Bert relief as Socceroos ‘come to grips with plan’
AFTER the horror show in Norway, Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk was quietly satisfied with his team's response in holding world No.13 Colombia to a goalless draw in London.
In the second match of van Marwijk's truncated reign, Australia escaped several times by the skin of its teeth at Craven Cottage, with Colombia hitting post and bar, missing two open goals and seeing a late penalty saved by Danny Vukovic.
But after the 4-1 humbling against Norway at the weekend, van Marwijk said he could see his team getting to grips with the tactical plan he had pressed on them at high speed ahead of the World Cup.
Pleased at holding a South American powerhouse to a draw, the Dutchman said his side had benefited from the extra few days of training.
"Before the game we already knew Colombia were a very good team - they could bring two or three teams on the same level. They are one of the best in the world," he said.
"When you win in France, 3-2 (as Colombia did last week), you are very good. So I think today we had a very good plan and we could see the way we want to play.
"This is the beginning but we played very well in the first half. Second half it became more difficult, partly because of the quality of Colombia. But we had the good character to keep it at 0-0."
Asked what the difference was between the two performances, van Marwijk said it was simply a question of having even a little more time to work with the players.
"In Oslo we wanted to do the same, but we had one normal training," he said.
"Now we know each other a few days longer, we trained a few times more.
"You could see the players are getting to understand what we want and how we want to play. If you ask them now, they want to play in this way, and that is the best combination when you play in a way that fits the players and the coach.
"Especially in the first half, you could see it. It must become bigger and better, but this is a good start."