Monday, 30 April 2007

Olyroos training camp in Canberra this week

The Olyroos prepare for their last home qualifying game against Saudi Arabia with a training camp in Canberra this week.

I'll be reporting on FFA Technical Director Rob Baan's coaching techniques and interviewing a player or two.

Got a question for Baan or an Olyroo? Post it here

Check back on Thursday for a report.


Football in the Pink!

Canberra Women's Football league is to be sponsored.

Club Pink, a women's health and leisure club will sponsor the league. It is the first time the women's league has been sponsored in Canberra.

Sign of the times I say.

Heard any other sponosrship news from around the country, let me know


Frank Farina's coaching tips

Queensland Roars Frank Farina was in Canberra recently at a Tip-Top sponsored coaching seminar for junior coaches.

"For young players 6-11 the emphasis is on fun fun and more fun. Get them on the ball and let them play."

"No tactics, or positional play should be coached at this age. The focus should be solely on teaching the kids individual skills and ensuring they are enjoying the experience."

"Sending kids for runs around the oval, for warm-ups, and fitness are a no-no. Get them on the ball at all times."

"And be positive from the sidelines. Get stuck in, kick it and other so-called supportive comments really don't help."

As the junior season starts across Australia, lets hope the coaches are heeding Frank's advice.

Add you top tip for coaches on this blog.


Sunday, 29 April 2007

Fox TV money

Did you know that the current Fox Sports TV deal for the A-League comes in at around $120 for seven years.

Eight clubs get around $1.5 million per year.

If the FFA increase to ten or even twelve clubs, A-League income from Fox Sports doesn't increase. The existing money, crucial to many teams survival, gets spread more thinly between all clubs.

Any thoughts?


Rod and his Scottish FA coaching course

What did Socceroos fan Rod do while waiting for the World Cup to start in Germany?

Filled in his time by nipping across to Scotland to do an SFA coaching course.

On been told to warm-up all thirty coaches, including ex-Celtic star Brian McClaughlin all ran off around the oval. Rod, being an Aussie, grabbed a ball and warmed up with the ball.

Oh and if you want to know how he went on the course. The SFA criticised him on one point.

Cones. When setting up a drill, coaches used four cones to make a square, Rod was marked down for using cones of different colours!

Sure enough, when he looked at all the other coaches set-ups everyone had four little white cones.

No wonder Scotland never make the World Cup these days.


Saturday, 28 April 2007

Surprise surprise, Sydney need a left-back.

Sydney FC are after a left back.

Hey wait a minute didn't they just get rid of Alvin Ceccoli and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Culina says Persik Kediri fullback 28 year old Erol Iba might become a recruiting target

Culina said: "Good left-sided players are hard to find."

Especially when you get rid of two in two months. Ok, ok I added that!


Ross Aloisi it seems

Rumour says Adelaide United's Ross Aloisi has retired.

Say whay you will but this game has cried out for paper talk and news coverage for years. Ross has certainly given us that.

Personally, I loved his celebration when he scored at Aussie Stadium this season.

And who could forget those 40 yard outside of the foot bending dipping free-kicks.

Thanks for the memories, shame it ended the way it did.

Just when Victory's Grant Brebner thought it was safe to go out Danny Tiatto's back!


Friday, 27 April 2007

Birthplace of football is........?

Call yourself a football fan.

So where is the birthplace of world football?

ZIBO CITY, China: AFC’s revolutionary football development programme Vision China was launched yesterday in Zibo which is located in Shandong province, the officially recognised birthplace of world football.

The AFC have announced its in Zibo City, China

Bet you didn't know that did you!

and if you did know, then name the street.....that'll teach you to be so clever!


AIS Scholarship holders announced

Steve O'Connor has the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. The twenty-five 2007 Scholarship holders were announced at the AIS today in Canberra.

Coach Steve O'Connor said, "You don't get many Viduka's, but maybe in a years time we'll have a better idea."

Come on Steve we're counting on you!

