I swear I had minor heart attacks every moment it was in our penalty area.
Brilliant. So stoked right now, and glad to hear I wasn't the only person in the neighborhood watching when Aloisi put it away - I heard a lot of cheering from my open window. So glad Dukes' miss wasn't relevant. Like the others, he was outstanding tonight.
My MOTM - Grella. Controlled and dictated the play beautifully.
Schwarzer, I want your babies.
by Adrian Smith
by Eamon Duffy
Another sleepless night ... but for very different reasons. Didn't get home at home until 1 am. If I'd made it earlier I'd have sent a "Yyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssss" message to the list.
Please don't let me wake tomorrow and find it's all a dream.
Ripped the skin off my lips kissing the bristled face of the guy next to me after the second penalty save.
Great fun on the train coming home. Cars driving by the station where we changed trains beeping horns at us. Celebrating with us.
Chap on the train (bloody Liverpool fan, but I'll forgive him that tonight) reckoned there'd be 30,000 at the Sydney game on Saturday. Yep. And it'll be bigger and better from there. Already the TV shows tonight (not just the sports shows) are on the bandwagon.
Hello again to all the listees I met last night. I loves youse all. And Bonnie especially. Thanks comrade. I spent my month's beer budget. but heck, I still have my wine budget with which to celebrate.
Uh oh. I'm going to cry again.
by Stephen Webb
What a game! We won perhaps the hardest way possible (certainly the most stressful) but the result was well deserved. I've seen a lot of games in various sports at Stadium Australia and nothing came close to the atmosphere and tension tonight. The team played fantastically in a very difficult situation. How proud we should all be!
Guus has certainly had the team practicing penalties.......they were taken very definitively. Mark's looked like a bit of a fluff but I think he saw the keeper going the right way and tried to adjust.
And Harry's back!
by Paul McGarry
Felt for Mark Viduka but Harry really became a man last night taking that first penalty after playing the best 90 minutes of his international career in my opinion. Guus must have factored in the extra time knowing he could not last that long. Kewell looked shattered at the end of 120 mins making yet another great run down the left, he just had to hang on and he did! His penalty took guts.
All should now be forgiven him for his many absences over the last few years and we all had great faith in our tremendous keeper, those of us who had been at the Canada game, especially.
It was not until one am hat I got home but a lotlater that I fell asleep.
The former Uruguyans in the crowd, blended in among the sea of yellow, were congratulating their fellow Australians after the game and it was a good feeling to see, now they have another team to support in June and I am sure they will after all that emotion.
The A League will take off now in a big, big way I feel...
by Paul Goodwin
by Joel Gaskell
by Simon Reeves
Lets hope the hype and hysteria continues and this time the game really DOES take off. By the way Bonnie, hope your presentation goes well today! You must be a very brave lady to even attempt it after last night!
Hope you all work hard today! HaHa!
by Ray Sandell
Episode 7 : 11th October 2004. Encouraged by Australian soccer legend Johnny Warren, John travels to Mozambique to lift the thirty year curse on the Australian soccer team... but will he be successful?
Hi joyously happy people.
Even among the rugby, league, aussie rules fans here at work, the only talk this morning is last nights match. All said they enjoyed the game immensely.
Simon Hill, during the commentary, said we were in for a great nights entertainment. I dunno if I would call nervously rocking back and forth, watching through finger-gaps, living every single moment entertainment but it was incredibly compelling stuff.
For me Schwarzer, Neill, Vidmar and Grella were huge.
by Rodney Lock
This victory has to be dedicated to so many people; Frank Arok, Eddie Thomson, The boys of 97, Frank Farina, Rale Rasic, and Johhny Warren.
Can't wait to see the team in Germany, but I don't know what I am going to do if Australia play Portugal.
by Vitor Sobral
Now, I am extremely happy, but also feel completely drained.
by Tony Calder
by Simon Reeves
After such and intense ands gruelling 3 hours I was amazed how exhausted and drained i felt, and it appeared that most others were in a similar situation.
One other highlight was seeing a 'dirty old man' try to work his way into the ladies conveniences
by Rui Melo
Words are inadequate to express how I feel. Suffice to say that the image of John Aloisi sprinting bare-chested down the touchline, twirling his shirt with half a dozen team mates trying to catch up with him will stay with me for the rest of my life.
And all those people who, for so long, have been saying that Australians will never "get" our game or take it to their hearts? They can all just go and get stuffed now.
by Steve Pitman
i just hope now that kewell is played regularly at liverpool and that dukes gets goals for boro. if they do, we will be very hard to beat in GERMANY
by Binesh Mudaliar
Obviously, i was wrong - they have!
And I am absolutley delighted that I was wrong!
I have to say though, that if we were still playing now, I do not think we would have scored a second, and that winning on penalties was I think the only way we were going to get a positive outcome..
Now, at the risk of being labelled a 'name dropper'..a wee story...
Over the years, Mark Schwarzer and I (or probably more accuratley Mark's missus) have kept in touch via email.
