Australia 4 - New Zealand 1

NO question that the best team won. and my prediction of 4-0 was quite close - thats a first for me! I couldn't help thinking though what the score would have been had we had Schwarzer in goal and Oz had Batty. I think Schwarzer would have had a good chance of saving all the Oz goals. Batty never got close....

For me the most disappointing aspect of the defeat was the quality of New Zealands defending. It really was poor. All 4 Oz goals were breakaways and at least twice the Australians were put through by running onto a Kiwi backpass.

Generally speaking the teams were relatively well matched except that where Oz had 3 players who are way above average (Okon Emerton & Schwarzer) NZ had a couple who were well below average (Batty Elliott). I cannot believe that Batty played after the awful performance on Wednesday. Everyone knows the old dracula joke but I don't think I have EVER seen a keeper so afraid to come off his line. Pitiful. One thing that I noticed during the match was that although both teams had spells when they were on top, Australia I felt always looked like they might score when they attacked. NZ never ever did. Having said that there is such a fine line between victory and defeat. Urlovic missed an absolute sitter which would have made the score 2-2 and within 30 seconds Oz scored at the other end to make it 3-1.

Oh well I am sure we'll beat you in 2005.. we're just lulling you into a false sense of security. 8-)

written by David Paton

Well here it is, at least what I can remember through an alcoholic fog. Oh BTW, Warren, most Aussies are excellent surfers - some, like Forza, have even developed a personal bellyboard.

I arrived at the Homebush at around 1:00p.m., after watching the junior GroundsKeeper play in the morning, and headed straight for "the Brewery", where I met up with fellow listees, Forza Fred, Big Pete, wee Jack, Geoff Coy, Chris Dunkerley and met (for the first time) David Marshall and his mate Alan from Brissie - also ran into Becky and Markian after the game - I've probably missed a couple of you but the brain isn't functioning at 100% yet - great to catch up guys.

After a couple of quite schooies, watching the crowd roll up, a decent 41,976 on a glorious warm sunny autumn afternoon, we crossed the road to Stade Oz stopping en-route to our seats to pick up a supply of liquid refreshments for the first half.

Forza and I tried to get the crowd "up" with a couple of "poll tax" chants then had a bit more success with our rendition of "SSBs". I don't know how the crowd came up on TV, but our side of the ground seemed filled to capacity, word had probably got out about where we'd be sitting, while the other side was about half full - behind the goals at both ends were empty (Forza pointed out that that was where Adrian and all his mates were sitting). Most of the crowd actually sung the national anthem, without the benefit of words on the scoreboard - great to hear!

The socceroos absolutely dominated from the outset and it was no surprise when Zdillic scored after only about 7 minutes. A few of us feared that the boys would drop back a gear like they did in Wellington, but no, they continued to pile on the pressure, despite the best efforts of the ref (where did they find this imbecile?) to keep the All Whites in the game. His yellow carding of Okon in the opening minute for a nothing tackle was only the start of a series of one-sided decisions. Let's hope Frankie manages to get FIFA to wipe the slate clean for the South American games.

Australia had the ball in the back of the net again after 15 minutes only to have the goal disallowed - does anyone know what for? No one was overly upset though because by then it was clear that we were in no danger. Emerton's goal after 37 minutes put the game beyond doubt as well as demonstrating what an asset "fatboy" will be to the national side for years to come - his natural pace, agression and "willingness" are second to none.

Just before half-time Vidamar was holding up Jonathan Perry in the box and supposedly tripped him - strangely, Forza had predicted only a few moments earlier "this ref is going to award the New Zealanders a penalty just to even things up". New Zealand's best player, Vaughn Coveney made no mistake from the spot.

The Aussies continued to press home their advantage in the second stanza, the only surprise being that we only managed 2 more goals (Aloisi 57 and Zdrillic 79).

It was a very happy crowd who "rolled home" at full-time, confident of going further than '97.

Roll on November - who cares which South American side we have to play -they should be worried about having to meet us. Get ready, Melbourne - Forza and I are on our way.

To sum up - it was a great day out - the socceroos supplied some fabulous entertainment - supported by a "loud and enthusiastic" crowd despite the inbuilt lack of atmosphere that Stadium Australia usually provides. Well done everyone - players, coaches, support staff, supporters and last but not least caterers and bar staff.

written by Groundskeeper Willie (