Men’s Football Program 2007 Athletes

1. Laurence Braude Wide midfielder NSW
2. James Brown Attacking midfielder NSW
3. Peter Cvetanovski Defender NSW
4. Matthew Harper Central midfielder Newcastle NSW
5. James Holland Midfielder Central Coast NSW
6. Marko Jesic Striker NSW
7. Matthew Jurman Defender NSW
8. Jason Naidovski Striker NSW
9. Andrew Redmayne Goalkeeper Central Coast NSW
10. Sebastian Ryall Defender NSW
11. Ante Cicak Defender Victoria
12. Milos Lujic Striker Victoria
13. Bonel Obradovic Midfielder Victoria
14. Matthew Theodore Attacking midfielder Victoria
15. Isaka Cernak Attacking midfielder Queensland
16. Luke De Vere Defender Queensland
17. Richard Greer Central midfielder Queensland
18. Tahj Minniecon Striker Queensland
19. Stefan Vrbesic Midfielder Queensland
20 Jerrad Tyson Goalkeeper Queensland
21. Alex Sunasky Defender South Australia
22. Matthew Mullen Striker South Australia
23. Daniel Mullen Defender South Australia
24. Domenic Giampaolo Striker Aust. Capital Territory
25. Dane Milovanovic Midfield/Defnder Aust. Capital Territory


Can Sydney FC qualify?

Sydney FC have put themselves in a good position to qualify from Group E of the Asian Champions League.

With group leaders Urawa Reds dropping points in Shanghai, Sydney need to defeat Shanhai Shenhua at Aussie Stadium, Sydney on May 11th to set up a group decidng match away to Urawa Reds.

So it'll be a great game against Shanghai in two weeks.

Can Sydney do it? Sure they can, they beat Shanghai in China earlier in the group. Shanghai showed plenty of desire at home but I expect Sydney in front of their home support will sneak it. It will be close may be only one goal in it.

Would set up a great final group game against Urawa Reds.


Thursday, 26 April 2007

Matthew Bingley is selling Real Estate.

Ex-Socceroo Matthew Bingley is selling Real Estate for a living these days.

Good for him. Wonder what other ex-players are up to.


Newcastle Jets observations

Just spent a few days in Newcastle.

Jets players were out and about at the Weet-bix kids triathlon.

Could coverage of the local game in the Newcastle Herald

Big splash of Hamilton Ricard on the back page of the Herald yesterday.

Manager Gary Van Egmond in Brazil but also interested in Ricard....apart from the possility of a murder charge hangin over his head...Ricard that is.

Newcastle need replacements for Milton Rodriguez, Vaughan Coveny and maybe Joel Griffiths if rumours are to be believed.

Seems like the Jets have a great base to build on.


AIS announce 25 Scholarships tomorrow

Twenty Five AIS football scholarships for 2007 will be handed out in Canberra tomorrow at 11am.

Former Socceroo and AIS scholarship holder Kevin Muscat will be special guest at the launch.

Given the talent that has come through this scholarship program in the past the AIS scholarship is much valued.

Mark Viduka, Craig Moore, Brett Emerton, Ljubo Milicivic and Josh Kennedy are just some Socceroos who started at the AIS.

No doubt there will be a few stars of the future in the current crop.

Do you know anyone who is likely to get a scholarship?


Adelaide bow out the Asian Champions League

Seongnam Ilhwa 1 Adelaide United 0

A narrow defeat left Adelaide's ACL campaign in tatters. With two games to go Adelaide are out of this year's competition.

Still they have plenty to build on for next year and what about sorting the coach out in South Australia.

Has Aurelio Vidmar done enough to get the job?


Steve Corica is Asian Champions League top scorer

Steve Corica is joint top scorer in the Asian Champions League.

His second goal in Sydney FC's 3-0 win over Persik Kediri last night at Parramatta Stadium gives him four goals and tops the charts in the ACL.

More importantly Urawa's 0-0 draw with Shanghai Shenhua gives Sydney a great chance to set-up a final day showdown in Japan.

If Sydney win their next home game against Shanghai, they will play Urawa Reds in Japan in front of a huge crowd to decide the group.

Can Sydney do qualify? What do you think?


Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Sydney FC Persik Kediri.: My prediction

A crucial games for Sydney FC against Persik Kediriat at Parramatta Stadium, Sydney in the Asian Champions League tonight.

Both teams must win to keep their hopes of qualification alive.

New coach Branko Culina's side will miss David Carney and Ruben Zadkovich through suspension. Robbie Middleby and Mark Milligan should be fit to play.

