Tim Cahill extended his Australian national team scoring record to 36 goals with a stoppage-time consolation strike in the Socceroos' 2-1 loss to Japan in Osaka on November 18.
Not much else went right for Australia in its last scheduled friendly before January's AFC Asian Cup. Cahill did not start the game, despite being declared fit to play the day before the match (his status was in question after he took a knock in training on Friday) and coach Ange Postecoglou's statement that he would field his strongest lineup.
The Socceroos were undone by poor set-piece defending and a very clever back-heel flick from Shinji Okazaki. Those two goals, scored inside 10 minutes in the second half, were sufficient to win the match for Japan; Cahill played the last 20 minutes and provided Australia's consolation.
This was Australia's eighth loss in 11 games played this year, which is worrying form for a team preparing to host a major international tournament.
All but one of those matches have been played outside Australia (the Socceroos are undefeated in two games played under Postecoglou on home soil), as the coach has pursued a deliberate strategy of keeping his squad on the road against quality opponents in preparation for both this year's World Cup and the Asian Cup in January.
For RBNY fans, the good news is that Cahill is back in a goal-scoring frame of mind as the club prepares for its Eastern Conference final series against New England Revolution.
In Spain, the US under-20 men's national team concluded its November camp with a 1-0 loss to Canada's U-20s.
RBNY's Matt Miazga played the full match - making him the only player in the U-20 squad to play every minute of every game of the three-match Marbella tournament. Santiago Castano made his second consecutive start in goal for the U-20s. Former Red Bull Amando Moreno subbed in partway through the second half.
The next major outing for this age-group team will be the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, scheduled to run from January 9-24, 2015.
Most of the Bulls Abroad should be returned to the club shortly: Cahill has no further international obligations; Miazga and Castano have wrapped up their work in Spain; Costa Rica played its only game of the November international break last week; Ibrahim Sekagya took a moment to clarify his role with the Uganda national team (he's happy to provide motivation, but he's not going to jump out of retirement and disrupt the existing player pool), confirming his "call up" was not what is traditionally implied by that designation.
Only Ambroise Oyongo remains actively engaged by his national team. Cameroon plays Ivory Coast on November 19.
Les #Lions déposent les bagages à l'Hotel Pullman. #fecafootlive #Lionfans #RT #Team237 #oyongo #nkoulou pic.twitter.com/zNgCtkD2kA— Fecafoot-Officiel (@FecafootOfficie) November 17, 2014
Good luck, Ambroise. Bring us back something nice.