Friday, 11 June 2010

Nearpost on the BBC World Service

Australia only won one game in the FIFA 2006 World Cup (against Japan 3-1) but I doubt few nations got as much joy from that tournament, not even eventual winners Italy!

Football or soccer as it’s often known in Australia hardly raised a ripple under the Australian Rules and Rugby League media barrage in the years prior. But Australians love sport and our first World Cup in 32 years was something to savour.

We’d never scored a goal at a World Cup, but when Tim Cahill (Everton) equalised with 10 minutes to go against Japan the millions watching around the country erupted. When Cahill and John Aloisi (Melbourne Heart) scored to seal the win in the early hours of the morning over 7 million of our 20 million saw the game at 2am!

Qualifying against Uruguay through a prolonged penalty shoot-out had the whole country talking football, actually winning a game at the World Cup left us wanting more. The media went mad.

And then we “beat” Croatia 2-2 with a late goal from Harry Kewell, before being cruelly defeated by a Francisco Totti penalty in the last minute. Were we robbed?

This time it’s different.

We qualified through Asia. 14 games but the locals expected it! You know how we Aussies think we’re great at cricket and rugby, well now people expect us to qualify.
This time we’re having debates about style, our aging team and lack of goalscorers.

We know our Coach plays 1-4-3-3 but we all call it 1-4-2-3-1. And no-one thinks he’s taking more than one striker to South Africa.

It was getting, well shall we say a little desperate as we struggled to beat New Zealand, limped past Denmark and then got hammered by the USA. The nation was starting to worry.

From nowhere the mood changed. The German Coach Joachim Loew has suggested the Australians are boring. He’s right but he may regret saying it. Added to that the Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari reckons we’re there for the taking and before you know it the great Aussie competitive spirit is coming into Jo’burg on many many flights. We’re fourth on the ticket purchased by nations list.

And of course now our golden boy Harry Kewell has been pronounced fit to play.
If Australia get out of this group you can probably thank Muntari and Loew, but whatever happens Australia are at the party again and football continues to grow in Australia.


Anonymous said...

Eamonn, how are mate. Kev O'Neill here,living in Perth and still playing. In fact I might try out for the Glory with Robbie and stick you on the wing.Glad to see your doing ok mate.

Eamonn said...

Hi Kev

Great to hear from you, long way from that town that made us great...go the bloody brewers!

Heading home in a couple of week, to Ireland...but don't seem to be able to get to Burton..funny that.

Good luck, and you were always were as slow as Robbie so you should do okay!!


Anonymous said...

I reckon i've got the edge on Fowler even today lol.
I had a kick about with Tim when i was over in Burton he's doing ok.
I foung you by chance mate as i've been trying to get the book for years.
He tried it with me also when i was young and eventually fisted me in the face in the combi van. He used to ask me not to swear at him when i was playing. Nobody wanted to know tho mate.
Say hi to Eddie for me, we used to have a pint together in the Wyggy Pub.

Eamonn said...

Interesting Kev re the van, very interesting I didn't know. Makes you wonder how many other kids round Burton must have had to fend him off! Certainly know a few who took a beating, maybe that was why in each case

Here's me email
did you ever get the book, if not send us your address and I'll send you a copy.