My Greatest Goal
THE LEAD U P
We were playing Mexico in back-toback friendlies and we were coming off a 2-2 draw in Sydney. I was impressed we were playing Mexico because they were a big Central American team and back in those days we didn’t play teams like that too often. These games were in preparation for the 1982 World Cup Qualifiers and playing with the family in the crowd was nice and was a rarity. We all realised they were a bloody good Central American team. What was in our favour was a cold, wet winter’s night in Melbourne, so that probably helped.
Olympic Park was wet so the ball was zipping around and that suited them. Sometimes we call it defending in a deep defensive block, but back in the day, it might’ve been called parking the bus. We were tough, physical and we could get away with things more back then. We played in typical Australian fashion and they played in typical Central American fashion. That always made us competitive, we didn’t have too many opportunities before we took the lead and we certainly weren’t getting in behind them, but the game was fairly even.
It was Peter Sharne from Marconi Stallions who crossed it in and he was just as quick as lightning. The joke at the time was ‘Peter Sharne could turn off the lights and get into bed before the room got dark’. He was really quick and caused defenders all sorts of problems. He was a genuine winger and spent his time on both flanks. He ran down the right and whipped one in and I wasn’t even in the penalty area. His cross came in and it bounced seven metres in front of me and it skipped off the turf, causing it to come quicker. I made a good body adjustment and as the ball came, I made great connection and it curved into the top right corner. There was this brief lull and everyone went, ‘Oh f**k! Cole has just whacked one into the top corner!’ I peeled away to the right hand side, jumping and punching the air.
The celebration lasted for nine minutes before they equalised, but it was nice to take the lead against Mexico at home. It finished 1-1. Overall, it was a great result for Australia and it was unusual we’d play a team of that calibre twice. After that we began our world tour, we then flew to Athens to play Greece and drew 3-3.
I scored my first Socceroos goal against Greece in Melbourne which was a cracker and I could talk about that for 30 minutes. In that 3-3 draw in Athens, I opened the scoring in a full Athens Stadium, Steve Perry knocked it up to me and I essentially ran in a straight line towards the goal. I somehow dribbled past four defenders and the goalkeeper, then tapped it home. It was some goal!