Football 2 years ago

Greece a totally different test for Roos

  • Greece a totally different test for Roos

    Greece's Loannis Gianniotas (L) fights for the ball with Australia Milos Degenek during their international friendly football match in Sydney on June 4, 2016. / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Greece's stern test of the Socceroos' versatility will hold them in good stead for their final World Cup qualifying phase, says veteran Tim Cahill.

Australia have played against two starkly different nations one week apart, first losing 2-1 to England last weekend before edging past Greece 1-0 on Saturday night in the first of two friendlies.

It's all with an eye firmly on the final hurdle on the road to Russia 2018, as coach Ange Postecoglou snaps up as many opportunities as possible to build not only depth, but adaptability.

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Postecoglou felt England had not sufficiently pressured his team, who dominated their northern opponents in the midfield in Sunderland but ultimately fell to the talents of manager Roy Hodgson's final third.

Greece were a different challenge altogether - dodgy pitch aside - as a solid defensive structure lined with aggression.

"It was a little bit of a messy game, but it was a good test for us because it was a different test to playing against England," Cahill said.

"We were exceptional against England, I thought we outplayed them while their quality up front showed in the scoreline.

"Greece was a whole different test because it's a different style of football and they're playing away from home.

"They're very comfortable on the ball, they can play out and play long, they mix it up.

"So the test was probably perfect for us at this time, knowing we've got one more test against them in Melbourne (on Tuesday) before going into the World Cup qualifiers in a few months."

Like Postecoglou, Cahill singled out debutants Jason Geria and Alex Gersbach, and first-time starter Milos Degenek, for praise.

"Jason was strong and I was really impressed with Milos Degenek as a centre-back," he said.

"I don't think he put a foot wrong, if anything he was very solid and brought a strong presence to the defence.

"Brad Smith is an exceptional athlete, Gersbach came on and did the business.

"It shows the depth we have in this team."

Cahill, Australia's all-time leading goal-scorer, would have netted his 48th international goal in his 90th cap had his late header not been disallowed after the ball briefly went out of play off a corner.

"It means a lot, but it would have been nice to be 48 goals in 90 games then continue it for the next one," he said.

"But I'm very proud.

"I'm 37 in December and I'm working hard to stay fit and make an impact for this team and take every chance."

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