Saturday 30 December 2017

Queen of Katwe

"Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong."

Andre Lim

Saturday 2 December 2017

Group C - FIFA World Cup 2018 draw

Who I want to go through marked in bold.
Who will likely go through marked in asterisk *.

Group A
Saudi Arabia

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E
Costa Rica

Group F
South Korea

Group G

Group H

Iceland and Croatia

Iceland draw Croatia again. It was Croatia that knocked out Iceland in the 2014 World Cup Playoffs; 4 years later Iceland topped their 2018 World Cup Qualifying Group, relegating Croatia to the play-offs.

After noting that the two countries "seem to be a married couple", Iceland head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said Iceland would demand a divorce from Croatia after next year's World Cup.

Familiar pairings

Nigeria draw Argentina again for the 5th time! (1994, 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018).

Colombia draw Japan again as per 2014, while Brazil get Costa Rica again from 2002.

Open groups

Groups A and H look completely open; while group G should in theory be very easy for England and Belgium..

It also means that the teams that progress to the Round of 16 from Groups G and H will avoid heavyweights in that section of the draw (at least until the quarterfinals where Germany and Brazil will likely await).

Win the group and get Brazil; come second and get Germany in the QF if all goes to plan (see projected knockout draw below - countries noted in order of likelihood).
If I had it my way with the knockout draw....

This is what might happen.

Group A
Saudi Arabia tops Group A; Egypt comes runner-up.

Group B
Morrocco tops Group B; Iran comes runner-up.

Group C
France tops Group C; Aussies come runner-up.

Group D
Nigeria tops Group D; Iceland comes runner-up.

Group E
Brazil tops Group E; Switzerland/Serbia come runner-up.

Group F
South Korea top Group F; Germany come runner-up.

Group G
Tunisia/Panama top Group G; England are runner-up.

Group H
Japan top Group H; Senegal come runner-up.

R16 Match #1:
Saudi Arabia v Iran
Regional rivalry.

R16 Match #2:
France v Iceland.
Euro 2016 re-match.

R16 Match #3:
Brazil v Germany
Premature grand final.

R16 Match #4:
Tunisia v Senegal
African derby.

R16 Match #5:
Morrocco v Egypt
North African derby.

R16 Match #6:
Nigeria v Australia.

R16 Match #7:
South Korea v Switzerland.

R16 Match #8:
Japan v England.

France proceeds to semi.
Brazil beat Senegal and proceed to top semi.

Australia beat Nigeria on penalties and then beat Egypt on penalties.
Japan beat England on penalties; South Korea beat Switzerland on penalties.

Asia derby between Japan and South Korea. Japan wins 2-1.

SF#1: France v Brazil
1998 re-match

SF#2: Australia v Japan
Asia derby part 2.

Andre Lim

Thursday 16 November 2017

We made it to Russia!

Yes! I'll be honest. I had no idea that Jedinak would be such a massive influence over the two legs.

I knew we needed his grit and roughness, but I didn't know we would be so utterly dependent on him.

(Courtesy ESPN Soccernet)

So what's the worst possible draw for us at the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

Denmark/Sweden/Egypt? (depending on how many UEFAs are in our group)

What would be a kind draw for us?

Tunisia/Costa Rica

What would be a memorable/interesting draw?


Saudi Arabia


Which teams from Pot 4 are the most likely to get out of their Group, in theory?

Nigeria, Serbia and Japan

Which teams from Pot 4 will everyone want to draw?

Panama, Saudi Arabia and Morocco; possibly Australia or South Korea

Which teams from Pot 3 will everyone want to draw?

Tunisia and Costa Rica

Which teams from Pot 2 will everyone want to draw?

Switzerland and Peru; possibly Mexico and Colombia at a stretch

Group of Death?
Denmark/Sweden with Ibrahimovic

Andre Lim

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Nice formation

Defensive double DM to prevent the away goal.

But will Rogic and Mooy partner well?

Can Cahill tahan?

Andre Lim

Tuesday 14 November 2017


A tight and nervy 1 goal margin victory.

