Before I launch into a rather long "Frank Farina's Green and Gold Army Official Match Report" I'd like to thank Bonnie for all the effort she puts in to keeping us all informed and for the hospitality shown by herself and the team in Glasgow.
Sorry for the length.
For those of you who have been understandably captivated by the enthralling spectacle we know as the Rugby League World Cup ;) you may not realise Australia just played a football match against Scotland in Glasgow.
Following our trip to the Czech Republic, Frank Farina's Green and Gold Army (England Branch), or for the uninitiated, Peter Thorpe, Kingston Arthur and myself, travelled to Glasgow to watch the match.
The plan was to meet up with Bonnie in Glasgow to introduce ourselves, however fog thicker than my porridge delayed our flight for 5 hours. Prematch nerves were calmed by a couple of pints while we waited for the fog to clear. We arrived in Glasgow with enough time to pick up the tickets, grab a hamburger , discuss the match with our cabbie who predicted a 3-1 win for Scotland, and make it to the game. Warning: Glasgow chippies think a hamburger is a slice of meat dipped in batter and deep fried!!!!
Once there we finally met Bonnie and Andrew Fairburn and settled into our seats during a rendition of what sounds like the worlds single most depressing national anthem "Oh flower of Scotland...... " a couple of the players almost slit their wrists. I can hear the whirl of the fishing reel now :)
Onto the match: From kickoff I must admit it was hard to figure out who were the home team. Australia prevented Scotland from taking any initiative in midfield and Okon was IMO superb. He barely wasted a ball, protected the back four, and played some pretty incisive passes right from the start. Everytime Tiatto, Lazaridis or Emerton came forward the Scottish defence looked absolutely clueless. Emertons goal, what a moment, to paraphrase one of the papers he sent the ball from right foot to left and back to right, sending the defender out of exit 49 for a loaf of bread before sliding the ball into the back of the net. Row J leapt to their feet. 0-1.
I thought we pretty much controlled the first half except for a brief period before half time when Schwarzer made a great save, I think with his legs. I am writing this from memory but I think Poppovic also made one great tackle near the edge of the 18 yard box. I was also pleasantly suprised by how Zdrillic played. His running looked good and he shielded the ball well. Lazaridis hit the crossbar with a nice free kick.
Half time and I raced up and got V-Bomber to sign the back of our match tickets. Had a quick chat about the 4 he put past LFC (my team over here). I must admit he was very approachable and seemed quite happy to talk. He was also extremely friendly to the load of (younger) kids who were swarming around.
Second half saw the introduction of Matt Elliot as Brown tried to strengthen a fragile looking back 4. Emerton continued to cause problems, Okon and Skoko still dominated, Murphy looked suprisingly good, Schwarzer had time for a sleep. The second goal arrived via a good cross from Muscat. Hendry arriving in the penalty box 5 minutes too late left Zdrillic to head in our second. Wild delirium in the stand (well our couple of seats anyway). Knowing a 2 goal lead may not be enough we all remained on the edge of our seats. Full time was one of the best moments I've had at any match. Brilliant!
The Scotts really looked like they didn't have a clue. Exhibit A: The entrance of Hendry to the match.
We were pretty impressed with our teams performance. We held the ball well, slowed the game when necessary, and it was particularly nice to see the team pass and move so brilliantly. It is hard to pick a player who didn't perform (in green and gold that is).
Following the match we headed off to the Glasgow Moat House and sampled a few beers. Spoke to a couple of the players, Hayden Foxe still has no work permit, discussed the Strikers final with Kasey Wehrman, photos with Paul Okon and V-Bomber (sorry Josip). Finally got to bed at around 3am. A great night to be supporting the national side.
Plenty was written about what a bad game Scotland had. I think this is a little rough. They couldn't play because - we didn't let them. I've heard excuses like "it was a friendly", "too many games" etc all of which apply equally to our players. We were better prepared, technically superior indvidually, and we proved it on the night. To their credit the Scottish fans we spoke to after the game were full of praise for our side.
You shoulda been there :)
Still getting that tingly feeling writing this