My Great­est Goal Soc­ceroo Josip Skoko


Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -


‘It was a re­ally im­por­tant game as it was the last one we had be­fore we left for Europe be­fore the World Cup, so it was sort of a farewell game for us. It wasn’t im­por­tant in terms of get­ting a re­sult, but more for us in­di­vid­u­ally to have a good per­for­mance as we were all fight­ing for our po­si­tions at that stage. I re­mem­ber be­ing in my ho­tel in the Mel­bourne CBD about two hours be­fore the game and see­ing a sea of blue and white walk­ing to­wards the MCG with flags and flares and all that sort of stuff. It was a sight you nor­mally see in Europe and it had come to cen­tral Mel­bourne! Ev­ery­one got be­hind us that day and there was a huge crowd, about 96,000, so that set the scene for a great event even if it didn’t have the im­por­tance a World Cup qual­i­fier might have had.’


‘It’s al­ways spe­cial to play at the MCG, es­pe­cially with Mel­bourne be­ing my home city. The game started and there wasn’t much go­ing on – it wasn’t that ex­cit­ing and it was pretty even. It was 0-0 and we were feel­ing each other out and I think we had one or two cor­ners be­fore I scored. My po­si­tion was at the edge of the box to have a smack at goal and make sure the other team didn’t counter.’


‘I think it was a Bres­ciano cor­ner and Lu­cas Neill at the back post got a header back in to­wards the mid­dle and Mile Ster­jovski headed it away from goal for some rea­son! It came out to the edge of the box but it was an awk­ward one. I was mov­ing back­wards a lit­tle bit and knew I couldn’t strike it too hard. So I got across it and, with my left peg, just had a smack at it with­out smack­ing the crap out of the ball. It just fell re­ally well for me and ended up in the top cor­ner. It’s prob­a­bly one of those ones where if you did it 100 times at train­ing you wouldn’t get too many of them in.’


‘It was an amaz­ing feel­ing – do­ing that in front of your home crowd at the G just be­fore you leave for the World Cup. Back then we didn’t get to play too many games at home in front of our fam­ily, so it was a very, very spe­cial mo­ment. The game ended 1-0, which also added to the im­por­tance of the goal.’


‘There’s prob­a­bly three that stand out in my pro­fes­sional ca­reer. One was for Genk when it was freez­ing cold and the mid­dle of win­ter, but oth­er­wise it was pretty much from the same spot as where I scored against Greece. The cor­ner was from the other side and it was played short to me along the ground at the edge of the box. I had three de­fend­ers charg­ing at me and I just did a cheeky lit­tle chip as the keeper was off his line. The sec­ond was for Gençler­bir­liği against Blackburn Rovers in the UEFA Cup. Play­ing at home, there was a long ball to one of our strik­ers and Brad Friedel came out and headed the ball out. I was about 35 me­tres out and it came to­wards me, I caught it on the half-vol­ley and it floated over the top of him and just grazed the un­der­side of the bar as it went in. The third was in the same cam­paign against Parma. It never snows in Parma, but this day it snowed! The field was white and made for such dif­fi­cult con­di­tions. The ball came across from one of my team­mates about five me­tres out­side the box and I just drilled it in the right top cor­ner.’

1 AUS­TRALIA 0 GREECE Mel­bourne, May 25, 2006

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