Sport Football Socceroos earned deserved draw against Colombia in World Cup warmup

Socceroos earned deserved draw against Colombia in World Cup warmup

Socceroos player Josh Risden
The match was Australia's last before heading to a training camp in Turkey. Photo: PA
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Socceroos newcomer Danny Vukovic marked his 33rd birthday with a dramatic save to give Australia a 0-0 draw with Colombia in their international friendly. 

Vukovic, who replaced Brad Jones as goalkeeper at halftime, dived to his left to keep out Miguel Borja’s 85th-minute spot-kick after he had brought down the striker in the box.

It was nothing less that Bert van Marwijk’s side deserved in a display that was a huge improvement on the woeful 4-1 defeat in Norway last week.

Australia rode their luck on occasions in the second half at London’s Craven Cottage as the South Americans, full of confidence after beating France in their last outing, missed a series of good chances.

Borja was the biggest culprit, hitting the crossbar, heading straight at Vukovic from close range and missing at least two more clear chances after a goal was ruled out for offside.

The Socceroos also had their moments with Massimo Luongo and Andrew Nabbout going close.

Van Marwijk made five changes to the side that lost in Oslo with Luongo replacing the injured Aaron Mooy in midfield while Tom Rogic and Tom Juric were recalled to the side.

Jones started in goal for the first time in four years with Josh Risdon replacing Bailey Wright in defence.

Tim Cahill was introduced to the game as a 63rd minute substitute in place of Juric in attack.

Socceroo Danny Vukovic
Vukovic made his mark as a halftime substitute. Photo: PA

Colombia, ranked 13th in the world, started well with the outstanding James Rodriguez at the heart of everything they created in attack.

Despite an entertaining opening 45 minutes the deadlock could ot be broken with both teams having opportunities to score.

Colombia went closest through Rodriguez after a swift move that saw Johan Mojica get the byline and cross into the box, but the Bayern Munich ace blasted wide.

After a tentative start Australia started to get into the game with the recalled Luongo industrious in midfield and Rogic making his presence felt.

Aziz Behich, impressing again at left-back saw a low cross half-cleared by the Colombia defence but Luongo’s fierce drive was deflected wide.

The match will be the last the Socceroos play before heading to camp in Turkey in May as they build up to the opening match in Russia against France on June 16, with friendlies against Hungary and the Czech Republic.