Prior to our first match against Chile, experts and pundits alike would have had you think that Australia were not worth our time.
‘They’re the first team here, and will be the first to leave’.
That’s right aren’t we just another national team filling the blanks every four years and meant to serve as cannon fodder? There is no way we stand a chance against teams such as Chile, Netherlands and Spain. Well, when the Socceroos played their opening match against Chile they had other plans.
Although suffering from early nerves, the young and inexperienced Socceroos somehow managed to conger up a fight after going 2-0 in the opening 14 minutes.
It was a performance all Australians could appreciate for it represented the great traits our sporting nations have become well known for. They didn’t lie down and give up, instead they gave the Chilean national team a real fright and they were running them into the ground. I would go as far as to suggest we were the better side over the course of the 90 minutes but were just unlucky not to receive favourable calls – Tim Cahill constantly being man handled for the majority of the match for example.
The boys were determined to right wrong the mistakes they had made initially, and thanks to Tim Cahill we had every chance to do so. The Aussies persevered, constantly bombarding the Chilean defence with cross after cross and Cahill literally rising above the pack each time. At one point I was almost convinced he had scored again but was unfortunately and correctly ruled offside.
Young guns Leckie, Ryan and McGowan performed well despite their lack of experience, and with Bresciano warming to the challenge the Socceroos continued to grow in confidence searching for that second goal.
If Ange Postecoglu had of been made national coach earlier and the transition from older generation players to younger generation had been afforded more time, Australia would surely be better for it. All this criticism and yet we showed the footballing world that we do belong on the biggest stage. We fell just short but surely earned respect in the process.
Prior to the appointment of Ange Postecoglu, in recent times I have been left wondering what direction our national team was heading. At times I would question why I bothered getting up to watch two consecutive 6 nil thrashings. And sometimes I would just shake my head at the way in which our players would carry on – Lucas Neill.
But despite losing 3-1 to Chile and all improbable possibilities of progressing to the next stage vanishing barring a miracle, I was once again a very proud Australian supporter. Our boys under Ange Postecoglu had shown courage, spirit, hunger and determination for the first time in a while, and it gave me hope for what the future can bring.
Our next challenge that lay ahead is smiling Dutch Espanol slayers. Who would have thought that the Netherlands would thrash Spain 5-1?
No matter. If we play with such conviction once again and stick to our game plan, perhaps the improbable may actually become probable?Google+