Say, Australia 1 - 0 Honduras

I think Luongo and Leckie need to start.

Andre Lim

Sunday 12 November 2017

Arab football powers

After varying periods of absence, the traditional Arab footballing nations in the form of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt have all returned to the World Cup.

NB: Iran may be classified as Arab, depending on the definition that you employ. But they were there in 2014.

Andre Lim

Saturday 11 November 2017

False logic?

If USA can beat Honduras 6-0 at home, can we beat Honduras 2-1 at Stadium Australia?

Andre Lim

Friday 10 November 2017


"The stars on the Honduran flag represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea are depicted by the blue bands and the white band is the land between the two bodies of water and a nod to peace."

Andre Lim

Monday 6 November 2017

Honduras v Austalia

Given our previous away performances, I would say that the best we can hope for in San Pedro Sulo is a draw or a 0-1 win.

0-1 Win vs UAE
2-0 Win vs Iraq
2-2 Draw vs Saudi Arabia
1-1 Draw vs Japan
2-2 Draw vs Thailand
2-0 Win vs UAE
1-1 Draw vs Iraq
3-2 Win vs Saudi Arabia
0-2 Loss vs Japan
2-1 Win vs Thailand
We have not had that sort of strong, sturdy away performance since we played UAE on 6 September 2016. (That said, the 1-1 against Syria was not bad)

Bear in mind that, in terms of our away performances, we:
  • Drew 2-2 against Saudi Arabia on 6 October 2016; 
  • Drew 2-2 to Thailand on 15 November 2016; 
  • Drew 1-1 to Iraq on 23 March 2017; and 
  • Lost to Japan 2-0 on 31 August 2017.

Our home wins have also not been huge thrashings. The biggest margin we won by at home in the Third Round of qualification was a 2-0 win against Iraq.

Furthermore, the success we had was early on in the qualifying campaign - before Ange started experimenting.

My prediction is that Honduras will beat us in the first leg. I hope though that they only win by a margin of 1. Eg. 2-1. This might then (based on our recent history) go to penalties because our home wins are not exactly convincing.

However, a draw to Honduras is not out of the question.

Can we break our drought and return to winning ways? It will be interesting to see what kind of character we have.

Andre Lim

PS. There is also an element of "Asian" pride going on here too. This match will, to a limited degree, decide which confederation has it tougher.

PS. 2. I hope Northern Ireland and Ireland go through, although they may not be favourites. Croatia and Greece will be played behind closed doors due to fan violence/clashes. And surely Italy are favourites in their fixture?

PS 3. I hope Peru beat New Zealand, and I think they will.

PS 4. There are also some tight African qualifying games. Ivory Coast and Morroco will be a big one.

Friday 3 November 2017

Oh no..

Cahill could be out. How is this happening?! I know what will be on the front page of the Honduran sports section tomorrow...

Andre Lim

Monday 30 October 2017


Thank you to my wonderful girlfriend, Qianyi, for making the last two weeks back-to-back special and memorable. Looking forward to more memories made together :))

Thank you to my sister Chloe, and mum and dad for their love and support over the years.

Thank you to my friends for being just that and for the laughs we've shared.

Thank you God for everything so far and for another year ahead! What do You have in store?

Andre Lim

Thursday 19 October 2017

Crazy - Australia v Honduras

The final round of CONCACAF WCQ was crazy.

USA got knocked out thanks to a Panamanian ghost goal coupled with a Honduran and Trinidadian and Tobagan upset.

Now we are left with a Honduran match on 10 November 2017 at 4pm Honduran local time (our 11 November 2017 at 9am AEDT).


 Some funny tweets on the USA's exit emerged, such as this one:


We don't have a good record with final round intercontinental playoffs - we've only won 1 of the past 5 against Scotland, Argentina, Iran, Uruguay and Uruguay.

(We did beat Canada in the 1994 Qualification Campaign on penalties, but then lost to Maradona's Argentina)

However for some reason ESPN's Soccer Power Index has given us a 68% chance of qualification.

