Australia in World Cup 2006

This article is a submission for the Soccerlens ‘Share Your Football Experiences’ Contest; to participate, please read the details here.

Australia 3 Japan 1, Reads the scoreboard on a hot Summer’s day in Kaiserslautern, Germany on the 12th of June; Anybody looking at a score like that would think 3-1 is a fairly one-sided affair, But that game in June was anything but…

46,000 Football fans from Australia and Japan (and the Sponsors) flocked to the Fritz-Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern for Group F’s second match. Unfortunately, being just 13 even after months of pestering my parents I was unable to fly to Germany, let alone to see my nation compete in only our second World Cup.

It was around 11.30 at night when the game began, A few of my mates and I went to a public screening in the City Centre to find another 4,000 Aussie’s freezing themselves in the middle of the city.

The scene itself was set perfect for the match, all around Australia public-screenings would be shown of Australia’s first ever WC Game in 32 years. People of all ages, gender’s and (Being Australia) where standing (some sitting) religiously watching a screen. Kids from as small as 4 years-old, standing with their dad in there green and gold shirts and scarfs, Middle-Age men standing with there beers, Just the sight of all these people watching a game was truly a sight to savour.

The game started, But not-to-the fans liking after around 7 minutes of the broadcast, the screen went black for a few minutes, luckily no action was missed.

Then, during the middle of the first half, Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura’s intended free-kick cross sailed over Aussie ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer’ head. Protests from both the Australian players and then-coach Guus Hiddink argued that a Japanese player had been holding Schwarzer.

The Australian’s kept on going, so too the Japanese; The two sides kept on playing an attacking brand of football, and one of the most entertaining encouunters in the 2006 World Cup group stages.

Something had to give, 7 yellow-cards were given out by the Egyptian referee, And as the game got older and time to get an equaliser was going, most Aussie’s had though the game would end in a bitter 1-0 loss at the hands to Japan.

As 80 minutes approached Australia kept attacking, and were gradually keeping more percentage than Japan, as Australia had more shots were going wide Socceroo fan’s and critics alike thought that with only 10 minutes on the clock left, it would be all over and Japan to claim all Three-points.

But on the stroke of 84′ minutes, Everton midfielder Tim Cahill recieved the ball just outside the 12-yard-box, the Socceroo Number 4 shot, the Adidas ball bouncing off one upright onto the other, then for the ball to hit the back of the net! The Socceroos had their first ever World Cup goal at-the-hands of Timmy Cahill, and in the process look destined to get a memorable draw at the Fritz-Walter Stadium.

As cheers from the Aussie crowds intensefied, the cries of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi!” got even louder and more passionate from the gold section of the stands, it seemed to work as 5 minutes later, That kid Tim Cahill got another goal to give Australia the lead, And to make the Socceroos sit on 3-points with Brazil.

Cahill did a memorable celebration, running up to the corner-flag and using it as a boxing oppenent, then kissing the Australian Shield on his gold jersey before running into the reserves and substitutes.

As the end of the match got closer, the man who put Australia into it’s first World Cup since 1974, John Aloisi on the 90th minute banged home Australia’s third and putting Australia on top of Group F and a spot higher-than Brazil.

There was not a dry-eye of Socceroo fans at either the Fritz-Walter Stadion or at one of the Public Screenings, as roars errupted and car-horns honked ’till the early morning as Australia had done it, Possibly Aussie sports greatest moments and giving a sport considered a sport for “Poof’s, Wogs, Poms and Sheila’s” the publicity it deserved, and the boys at the World Cup becoming Australian Idol’s for June and July.

And i’m sure I am not alone as I say, That was my greatest and most-memorable things that will ever happen to me, And surely will be the thing I will cherish and say to my grandchildren, “I saw it when Tim Cahill got a double, Aloisi got the Icing-on-the Cake and Australia were Top of Group F!”

This article is a submission for the Soccerlens ‘Share Your Football Experiences’ Contest; to participate, please read the details here.

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