When the match started, the floodgates opened…to a puff of dust. Barely a shot from an Australian boot bothered the Serbian keeper, who had but to lift an arm from his cabana chair to block a late anemic effort from Joshua “I’m too tall to get a haircut” Kennedy.
At the other end, Serbia were as busy as a hive-full of bees on caffeine. Serbian chances came from all angles. Socceroo keeper, Mark Schwartzer again showed his mettle, spending more time stretched out on the grass than Cheech & Chong in Amsterdam.
It wasn’t until the second half that Australia shook off their lethargy. A few substitutes left a team more stacked up front than a Canadian beer ad. Fantastic Socceroo goals resulted: the first, a cracking header from Tim Cahill, the second, one of the best long-distance shots of the tournament, from Brett Holman. 2:0.
It was all looking good, until Schwartzer parried a shot into the path of Serbian striker Pantelic. 2:1
Apart from some tense moments at the end, Australia had its first victory of the tournament.
The crowd at the Sports Café erupted into whole minutes of rapture – until the news came through that one win was not enough. The Germans failed us, by not scoring 27 goals against Ghana, and we were out on goal difference
For Australia, it means another four years of relative obscurity. ‘Football’ will reclaim its alter ego, “soccer” and Australian prime-time news reports will once again be crushed under unfathomable volumes of horse racing footage and something weird called netball.
For the Toronto fan base at the Australian-Canadian Association – God help us, perhaps it means cheering for another small, upstart country. As I write, somewhere in heaven, Michael Jackson looks down at Usher; Madonna (well, her career is dead) looks at Lady Gaga; and Australia’s mojo looks upon New Zealand.
“Hey," they all think…"that’s my move!”
In the end, however, Australia salvaged some pride. And you should see us play field hockey!
Four more years. Oy Oy Oy!