Socceroos vs New Zealand, news, scores, analysis, player ratings, Garang Kuol, Jason Cummings

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Graham Arnold changed his entire starting XI for the second clash with New Zealand, with the new-look team coming away with a 2-0 win in Auckland on Sunday afternoon.

With a host of debutants in the first match on Kiwi soil in over 20 years, some of the fresh faces put their name up in lights with sensational efforts.

But some players struggled, particularly in a very poor first half.

Here’s how every player performed!

REPORT: Cult hero scores on debut as Kuol delivers in dazzling 18-minute cameo

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Cummings scores on debut for Socceroos! | 01:11


Andrew Redmayne: 7.5

Perhaps a surprise starter in goals, given he is a known quantity, while Mitch Langerak could have been given a chance after his retirement backflip and long time out of the squad. But the hero of the Peru penalty shootout delivered again, making a number of good clearances to shut down potential threats. Didn’t face any tough shots, but was very safe in dealing with the couple of attempts he did face.

Nathaniel Atkinson: 6

Offered space to roam on the right wing, he was aggressive and positive – even if he didn’t have too much impact. Struggled to shut down the skilful Liberato Cacace at times, but was solid in defence. Taken off after 63 minutes.

Thomas Deng: 7

After being physically outmatched by the Kiwis last time out, Deng and Delbridge brought great intensity – particularly as they battled with the hulking, dangerous Chris Wood in the first half-hour. Read the ball well and his covering runs, but his distribution of the ball was poor, giving away possession far too frequently in dangerous areas in the first half. Some sensational clearances at the death highlighted a very good performance that may earn him a ticket to Qatar.

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Harrison Delbridge: 6.5

Given the successful combination of experienced veterans Trent Sainsbury and Milos Degenek, the dependable Bailey Wright, and the rising stars of Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles, Delbridge has been forced to bide his time in the wings. But at 30 years old, Delbridge finally got his chance on the back of two sensational seasons in Korea at Incheon United. Was unbeatable in the air, making a raft of headed clearances, and was dependable elsewhere. Had one awful turnover that could easily have cost the Aussies a goal, but will be well pleased besides that.

Joel King: 6

The youngster saw plenty of the ball, but struggled to get forward in any meaningful way, and was unwilling to make the inverted runs inside. Perhaps it was a lack of confidence, or a concern about leaving space for his New Zealand counterpart to attack. He touched the ball more than any player on the park, but was a little wayward with his passing at times. Strong defensively. A simple, understated performance.

Harrison Delbridge was strong on debut.Source: Getty Images


Denis Genreau: 6

Defended stoutly, tackling hard and breaking up play. He struggled to make an impact on the ball in the first half, but was much-improved in the second half before being subbed in the 63rd minute.

Riley McGree: 7

Didn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as his teammates at times in the first half. Came out with better intent in the second half and suddenly found himself at the heart of everything, running the attack and finding plenty of space as NZ’s defensive pressure crumbled. A sensational half of football.

Riley McGree had a wonderful second half.Source: Getty Images

Connor Metcalfe: 7.5

A superb clipped ball for Duke’s goal was a highlight of a very strong performance. He was overrun in the midfield in the first half, and often forced to make tough decisions as New Zealand moved forward at pace – and Metcalfe was caught out with a poor decision on more than one occasion. Despite some poor touches under pressure, he showed the most initiative of the midfield and started most of Australia’s attacks. Continues to show plenty of potential to be a long-term Socceroo, given his solid performances and improvement. Subbed in the 823rd minute.

Mitchell Duke kisses the Socceroos crest after his goal.Source: Getty Images


Mitch Duke: 7.5

You know exactly what you’re going to get from Duke – hard work on and off the ball and a big, physical target up front. Just like in the last match, the Socceroos struggled to get the ball to the striker, despite Duke making intelligent runs. When he did, finally, get the ball in a good area, he selflessly set up Tilio for the easiest of finishes (though me missed), before scoring a thundering header, and nearly adding another when he slid in at the front post. Subbed after an hour, with his job done.

Asked how desperate he is to play in Qatar, Duke told Channel 10: “Massively. I’m 31 now and this is my only opportunity to be on the plane to a World Cup and play a part. That was my motivation. I feel like I did OK to win more opportunities and hopefully I get the final selection.”

Marco Tilio: 4

A horrible first half on his maiden senior start was summed up by an absolutely atrocious miss near halftime from close range when it looked far easier to score. But from that point on, he worked hard to make amends for his awful error – and was really quite good in the second half. His footwork and willingness to take on a defender was a good sign, and showed plenty of character to fight on after his error. Subbed in the 73rd minute, having picked up a yellow minutes earlier.

Mat Leckie: 6

Looked a little rusty, particularly in the first half. He was often too slow on the ball, but made good runs and, besides Duke, he was the only real outlet for the attack in the opening half. Worked hard but with little reward.

Cameron Devlin’s hard tackling sets him apart as a potential number six at the World Cup.Source: Getty Images


Cameron Devlin: 6.5

His first action after coming on to the park was sprinting out to close down a shot on the edge of the area. His second, barely a minute later, was a sensational sliding tackle. It was exactly the kind of physicality and intent that had been completely lacking in the first half. Misplaced a few passes, but will be very pleased with his debut.

Jason Cummings: 8

A goal on debut – the cult hero delivered. After Garang Kuol’s sensational build-up play, Cummings would have had a goal from open play had NZ’s Liberato Cacace not blocked the shot with his arm. But he made no mistake with a calm finish from the resulting penalty. Cummings worked hard to get involved in the play.

“Absolutely buzzing,” he told Channel 10. “I was chomping at the bit. I just wanted to get on the pitch.”

Jason Cummings of the Socceroos celebrates.Source: Getty Images

Ryan Strain: 5

Solid defensively, but wasn’t truly tested. He worked hard to combine with Leckie and the central midfielders to build attacks, but was kept reasonably quiet.

Garang Kuol: 7.5

Just days after his 18th birthday, Kuol showed why fans are so excited by his potential. He is simply thrilling with the ball at his feet, always willing to take on a defender – or multiple – and backing his skills.

Just minutes after coming onto the pitch, he showed off his immense speed to race into the opposition box, before – rightly – choosing to pass to McGree in the play that resulted in Cummings’ penalty. He created a good chance with a lovely touch in the box, but his shot was well denied.

With his searing pace and ability to create something out of nothing, he may have played himself into a spot on the plane to Qatar, a possible game-breaker off the bench.

Keanu Baccus: 6.5

Tackled hard, and always seemed to pop up in the heart of the midfield to disrupt the New Zealand play. Racked up a massive number of touches in his handful of minutes. A really promising performance.

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