Josh Kennedy has helped Australia to a 1-0 World Cup warm-up win over Denmark in the outskirts of Johannesburg. In a largely lacklustre contest, both teams created few chances as they continued to work things out ahead of the tournament proper in just under two weeks.
World Cup warm-up matchAustralia: 1 (Josh Kennedy 71') Denmark: 0 Venue: Ruimsig Stadium - Roodepoort, South Africa Crowd: approx. 6,000 Yellow cards:AUS - nil DEN - Patrick Mtiliga 86'
In perfect conditions for football, the Australians got the game under way in their traditional green and gold against the Danes in their vivid red and it was Denmark's Daniel Agger who had the first real chance with a speculative free-kick from long range inside the first five minutes but it did not really bother Socceroos keeper Mark Schwarzer.
The Australians were scrappy to begin with but were enjoying plenty more possession early on although things were very cramped as they played a compact formation in an attempt to snuff out any Denmark advances.
Morten Olsen's men got themselves settled on the ball after the 20-minute mark and looked marginally more threatening although there was not a lot of spark in the contest which probably would have pleased both coaches because at least there were no mistakes in each back half.
The first 45 minutes ended with the scoreline at 0-0 and neither side causing too many problems for the opposing goalkeeper.
Both managers made changes at half-time as is the norm in friendlies such as these as the adidas Jabulani ball continued to cause problems for players from both Australia and Denmark.
The Danes were beginning to get on top ten minutes into the second half with a handful of set pieces worrying the Socceroos defence and it was not long after when the best chance of the game thus far came when Christian Poulsen hit a scorching left-footed shot but Schwarzer put some nervous times from earlier behind him to produce a brilliant double-handed save away to his right.
Olsen made a double change just after the hour-mark, bringing on Jesper Gronkjaer and Soren Larsen as the Aussies went about trying to create goalscoring chances which were few and far between.
GOAL - 71': Finally there was some action in the Australian goalmouth when Wilkshire's cross from the right flank after some good build-up play bounced to Josh Kennedy who beat Liverpool's Agger in the air before the ball dropped perfectly for the Nagoya Grampus striker and he turned and nestled it past Stefan Andersen with his right foot. It was the big man's 7th international goal and gave the Socceroos a soft lead after Denmark had kept out most of their forward forays.
The final ten minutes was a matter of seeing the game out from an Australia perspective as Denmark did not really press too hard for an equaliser and the match ended with a 1-0 scoreline in favour of the Socceroos.
AUS Mark Schwarzer (gk), Lucas Neill, Craig Moore (Beauchamp 76'), Tim Cahill (Holman 46'), Jason Culina, Luke Wilkshire, Josh Kennedy, Scott Chipperfield (Carney 46'), Vince Grella (Jedinak 73'), Richard Garcia (Valeri 46'), Mark Bresciano (Vidosic 73')
Subs - Brett Holman (46'), Carl Valeri (46'), David Carney (46'), Mile Jedinak (73'), Dario Vidosic (73'), Michael Beauchamp (76')
DEN Stefan Andersen (gk), Christian Poulsen (Jorgensen 78'), Daniel Agger, Lars Jacobsen, Daniel Jensen (J.Poulsen 46'), Jon Dahl Tomasson (Larsen 62'), Thomas Kahlenberg (Beckmann 82'), Per Kroldrup, Thomas Enevoldsen (Gronkjaer 62'), Patrick Mtiliga, Christian Eriksen (Rommedahl 46')
Subs - Jakob Poulsen (46'), Dennis Rommedahl (46'), Jesper Gronkjaer (62'), Soren Larsen (62'), Martin Jorgensen (78'), Mikkel Beckmann (82')