Wow! What a game Australia had against Japan in the 2006 World Cup (soccer World Cup that is)!
I watched it live with my wife and after a dubious goal by Japan in the 26th minute, it looked like Australian goalie Schwarzer was impeded by a couple of Japanese players, things were looking pretty grim. While Australia dominated possession in the first and second halves, it seemed likely that Japan was going to hold on and win 1-0, upsetting our chances of advancement into the second round. That was until coach Guus Hiddink made two important substitutions – Tim Cahill and John Aloisi.
Cahill came on to score the equalising goal in the 84th minute (1-1) and followed that up by a beautiful kick that hit the left post and then flew into the net (2-1). The crowd erupted, the Australia portion of it anyway, as did our house and the rest of Australia I’m sure. Icing was then added to the cake with a great run and goal by striker Aloisi to finish it 3-1. These were to be Australia’s first goals ever scored at a World Cup and the first game ever won at a World Cup too – magnificent.
Soccer, or Football as the purists prefer to call it, isn’t really that big here in Australia but already predictions are that this will have a positive affect on the sport in the junior levels. While I personally prefer a game of Rugby Union (speaking of which, Australia spanked England 34-3 on Sunday night) to Soccer, I can’t deny that the World Cup is exciting to watch.
We still have to face Brazil, which will be a momentous task, and then Croatia. I predict us drawing with Brazil and defeating Croatia, resulting in the Socceroos heading into the second round! Come on Socceroos!
Anyone else watch this game or any other World Cup game and care to give their thoughts?