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Australia coach Ange Postecoglou does not have the players to implement his preferred gameplan and his stubbornness is why one is betting on the Socceroos slumping to yet another defeat when they play fierce AFC rival Japan in Osaka.
Eleven matches into Postecoglou’s reign as Australia manager and the Socceroos have just two wins – 1-0 at home to Costa Rica and 3-2 over Saudi Arabia in neutral England – to show for their efforts as they struggle to play the possession football to which their boss is 100 per cent committed.
Australia cannot keep clean sheets – only two blanks in its 11 games under Postecoglou – because the Socceroos cough up possession in dangerous areas unnecessarily and they are too reliant on 34-year-old midfielder-cum-forward Tim Cahill for goals. Cahill has scored seven of Australia’s 11 goals under Postecoglou, with two of its other four goals being penalty kicks converted by Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak. Cahill cannot keep bailing out Australia at his grand old age.
Tuesday’s match is a friendly but there is no such thing as one when Australia and Japan meet given the history between the teams, which began when the Socceroos fought back from 0-1 down after 83 minutes to win 3-1 in the 2006 FIFA World Cup – Cahill scored Australia’s equaliser and go-ahead goal. Including that incredible game, Australia and Japan have met nine times since 2006 and the head-to-head ledger stands at two wins apiece and five tightly contested draws. Australia has not beaten Japan in the land of the rising sun, though.
Japan produced one of its finest performances in years when it spanked FIFA World Cup finalist Honduras 6-0 in Toyota on Friday, Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda scoring one goal for the Samurai Blue and setting up two more in a comprehensive home victory. Tuesday’s match will be the last game that either Japan or Australia plays before the AFC Asian Cup kicks off in the latter two months from now so both sides will be eager to post a win. One thinks that Japan is a cut above Australia at the moment and the Samurai Blue, trading at odds of -175 with several bookmakers, including Bet365, BetVictor and Sky Bet, are the best bet on the coupon.
Also a cut above its midweek opponent is Colombia, which is attractively listed at odds of -110 with William Hill to beat Slovenia in their Ljubljana friendly on Tuesday.
Defeated only by Brazil in its last 16 games, Colombia beat the United States of America 2-1 in London 24 hours before Slovenia lost 1-3 to England in the same city. Provided that Colombia’s attitude is good – and there is little reason to think that it will be bad considering that the Coffeers have won 11, drawn four and lost one of their last 16 friendlies all around the globe – Jose Pekerman’s attack-minded team should have far too much firepower for a Slovenia side ranked 33 rungs lower on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
Slovakia has won each of its last five matches, including shocking UEFA European Championship title holder Spain 2-1 in a home qualifying game, and its run is eight wins from nine matches if one goes back to this time last year.
In terms of recent common foes, both Slovakia and Finland have played Belarus, Greece, Israel, Lithuania, Romania and Spain since the beginning of 2013 and one’s view is that none of those collateral form lines favours the Finns.
Colombia to beat Slovenia
18th November 17:00 GMT
Where to Bet: William Hill
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