Sydney are expected to win but a small squad with a couple of key players missing may test Culina's men.

The weather should help. Rain, rain and more rain means Sydney FC can play Culina's uptempo possesion game. This may be the deciding factor over the ninety minutes.

My prediction: Sydney by two.

What do you think?


Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Matildas want a fair go!

“Girls love soccer in Australia,” Barbieri tells after training in Melbourne. “They’ll all seem to be playing the sport, but they don’t know me. They don’t know our faces in the national team [the Matildas].

I have to agree. coverage of the women's game is improving, albeit form a very low base.

Sponsorship is hard to come by, and the players represent Australia n the world stage with minimal support in terms of training and game time.

The growth of the game in Australia, magazines like foufourtwo and television coverage from SBS could all help lift the games profile in the next few months to its highest level yet.

Why do Aussie female swimmers, netball players and basketball players get a better deal than the Matildas?


A-League Pre-Season competition goes Regional again

The 2007 Pre-Season Cup competition starts on the weekend of July 14-15.

Games have already been confirmed for regional areas Maroochydore, Port Macquarie and Orange, as well as the major cities of Darwin, Geelong, Launceston and Canberra.

Last season matches were well supported and the clubs are keen to show the game to regional fans once more.

Perth Glory will play Melbourne Victory in the Northern Territory.This game will open the new Darwin football Stadium.

Group A: Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory & Newcastle Jets

Group B: Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix, Queensland Roar & Sydney FC


Advance Australia Pair

At the mid-way point in the group stage of the ACL, Sydney FC and Adelaide United have a lot of work to do if they are to advance.

see full article here


Monday, 23 April 2007

Sydney FC to appoint new manager today.

Sydney FC are expected to appoint Branko Culina as their new coach at a press conference today.

Culina is expected to sign a two-year deal which will give stability to the A-League club.

Culina has already managed Sydney FC through their current Asian Champions League campaign, and has been heavily involved with player selection for the coming A-League season.


Matildas FIFA World Cup draw.

The Matildas have been drawn against Norway(ranked 4th), Ghana(48) and Canada(10).

Australia will open their campaign against Ghana on September 12 in Hangzhou, followed by the match against Norway on September 15 in the same city before the final group match against Canada on September 19 in Chengdu.

The tournament will be live on SBS.


Sunday, 22 April 2007

Aussies score crucial goals overseas.

Australian's Mark Viduka and Richard Garcia scored crucial goals overnight for their clubs.

Viduka earned a point for Middlesborough against Manchester United at Old Trafford. United were held 1-1. This will allow Chelsea to close the gap to one point if they win today.

Garcia scored for Colchester United against Roy Keane's Sunderland in the Championship. With two games to go leaders Sunderland crashed 3-1 to United who are chasing a play-off place.


Saturday, 21 April 2007

Women's football needs a boost

The Matildas await their draw for this years Fifa World Cup in China.

The young Matildas are currently involved in qualifying rounds for the Olympic.

At grassroots level the women's game is booming.

And yet coverage of women's football in Australia is poor. Where do these girls and women read about their stars and heroes?

Nowhere it seems to me.

Interestingly, SBS, having lost the men's A-League and Socceroos games to Fox Sports, are starting to show interest. Interviews, web articles and live matches are starting to appear as they build up towards their coverage of this years World Cup in China in September.

Better late than never!

And there isn't even a national league, yet these women will be expected to perform the usual Aussie sporting heroics when representing their country on the world stage.

Why would girls stay in the game? Why doesn't women's football get live coverage like their female counterparts in netball, basketball and even golf? Why don't the FFA promote the women's game more widely?

If it comes down to money then its time the FFA focused on getting sponsors on board to grow the women's game.

Australia must have a women's league with at least the same media coverage as other women's sports.

This is should be a priority for the FFA, along with the men's youth league.

Come on FFA its time to get serious about all our football players.


Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury will make history tonight

Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury will make history tonight when she competes for the FIFA Women’s World Stars against China at the Wuhan Sport Center Stadium, China.

Australia’s most capped male or female player will make her second appearance for the team following the last such match held in Paris in 2004 to mark FIFA’s centenary.

Striker Julie Murray is the only other Australian to have played for the FIFA Women’s World Stars having done so against the USA in 1999.

“It will be a great occasion with so many of the world’s best players on the pitch,” said Salisbury.


