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Blog // Thoughts
November 16, 2005

At Bloody Last!!!

I still have to pinch myself to believe it is true. Australia have finally qualified for the World Cup! The Sydney Morning Herald summed up the drama, heartache and relief of football fans in Australia. “Some survivors from the first World Cup team, the pioneers of 1965, were there. Many of the players from the […]

I still have to pinch myself to believe it is true. Australia have finally qualified for the World Cup! The Sydney Morning Herald summed up the drama, heartache and relief of football fans in Australia.

“Some survivors from the first World Cup team, the pioneers of 1965, were there. Many of the players from the 1974 team – until last night the only Australian team to reach the World Cup finals – were also in the stands.

The late, great, Johnny Warren – who played in both teams and cried on national television when we lost to Iran on the Socceroos’ darkest night – wasn’t there, of course. But we all cried for him.

Woven into the fabric of this victory were the cumulative defeats of two generations. Grief has been the constant theme. Four years ago, Tony Vidmar had to be helped off the pitch in Montevideo as a torrent of tears rolled down his cheeks. Last night, the oldest player in the squad whooped with unbridled joy, savouring his decision to postpone his retirement. Vidmar was also there in 1993 and 1997 and, like many of his teammates, he knew this was his final shot at glory.”

It was a great display of the passion that makes football such a great game, but also what makes it such a cosmopolitan and international game. The “Soccerroos” are probably the most multicultural national sporting team in Australia (a stark contrast to the national cricket team, for example) and given the current tensions and fears in Australia, this victory should positively underline the contribution of immigrants to Australia’s heritage.

Now to worry about who they get drawn against in Germany.

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