After being invited by UEFA to attend a friendly tournament, the Australian U-17 Joeys have ticked off one piece of preparation ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year, highlighting areas where they need to improve.
Game One Against Turkey (4-1)
Trevor Morgan’s men took on host country Turkey in their opening match and suffered a 4-1 defeat.
The first goal to Turkey came after half time. Galatasaray’s youngster Hakin Yesil scored from a set-piece from the edge of the area, which was soon followed by a poor Joeys clearance, leaving an open net for Turkey’s second goal.
Sporting Lisbon’s 16-year-old Tristan Hammond scored Australia’s only goal in the 88th minute via the spot. Then minutes later another defensive error plus a bullet header cost the Joeys two more goals.
Game Two Against Tanzania (2-3)
Head Coach Trevor Morgan shuffled the squad – Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Zenden Hart making his debut between the sticks at the expense of Sydney FC’s Adam Pavlesic.
Australia opened the scoring in the 13th minute through captain Ryan Teague in a goal-mouth scramble. This was cancelled out by an equaliser moments later through a penalty driven into the bottom right corner.
Just before halftime the Joeys made a break down the right wing, and Sydney United’s Michael Ruhs squared the ball for Rockdale’s Noah Botic to finish.
Coming back from the break the Joeys looked strong, with Melbourne Victory’s Birkan Kirdar peppering the goal, however it wasn’t meant to be. Tanzania equalised again from a whipped in cross followed by another cross to the far post which caught Australia off-guard.
Tanzania came from behind to win 3-2.
Game Three Against Guinea (2-2)
In the final friendly match, goalkeeper Adam Pavelsic returned, with Perth Glory’s Daniel Walsh in front of him in the backline.
Noah Botic came close in the 20th minute with a header just over the cross-bar. Guinea looked dangerous on the counter-attack after breaking down the right wing and having a decent shot skimming goal, which was unlucky not to go in.
Diego Alonso – Australia’s winger currently plying his trade at Valencia – also came close to scoring but his effort was blocked. Morgan made three substitutes at half-time with Melbourne City duo Josh Varga and Luke Duzel and Fulham’s Riley Warland all coming on.
The Joeys managed to score against the run of play through Noah Botic. Again this was cancelled out ten minutes later when Guinea scored from a corner, their striker managing to toe poke it into the net.
The Joeys managed to salvage a point on the counter-attack through Brisbane Roar’s Jordan Courtney, in form and fresh from winning the National Youth League.
Given Australia qualifies through the AFC, this exposure to other UEFA and African nations is vital ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It was great initiative by UEFA to invite Australia to the friendly competition to get more games into the players – now it’s up to FFA to organise the next set of friendlies.
The more the players can get exposure to international competition, the better for their chances at the World Cup.
Two losses and a draw highlight areas for Trevor Morgan to work on in the coming months. The team’s defence seems to be an issue given both Tanzania and Guinea were able to come back to either win or draw.
2 – Noah Botic
1 – Ryan Teague
1 – Tristan Hammond