My Great­est Goal

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS - Gary Cole

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.

THE MATCH

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.

THE GOAL

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 AF­TER­MATH

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.

THE CON­TENDERS

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!

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