2007 FIFA Womens World Cup Draw on Sunday 22nd April

The draw for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place in Wuhan, China tomorrow night. The draw is expected to be completed by 10pm AEST with to provide updated information.

The Matildas, now ranked 14th in the world, qualified for the World Cup courtesy of finishing runners-up at last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Adelaide after losing the final on penalties against China.Seeded teams for tomorrow’s draw are hosts China, reigning champions Germany, world number one ranked nation USA and Norway who are ranked third in the world.

The other nations to have qualified are Australia, DPR Korea, Japan (Asia), Sweden, Denmark, England (Europe), Nigeria, Ghana (Africa), Canada (North and Central America and the Caribbean), Argentina, Brazil (South America) and New Zealand (Oceania).

The 16-nation tournament will be held in the cities of Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan, September 10-30.


Hyundai A-League season 3 draw coming Monday

Football Federation Australia (FFA) will officially announce the draw for the Hyundai A-League 2007-08 season and 2007 Pre-Season Cup on Monday 23 April 2007.


Thursday, 19 April 2007

Malaysia to play in Australia.

Malaysia will spend three weeks in Australia preparing for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.
They are expected to play three friendlies against the Australian Olympic side, Sydney FC and Western Australia whle they are here.

Malaysia, one of the co-hosts, are grouped with Iran, China and Uzbekistan in Group C which will be held in the capital Kuala Lumpur.


David Carney signs deal for two years

Sydney FC fans favourite David Carney has signed a two-year deal with the club today.

"I am happy to have re-signed with Sydney FC until 2009 and confident that the club will challenge for major honours in the coming seasons," said Carney

"As demonstrated by his Qantas Socceroos call-ups, David is one of the best Australian players in the Hyundai A-League. Sydney FC is delighted to have secured his services for another two seasons," said the club's chief executive officer, George Perry.

Carney joins Iain Fyfe, Terry McFlynn and Robbie Middleby who have all recently signed new contracts with the club.


Richard Jones pulls his hammie

All over Australia the kids are playing football. The junior season is about to kick-off. My daughters team the Under 8 Pixies have seen their numbers double. The last two years we've had four teams in the Under 8's, this year we have eight.

Post-World Cup fever or just an increase in one age group in one club?

I'll keep you posted when numbers are finalised across the clubs in Canberra.

And its not just the kids. The older guys are still trying to get a game. In Masters competitions or work kick-arounds the wannabies are still pulling on their boots.

Take Richard Jones, a Commonwealth Government employee. Rocks up at my door on Wednesday last week. A work day and he's dressed in his Arsenal shirt.

"Got any shinpads, I've got a game at lunch."

He dashes off on his bike, the excited 44 year old desperate to get some game time.

I see him later.

"How did you go?"

"I don’t know whether to be grateful that I actually still have them, but I pulled a hamstring during our match yesterday."

We oldies can relate.

He quickly adds "It was 2-0, both goals set up by the dynamic right full-back, plus I had a shot that hit the post and rolled along the goal line before being cleared."

As he walks off he seems taller, younger but for the hammy induced limp.

Looking back he shouts, "Put that in your blog!"


Olyroos lose 2-1 in Damman

The Olyroos have been defeated 2-1 by Saudi Arabia in Damman. Mark Bridge scored for the Olyroos but two second half goals sealed the game for the Saudis.

Australia has five points from four games, behind Saudi Arabia who have nine points.

Two teams go through. to the next stage of qualifiers. Australia have games against Jordan (away) and Iran (home) to come.


Adrian Leijer to Captain the Olyroos

Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer will captain the Qantas Under 23s for the first time this morning(AEST time) as Australia meet Group D leaders Saudi Arabia in Dammam. With previous captain Mark Milligan injured Leijer will lead the Olyroos in this crucial Olympic qualifier.

Group D Gd Pts
Saudi Arabia 3 6
Australia 3 5
Jordan 3 2
IR Iran 3 2


Wednesday, 18 April 2007

A-League player recruitment news.

Latest reports state Queensland Roar are talking to ex-England striker Andrew Cole. A former team-mate of Dwight Yorke at Manchester United Cole would be an excellent addition to the Roars strike force.

Stuart Petrie and Jamie McMaster have been released by the Central Coast Mariners due to Salary Cap constraints.


