Australia 3 - Japan 1
Well what else is left to say? (Sometimes I really hate not having net access every day. No, wait. I always hate not having net access every day). Until now, I rated the 1999 European Championship final as the most exciting game I've ever seen. But we have a new winner! In fact, it would have to be the most excting game any of us have ever seen.
Australia looked nervous at first (well, actually that's being kind. I heard a reporter the next day saying "Australia showed no sign of big match jitters", and I thought "Were we watching the same game? They were like rabbits caught in the headlights". And please put that lame metaphor down to lack of sleep). Then there was that unfair Japanese goal, which I won't even get started on because I'd never finish, except to say that I just felt so sorry for Mark Schwarzer - I can't even imagine how frustrated he must have felt.
Then followed a tense, and towards the end rather despairing, 60 minutes of stasis...
Until Tim Cahill scored twice, followed by John Aloisi, in the last seven minutes. If you were watching, you'll know exactly how I felt; if not, I can't really describe it. According to the wrap up in Crikey, no team in World Cup history has ever scored three goals in the last seven minutes. For an interesting perspective see Paul Wilson's piece from The Guardian...and the English fans' responses!
As for me though, I had to sleep...ironically this was easier because I wasn't working the next day, and had therefore been free to indulge myself through the match. I had intended to drink beer from each of the nations we were playing against during the respective matches, but decided against it because 1. Finding them could prove difficult; and 2. Because it meant I'd have to drink Japanese beer. When I got up on Tuesday, I kept watching the news over and over; I just couldn't believe what had happened and wanted to check. Also to be reminded. If you'd like to do the same, The World Game's spotlight on the Socceroos is as good a place as any to start...
For the first time since the Cup started, I actually had a beer-and-football-free night last night. I had to. I couldn't face any more alcohol, and knew that if I even caught the start of the first match, I'd still be in front of the TV at 2:30am. but I was up first thing this morning to get all the overnight results (and write them up on my wall chart!) including Brazil's very gratifying 1-0 victory over Croatia. This means that if Australia draws with Brazil on Sunday, we'll be...top of the group on goal difference! (Tim Cahill is actually top of the goal scoring table at present, but it's a bit early to say). Could we...top the group?!? Who knows!