A spirited fightback and two fortuitous goals made for more respectable reading than their display deserved as the scoreboard masked a pedestrian performance for the Socceroos.
― Reuters picSOCHI, June 20 ― Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou cut a disappointed figure after their 3-2 opening Confederations Cup defeat to Germany, but expects the Socceroos to bounce back against Cameroon on Thursday. Legacy infrastructure from the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 47,659-seat arena is nestled on the shores of the Black Sea alongside a turrets-and-all castle hotel and brightly coloured rollercoasters.
A week later, they kept a second-string Germany scoreless for only five minutes as elementary defending gave Lars Stindl a chance to open their account, and critics of Postecoglou's new 3-2-4-1 formation a chance to sharpen their pitchforks.
Our first #ConfedCup goal - a first #DieMannschaft goal for @borussia_en captain @stindl28!
For a moment it looked as if Australia would crumble.
Following an extended period of anonymity, Celtic's mercurial playmaker Tom Rogic put the Socceroos level as the clock ticked towards half-time. Unfussed, Rogic regathered and tried again, the ball squeezing under a diving Bernd Leno.
The African champions were beaten by tournament favourites Chile 2-0 on Sunday, with coach Hugo Broos happy with the way his side played despite the loss.
In the second half Joshua Kimmich flawless pass brought on the strike Goretzka and teammate Yevhen Konoplyanka at Schalke from a lethal position has not missed.More news: Seattle police fatally shoot pregnant mother of four Charleena Lyles
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Brandt combined with Joshua Kimmich, who floated a cross over the defence for Goretzka, and he took it in his stride and rifled home.
Having found themselves 3-1 down just after the break, Australia rallied in Sochi and Juric's effort reduced the deficit before he, Robbie Kruse and James Troisi all tested Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno late on. "So in the second half, Australia had a bit more possession but I didn't think they had a lot of opportunities and chances".
"We made it too easy for them and we were probably lucky to go in 2-1".
While Postecoglou was heartened by an improved second half showing, the former Brisbane Roar boss was in no mood to revel in the positives of defeat.
"It's just disappointing. I didn't come here to lose games". None of Germany's starters in Sochi on Monday had played in the 2014 World Cup final, and only a few seem likely to figure heavily in the real Russian competition next year.
He will likely stick with it for the last two group games against Cameroon and Chile, but the true success of the tournament won't just be determined by progress to the next stage, but whether he can discover the flexibility required to make his mark at a World Cup.
"He could have held on to that ball but he is a good goalkeeper, no doubt about it", Low said.