Who said politics and sport don't mix.

Its an election year in Australia and no stone will be left unturned as political parties and pressure groups aim to get their message across.

It seems nothing is safe from politics this year, not even kids sport.

Tuart Hill soccer club in Perth have arranged a sponsorship deal with Union WA.
The children aged between 6-15 will have the words "Your rights at work," on the front of their team shirts.
Unions WA secretary Dave Robinson says the deal is no different to a normal commercial sponsorship.
Federal Sports Minister George Brandis told ABC radio in Brisbane "It is sick to be requiring school kids as a condition of playing sport to be carrying political propaganda on their jerseys."

Tuart Hill SC president Sean Eldridge has told The West Australian newspaper several parents have told the newspaper they are not concerned by the sponsorship.

Should parents be concerned? What do you think?


Changes to AFC Champions League planned

Australian clubs should benefit if proposed changes to the AFC Champions League are introduced in 2009.

Currently 28 teams from 15 countries are divided into seven groups. Only the winners proceed to the next stage where they are joined by last years AFC Champions.

If recommendations are approved two teams will qualify from each group and an extra knockout round will be introduced.

This year the final will be played over two legs on a home and away basis. This would be changed to a one-off final at a neutral venue.

Australia's current entrants Sydney FC and Adelaide United would be sitting in a much healthier position if these rules had been in place for this season.

The new rules will ensure that the wealthier clubs can extend their ACL season, allowing increased revenues from sponsorship and television deals.


Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Olyroos in crucial qualifier

The Olyroos take on Saudi Arabia in Damman in a crucial qualifier for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Coach Rob Baan has a number of problems for this game. Sydney FC's Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Mark Milligan are injured. Adelaide United's Bruce Djite and Nathan Burns arrived late, and Matthew Spiranovic and Kaz Patafka were not released by their clubs Nuremburg and Benfica respectively.

James Troisi the diminutive Newcastle United forward will start the game.

Australia will play their final home group match at Adelaide ’s Hindmarsh Stadium on May 16 against Iran .The top two teams will progress to the third and final stage of qualifying, where 12 nations will be split into three groups.

Last time out the Olyroos defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in Adelaide.


Nikolai Topor-Stanley

Playing in the 2010 World Cup for Australia is now the focus for all Australian footballers and Sydney FC’s Nikolai Topor-Stanley could be a man in the right place at the right time.

Topor-Stanley, 22, is a left-sided defender with the Olyroos and Sydney FC. He recently signed a two-year deal with Perth Glory for season three of the A-League.

“The deal with Perth Glory gives me a secure future and allows me to focus on developing my game. Things are really taking off in Perth,” said Topor-Stanley.

Perth Glory have new co-owners in Tony Sage, Brett McKeon and John Spence and the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in the A-League with Chinese company Delong Holdings pumping in $750,000 in a one-year deal.


Topor-Stanley has risen quickly after a slow start. Like Socceroos Mark Viduka, Brett Emerton, and Vince Grella, Topor-Stanley had a scholarship from the Australian Institute of Sport.

“Once I went to the AIS I became immersed in football.” The 191cm, 85kg defender said.

“They teach you how to be a footballer. You live and breathe football. Coach Steve O’Connor was a great help.”

In 2004 he joined local Canberra club Canberra Deakin and helped them secure the National Youth League title.

Canberra Deakin secretary Matin Radic said, “Nikolai played for us in the National Youth League. He was strong, comfortable on the ball, a fantastic player. Without him we would not have won the league. He was easy going and a great guy.”

“We’ve seen Ned Zelic, Joe Simunic, and Carl Valeri go on to play international football from Canberra Deakin. I hope Nikolai does the same.”

However, when Topor-Stanley graduated from the AIS, the death of the National Soccer League in 2004 meant there was little professional football on offer in Australia.

Topor-Stanley waited for the A-League to start - only to find he wasn’t required. Having already tried out for German side Borussia Munchengladbach he could have gone overseas again, but he joined New South Wales Premier League club Manly United, and waited.

A-League season two saw a long-term injury to Sydney FC’s defender Jacob Timpano and Sydney FC coach Terry Butcher gave Topor-Stanley his chance.

Sydney fans loved his rugged energy.