(But don't get complacent!)

Sportsbet gives us a 50-55% chance of qualifying.

Sportsbet also seems to be quite optimistic about our chances during our away leg - only giving Honduras a roughly less than 50% chance of a win.

BWIN disagrees, giving Honduras the clear advantage for the first leg.

WeGlobalFootball doesn't agree either with Sportsbet, projecting a Honduran sweep and giving them a 53.55% chance of qualifying.

TAB odds for Australia's home leg look promising, though.

Mr Chip (Alexis Martín-Tamayo) thinks it's almost 50-50 - and I think he's right

What to expect from the Hondurans?

Physicality: Rough tackling and a physical game

Weather: A tropical, humid and hot day with possible showers. This is a deliberate tactical decision on the part of the Hondurans to play their recent qualifiers at 3pm or 4pm, where the heat is arguably the strongest at this time of day. Their players would be acclimatized to such conditions.

Attitude of Hondurans/Views on Honduras:

"Australia is not a power - and they are English styled, relying on long balls"

"We will play to the death." - Maynor Figueroa, captain (suspended for the first leg)

"Australia should fear us, but only on the sporting pitch - claims that fans outside of the match will attack or be hostile towards the Socceroos are unfounded."

"In Honduras, we had a truck in front of our team bus and one behind with heavily armed guards every time we traveled." - Pim Verbeek

"Central America and South America are one of the 'most dangerous places' to travel to - due to things such as hostile crowds and the conditions on and off the pitch (eg. unforeseen inconveniences like having to walk 10 flights of stairs due to the hotel elevator breaking down)." - Alex Tobin

"This repechage match will not be easy. Australia has great players but I am confident that coach Pinto will take Honduras past Australia."- ex-Honduran coach.
"The Socceroos are playing into the Hondurans' hands by not flying there on the day of the match."

Recent record

Honduras are the champions of the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, ousting Costa Rica and hosts Panama. Honduras won 4 games and drew 1.

Their record in the CONCACAF Hex is mixed.

@ Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano or  Estadio Francisco Morazán, San Pedro Sula, Honduras

0-1 loss to Panama

2-1 win against Trinidad and Tobago

6-0 loss to USA
1-1 draw to Costa Rica

3-0 loss to Mexico

2-2 draw to Panama

1-2 win against T&T
1-1 draw to USA

1-1 draw to Costa Rica
3-2 win against Mexico

It seems like they have the potential to lose big away from home. This could be the key.

Any of the scorelines above that their opponents have come up with at San Pedro Sula would actually be good for the Socceroos.

Hostile home stadium at Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano

We should also expect a hostile Central American crowd.

Travel plans - Australians jumping into the furnace

The Socceroos have decided against camping in Nicaragua (supposedly the safest country in Central America) or Miami. They will instead take on the bull by its horns and arrive in three groups (from memory), with the first group possibly arriving 4-5 days ahead of the 10 November 2017 kickoff.

Australia will supposedly get a charter flight that will make a 17 hour journey from San Pedro Sula to Sydney. (If they went commercial, it would take at least 24 hours+, and possibly 37 hours). Apparently, FIFA has provided AUD$200,000 funding to each of the 4 intercontinental play-off nations (Peru, NZ, Aus, Honduras) to assist them with their travel.

What we are talking about here is arriving on Sunday morning 12 November (charter flight) vs arriving on Monday (commercial flight). A world of a difference!

Apparently Leckie and Milligan are also out for the first tie in San Pedro Sula so it would seem that they will not be travelling to Honduras.


The rumours of him leaving did not help - and he didn't exactly clear the waters either. However, today's talk was one of his more impressive and composed interviews. I liked how he was positive about the trip to Honduras

Let's hope the team is focused.

Andre Lim

PS. Apparently NZ and Peru have both sought the financial assistance of FIFA - they want to share a charter flight back to Peru!! Imagine being in the same plane as the enemy.

I also saw that 20,000 tickets were sold for New Zealand's first leg at Westpac the first hour!