Geelong Advertiser, Monday 14 August 2006, p. 46.
Geelong teenager Matthew Spiranovic has anchored the Young Socceroos’ defence in its second draw in succession with world-class opposition in South America. Overnight the Under-20 team held host nation Chile to a one-all draw, while earlier in the week the current world champion, Argentina, was kept scoreless in another highly impressive performance by the next generation of Australian footballers.
Spiranovic has been ever present in the key games as Australia, under coach Angelo Postecoglou, prepares for the Asian Football Confederation Under-20 Championship which will take place in India during October and November. The top four teams at the 16-nation tournament will qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Spiranovic is currently with the Australian Institute of Sport, but has already had a couple of games with Melbourne Victory, whose coach, Ernie Merrick, has a very high opinion of him. Merrick already has one Geelong central defender, Adrian Leijer, in his starting line-up, and Leijer is training with the senior Socceroos.
The Young Socceroos went a goal behind to Felipe Valderrama in the second half in Chile, but fought back for the draw with AIS striker Bruce Djite getting his third goal in four matches to secure the draw. Coach Postecoglou said, ‘The first half was a bit disappointing after the Argentina game and we lacked fluency and generally struggled. However I was pleased that we fought back after being a goal down. It is important that we compete and battle away to get a result after falling behind, so I was happy with the character that the players showed.’