Australia 0 - Japan 3

It all started so promisingly. Lots of publicity, for example centre page colour poster in Saturday's Adelaide Advertiser, TV ads etc. The forecast was for calm conditions and 25 degress. It has only rained for a total of about 4 hours in the past 3 months. Something close to sell-out was expected, putting the attendance figures (esp. the number of *Oz* supporters) for Sydney and Melbourne to shame.

But 1 hour before kickoff the rains came. It had set in and was constant. With the grandstand pre-sold out, those who didn't have a ticket were gonna get drenched in the open outer, so many didn't bother - especially with three radio stations broadcasting it live (incl. ABC) and SBS showing it a little later on.

5 mins in De Amicis gets sent off. Goal for the visitors. 65th minute and the 2nd killer goal, despite Oz' good play up til then. Immediately after this decisive goal God/Allah/whoever tried to tell us all to just forget about it when s/he pelted Adelaide with the heaviest rain seen here for a long time. Combined with a cold wind, lotsa people in the outer understandably packed up and left.

And to top it all off:

Ivanovic's substitute-to-be ran up to the sideline with the fourth official with 5 mins to go, waiting for a break in play. For this was going to be Milan's moment - captain for the night, this was his last international, and in front of his beloved home crowd we all geared up to give him a standing ovation as he ran off to be substituted. The entire crowd were to be focused on this aged, battle-weary but still exuberant combatant emerging from the rainswept warzone in his last outing at the international level.

But the game continued... without a break. After 30 secs of time added (there should have been more than 2 minutes) Kalac booted the crap out of the ball over the sideline to stop the play. Then referee Shields blew his whistle - for full time!!

Milan eventually *was* presented to the crowd and got a rousing ovation - but about 5 mins after the final whistle. By this time lots of people had gone home, especially those in the outer not protected from the elements.

It just *has* to be TV's last game. All the bad karma of the night just reaffirmed it.

written by Andrew Howe