Osieck experiment bears fruit

Conservative ... Holger Osieck (Gwtty)

Holger Osieck was rewarded for his decision to go without any recognised holding midfielders in Australia's match against Lebanon with a refreshing first-half performance that augurs well for the immediate future.

The Socceroos beat Lebanon 3-0 with well-taken goals from Tim Cahill, Matt McKay and substitute Archie Thompson in a final dress rehearsal for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Jordan on Wednesday (AEST).

Australia went into this friendly match in Saida, south of Beirut, with two draws and two losses in its last four games so the comfortable victory would have boosted its confidence considerably as it prepares for its must-win match in Amman.

Yet it was the dominant first-half display that must have given Osieck most satisfaction.

Midfielders Mark Bresciano and McKay occupied the middle roles in a standard 4-4-2 formation and were the best on field until the former was replaced at half-time.

What shone through was the pair's positive attitude whenever they got the ball.

Instead of pussyfooting around in midfield and passing laterally both men drove their team with forward thinking and forward passing, using wide men Robbie Kruse and Nikita Rukavytsya with intelligence.

Bresciano was again impressive in running the show and was heavily involved in both first-half goals with passes that opened up acres of space for Luke Wilkshire and David Carney while McKay was adventurous enough to be in the right place and the right time to score his first goal for his country.

Not surprisingly, Australia's game deteriorated in the second half without Bresciano's steadying influence.

Yet Australia has not looked as organised, cohesive and purposeful as it was in the first period against the Lebanese, even allowing for the host team's poor quality.

Australia should be encouraged to adopt this attacking frame of mind for the rest of the qualifying campaign for Brazil.

Let's face it, Australia would be in deep trouble if it used such a cavalier approach against the world's best teams.

Which is when you need gritty guys like Carl Valeri or Mile Jedinak to do the dirty work in the trenches.

It's okay to be positive and brave but there is no point being naive.

Yet the Australia is a strong team and nothing should stop it from taking it to any opposition in Asia, even Japan.

Remember the recent match against the Japanese in Brisbane and how well the Socceroos played until they were forced into survival mode after Mark Milligan's dismissal.

As Mark Bosnich rightly pointed out during Friday's telecast, Australia is ranked highly enough to be able to afford an attitude of 'let's not worry too much about the opposition and let them worry about us'.

Which is effectively what Osieck did when he picked his starting 11 before Jedinak came on in the second half for Bresciano.

It will be interesting to see if Osieck perseveres with this interesting starting line-up in the crucial match against Jordan, where the stakes will be much higher.

One thing is for sure: attacking football seems to bring the best out of the Socceroos team and there would appear to be no reason not to adopt such an approach in Amman and beyond.

Source SBS