The Socceroos showed plenty of promise but will ultimately be disappointed to have let a two-goal lead slip in their 2-2 draw with Mexico in Dallas, as part of an Asian Cup preparatory camp that also saw injuries to senior figures Mat Leckie and Jackson Irvine.
Harry Souttar’s first half-header and Martin Boyle’s first international goal since July 2021 had Australia two goals up through 68 minutes, having also survived a missed Mexico penalty, but a pair of defensive errors opened the door for Raul Himinez and Cesar Huerta to square the ledger.
‘I thought the first half was pretty good, to be honest. The Socceroos were organised defensively, played on the counter, didn’t have a lot of possession, but you’d have expected Mexico to come out and try and dominate given it was technically their home game’, Simon Hill told Box2Box.
‘The second half was a little bit of a different story. Australia weren’t quite as in control and then unfortunately two errors, really, from Cameron Burgess and Harry Souttar – or maybe it was Mat Ryan, we don’t know for sure – but certainly there was miscommunication between the two for the second goal.
‘In the end, obviously they’ll have been disappointed not to have come away with the win having been two goals up, but some positives to come from it as well as some things to work on.’
The Socceroos next face England and New Zealand in a pair of value-added friendlies in London next month. The meeting with England at Wembley on October 14 will reprise the centuries-old sporting rivalry, while they’ll compete for the ‘Soccer Ashes’ against the Kiwis for the first time four days later in homage to their shared war history, and football’s place in it.
Leckie will not feature after sustaining a knee injury while in camp ahead of the Mexico clash that will keep him out of the opening period of the A-League season with Melbourne City. Irvine also appears in doubt after rolling an ankle in the dying stages of the draw.
The other major Australian football news of the week saw A-League Men’s Championship-winning manager Nick Montgomery move from the Central Coast Mariners to Scottish club Hibernian on a three-year deal.
Montgomery moved to the Mariners as a player a decade ago following a long career with Sheffield United. His contribution at Gosford has been immense, transitioning into retirement and then to the senior touchline for the past two seasons.
‘I’m delighted for him because he’s been sensational for the Mariners. He’s won the Championship, got them playing a great style of football, brought through a bunch of young kids – and we saw Sam Silvera make his debut for the Socceroos – have really benefited from his coaching and encouragement’, said Hill.
‘So I’m pleased for him and Serge Raimundo, his number two, that they’ve got this opportunity to go to the Scottish Premiership. We’ve seen with Ange Postecoglou that it can lead to even bigger things if you do well there.
‘Hibs are not quite as big as Celtic but are still a storied old name in Scottish football. It’s great for Nick, and it’s also another feather in the cap of the A-League. Maybe at some point the penny will drop that while our league might not be the English Premier League, it ain’t half bad, because they keep coming nicking our players and coaches, so we’re doing something ok.’