In a pre-season game in Canberra the call Hyphen was heard from the Cove supporters group and the nickname has stuck.


The A-League season may be over, but with the Olyroos currently involved in qualification games for the Beijing Olympics and Sydney FC disputing Group E of the Asian Champions League, Topor-Stanley’s schedule is hectic. He’s been to more countries since February than some of us get to in a lifetime.

Topor-Stanley has played in Iran, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong with the Olyroos, and China and Indonesia with Sydney FC. By the end of May he will have played in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Japan. Not to mention the Olyroos home games in Adelaide and Sydney FC’s at Aussie Stadium. No surprise then that he’d like a few more days’ rest.

“I’m living the dream really and I love it, although I don’t get much time off,” Topor-Stanley said.

“So much flying, I recently had to fly back from Iran via three connecting flights, pick up a visa and go straight to China. I use my new play station a lot!

“I never take playing and the lifestyle for granted. The guys at Sydney FC all help each other. You learn so much from guys like Steve Corica. I love playing against guys desperate to succeed from all over Asia. I sometimes have to pinch myself.”

His goal is clear.

“Like all Australian footballers I want to make the Socceroos squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.”

With the World Cup still three years away and a two-year contract with Perth Glory secured, Topor-Stanley could be a man in the right place at the right time. There is a dearth of left-sided defenders in Australia football. Scott Chipperfield is 31. Recent Socceroos debutant Shane Stefanutto is playing in the Norwegian League.

Topor-Stanley is aware of his opportunities. Softly spoken, his determination to succeed is high.

“If I can keep fit, learn from each game I have a chance.”

With Australia joining the Asia Football Confederation in 2006 a new path for Australian players has been created. A-League, Olyroos and Asian Champions League now provide a route to International football that few Aussie boys could have imagined just two years ago. For Nikolai Topor-Stanley playing his football in Australia may bring the highest reward.

This article was first published at


Monday, 16 April 2007

Sydney chief executive George Perry last night confirmed Robbie Fowler,the 32-year-old striker, once simply known as "God" to Liverpool fans, is wanted by the club for Version Three of the A-League.

"He's been discussed at board room level and it shows just how determined we are to set the benchmarks in Australian football that we are serious about targeting a player of his calibre," said Perry.

"He's out of the top drawer and though an official approach has not yet been made, it goes without saying that if he did come to Australia it would be a huge signing for us."

Fowler is already making plans for life after Liverpool, the club he has scored 128 goals for in 262 games over two spells.

There is reported interest in Fowler from the United States. Following David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy a number of older English players are looking to head west.

"If he's looking for a new challenge and a new frontier then we can offer him that, plus a great lifestyle," added Perry.

"It's obvious we wouldn't be able to pay him the sort of money he's on at Liverpool."

One major stumbling could be money. It is thought Sydney could offer around $25,000 a week less than a third of his current earnings.


Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler may be on his way to Sydney FC.
Sounds like paper talk to me.

He would be good for Sydney I reckon. Fans would surely come for a look. Better than Dwight Yorke?

Dwight had the skill to play all over the park. He still got criticised by many but some people don't know a good thing until its gone.

Should Sydney bring back Dwight?

What do you think? Robbie or Dwight?


Sunday, 15 April 2007

Australian Football is on the rise

Australian football has taken off. Since 16th November 2005 when Australia beat Uruguay to qualify for the 2006 World Cup life has been good. A-League, World Cup, Asian Champions League, 2007 Asia Cup, Olympic qualifiers men and women, Asian Futsal Championships, Futsal World Cup, and the Womens World Cup in China in September.

You get the picture.

I'll start with that match. No, not the Uruguay game, the Iran one in 1997. Sorry I had to. Its only since November 2005 that I can even discuss it.

Two nil up ,the Socceroos are cruising. We're off to the World Cup. Iran equalize and the night turned black.

Next morning I'm smacking some weeds down the garden. Depressed, angry and just plain teary if the truth be known. Four more years and only two significant games of football to be played in Australia. I heard a rustle from t'other side of hedge.

"G'day mate," thats what you say in Australia even if you're from somewhere else.
"G'day," he says.
"Where are you from," I ask recognising his foreign accent.
"Iran," he smiles

I never saw him again. The world can be a cruel place.

Got a game that still haunts you? Let me know