Match Results

by GGArmy on June 27, 2011

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Match Review

Joeys coach Jan Versleijen has downplayed comparisons between Harry Kewell and rising star Dylan Tombides after the young striker sealed victory for Australia against Ivory Coast at the FIFA Under 17s World Cup.

Australia made an ideal start to their campaign in Mexico on Monday, with second-half goals to Jesse Makarounas and Tombides overturning a 1-0 halftime deficit to boost hopes of progressing from Group F.

Tombides, touted as a future superstar since signing with English Premier League side West Ham, looked dangerous throughout the clash despite limited chances and managed to find the back of the net in the 77th minute to seal the 2-1 win.

However, Versleijen was quick to downplay Tombides' growing reputation as Australia's next soccer superstar.

"I know in Australia you're very good at rating players as the new Socceroos and the new Harry Kewell," he said.

"He is a very promising player, but when you're 16 or 17 it's a long road, a long way to go."

Versleijen praised his side's come-from-behind win over the Africans, and predicted Australia's best was still to come.

Versleijen felt his side was still capable of plenty of improvement and was confident his players would benefit from the experience heading into Thursday's (Friday AEST) clash with heavyweights Brazil, who opened with a 3-0 win over Denmark.

"The last time we played an international was Uzbekistan and the last time we played an international against top quality opposition was in August last year," Versleijen said.

"For many of them playing in the World Cup is a big, big learning process.

"With this game today hopefully we can get some more experience."

The African side dominated the first half, scoring in the 18th minute when Souleymane Coulibaly pounced on a mistake by defender Tom King.

But the Joeys rebounded well after halftime, with Makarounas levelling the scores with a stunning long-range volley in the 51st minute.

Tombides then sealed the result with a cool finish 13 minutes from time.

"I don't think we played well in the first half," Versleijen said.

"We were struggling to get decent ball into the midfield and we lost too many balls in the midfield.

"That made us a little bit nervous and from there we made some mistakes where they scored from in the first half.

"In the second half we tried to put more pressure on their defence line and forced them to make some mistakes, and did well with the few chances we got.

"We used them very well."

Versleijen said the focus against Brazil would be getting more quality ball to Tombides.

"Dylan has great skills and he also has, with his height, he is strong on the ball, he is technically good, left and right-footed, also he has good pace," he added.

"We discussed at halftime, when we were struggling to get decent ball in to the midfield, we said, try to get more use of Dylan, because he's able to hold the ball and can also beat someone.

"We really have to improve and to get more decent ball to Dylan because, he can make the change."