Win over Kuwait proves Socceroos have a King Keeper
IF FRIDAY'S Asian Cup win over Kuwait proved anything, it is that in Mat Ryan the Socceroos have a world-class goalkeeper.
One of his saves with the score at 3-1 was truly outstanding, and as Australia goes deeper into the tournament it is going to need its goalkeeper on top form as the opposition gets stronger.
The Socceroos looked good in attack in the opening game, but defensively I am still a little concerned, especially as the standard of teams will get better as the Asian Cup progresses.
Ange Postecoglou was right to focus on the positives following the 4-1 over Kuwait, and there were plenty of them.
Massimo Luongo showed he has the nous and the skill to play at this level and was quite rightly named man of the match.
Mathew Leckie also showed some great touches, but too often he could not deliver that killer ball after doing all the hard work in the build-up.
But it was in defence where the Socceroos showed they still have plenty of work to do before facing the heavyweights of the competition, such as South Korea and Japan.
In the final warm-up game against the Japanese, Australia was caught out at the far post at a set-piece, and the same thing happened against Kuwait.
The defence cannot afford to switch off at all in these games if the Socceroos are to have any hope of winning the Asian Cup.
Looking ahead to tomorrow night's game against Oman in Sydney, it is a blow that captain Mile Jedinak is not fit to play, but it will be a chance to see just how much depth the Socceroos have. It will be more important to get Jedinak fit for the important clash with South Korea in Brisbane on Saturday.
That's not to say the Oman game is not important, because in some ways it could be key to what happens later in the tournament.
A win over Oman would put the Socceroos in the box seat to win Group A, meaning they will not meet Japan until the final, if they get that far.
Jedinak's absence will give Postecoglou a chance to test his depth, something he touched on when speaking about his captain's injury. "We worked hard on increasing our depth over the last six months leading into the Asian Cup and that has us in a good position to be able to cover for the loss of a player of Mile's calibre," he said.
The coach has a few options for Jedinak's replacement with Mark Bresciano, Mark Milligan or Matt McKay probably on top of the list to come in. But don't be surprised if Postecoglou goes for a bolter such as Terry Antonis to play the holding midfield role.
Let's not forget, this is a tough tournament and injuries will happen, so the coach has to look at covering all his bases and that means making sure his players are all ready to come into the team and get straight down to business.