Cup entry in Socceroos’ grasp
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.