Cup en­try in Soc­ceroos’ grasp

The Courier-Mail - - OPINION -

FROM Ger­many to Jo­han­nes­burg and fi­nally the green fields of Brazil, Aus­tralian fans have cheered the Soc­ceroos into three suc­ces­sive World Cup fi­nals and be­yond.

Af­ter all that suc­cess, it is easy to for­get that the Soc­ceroos’ en­try into Ger­many 2006, fol­low­ing John Aloisi’s his­toric spot kick penalty strike against Uruguay, came af­ter 34 years in the World Cup wilder­ness.

Tonight, lo­cal afi­ciona­dos of the “world game” have an­other chance to cheer cap­tain Mile Je­d­i­nak’s team into the fi­nals when they take on Hon­duras at ANZ Sta­dium in Syd­ney.

The road to Rus­sia 2018 is al­ready prov­ing rocky. Even Italy’s Az­zurri, the win­ners in Ger­many, bombed out against an unin­spir­ing Swe­den.

While the Ital­ians might have de­cried their fail­ure as “the Apoc­a­lypse”, Aus­tralian fans will not shed too many tears af­ter Fabio Grosso’s in­fa­mous flop in 2006 that de­nied the Soc­ceroos a his­toric quar­ter-final berth. Now it is our team’s turn to at­tempt to avoid a sim­i­lar fate af­ter a goal­less draw in San Pe­dro Sula.

This is pres­sure-cooker foot­ball. Un­der the ag­gre­gate sys­tem, a goal from our op­po­nents will be worth dou­ble.

We will rely heav­ily on Tim Cahill to hit the back of the net and make Rus­sia 2018 a re­al­ity. Af­ter miss­ing out on di­rect en­try, the Soc­ceroos may have taken the long route. But that’s what makes World Cups so epic.

There is now 90 min­utes left to cheer our team to a fourth final. Go Aus­tralia.

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