The Australians had other scoring chances, with Oar creating
opportunities in the middle, but failed to convert.
"There were some glimpses of some great stuff. We did a
lot of things we were supposed to and we'll probably work on the things we
didn't do," Cahill said. "They had one attack and they scored. We got
the momentum back, we got the goal and stayed true to ourselves. Overall, it
could have been a lot better result."
Australia is a long shot to collect any points in Brazil,
where it opens against Chile and also faces defending champion Spain and 2010
finalist Netherlands in Group B.
Defender Ivan Franjic limped off with a right knee injury
but later said it was just bruising.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is set to cut three players
from his 30-man squad on Tuesday and finalize his 23 for the World Cup by June
Cahill, who is preparing for his third World Cup, said he
was "buzzing" ahead of Brazil.
"It's three weeks until the first game at
the World Cup. It's the first time a lot of us have actually played
competitively together," he said. "I thought we were very brave and
we made some mistakes here and there. But overall we've got to be ready to play
the bigger teams."
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