The day before the game I emailed his missus in their Harrogate home in Ingerlund and said that I thought it might go to penalties, and that I expected/hoped a goalkeeper could do for Australia what a young goalie had done for them against Canada in 1993....8-)
And so it turned out.
I was at the Domain in Sydney today, to pay my respect to the Socceroos, and am as pleased as anyone that they have qualified.
Let us all savor the moment.
And a personal apology to Lucas Neill, who I doubted could perform adequately in the middle of defence - for me he was our outstanding player in the play offs, and a future captain.
Well done Socceroos......and already the Forza family's holiday plans have been reviewed with Mrs Forza having made the executive decision that Las Vegas gets the flick, and Germany gets scratched in on the destination board in its place.....
by Fred Legget
by Andrew Howe
It was so as it was happening just in front of us. I wondered WTF was going on at the time, but will admit I admired old T and T's concentration on his practice - just fielding little chips from 5 to 10 metres for at least ten minutes during which I didn't see him glance up once at the game which was in an awfully attention suckingly tense phase at that time. OTOH I suppose I was able to see what he was up to so must have looked away a bit myself.
[in reference to the shootout] Actually I did watch (Eric knows how) but I was hiding up the back and luckily ran into Mark Bowman's dad, Harry, who has suffered even more than I have in the past, and I'd like to think we gave each other a little strength to endure those ultimately ecstatic moments. Sorry about the new jacket Ted. I think my scarf has only just dried out too.
by David Marshall
The night where one slip was death and despair, but the night where in the second half, I saw the best technical and skilful display I have ever seen from an Aussie team.
A day that began with housing old friends, Andre Kruger and David Marshall, in preparation. That continued with new and old faces in the pub beforehand – Don Parkes a highlight.
Not sitting next to my father, but going down to see he and my brother before kickoff as the Johnny Warren memorial was on. In the chaos at the end of the game, missed Dad – my only disappointment- but called him on the way home.
The anxiety of the first half, the excitement of the second half, the destiny of extra time. At the shootout, I had a strange certainty, but couldn't admit it to myself. But Schwarzer had done it before, and so it proved to be.
The partying afterward, both in the ground and later in George St, where it could have been Italy –cars roaming with horns blaring and flags waving, with groups of supporters singing all the way.
Watching the replay in the pub, to the inevitable shootout and victory celebrations all over again.
I got in around 2am. Exhausted, I retired and tried to sleep. But as I closed my eyes, all I could see was a long dark gloomy corridor. It stretched on forever, a prison. Along it were countless games and players, scores of players I'd idolised over 30 years. There was the occasional respite, but the games were all full of frustration, or dreariness, or depression, or some all at once.
I'd never felt it before, but I knew I had been in there for three decades.
Then as sleep got closer, I turned around, and there was an open door with sunlight beyond.
I walked out.
by Mark Bowman
I am no fan of national anthems, they are nationalistic claptrap. In fact I refuse to stand for them, ours or anyone elses.
Who the hell is "shocked", scared or worried in any way by someone booing their national anthem? You do not become an international footballer if you fall to pieces that easily.
I am all for booing everytime the opposition touches the ball, falls, dives etc.
However, I do believe that booing a national anthem shows a lack of respect and a lack of class. It says more about us than it does about them and cannot be justified by Uruguay's previous behaviour.
Just my opinion.
by Rodney Lock
by Ray Gatt
There was silence amongst the passengers - no singing, dancing, flag-waving, jumping, that sort of thing. Quiet conversations amongst friends, but in a subdued sort of way.
I know things were rocking in the city with cars and flags and dancing and stuff, but nix on my carriage (and Tony's).
Embdy else have this experience?
My take on it is firstly that the night drained most of us so we had little else to give for a while, but secondly and more importantly, we've reached the stage in our football connection that getting to a WC is good, but getting there is just the start of the story, not the end.
Either that or the Sydney Train Police have a reputation for ruthlessness, so no-one wanted to play up.
by Alan Clark
Even leaving the ground you could see people weren't singing and going mental.
My mind was willing but having destroyed my voice in the previous 3 hours i just had nothing left.
by Rui Melo
by Ted Mulder
by Ted Mulder
by Cameron Atfield
What was with the chants of the Oz support aimed at those wearing the pale blue - "You are Gay!"?
It's "popularity" is based on it's appearance in a Simpsons episode. Homer is looking at a globe, finds Uruguay and laughs at it's name saying U R Gay.
by Paul McGarry
by David Marshall
I think it was inadvertent, but the sign up at Central station with directions about train services that afternoon had two good misspellings "World Cup Quilifier" and "Australia versus Urugay" I souvenired it and gave it to Andre to add to his collection.
So that's why I got lost!
by Alan Clark
Firstly, it was pretty difficult to assess due to the continuous booing or cheering throughout the game, but I formed the impression that, although I suspect it was just a big ticket event to many people, the crowd in general seemed to know the game. Very much unlike the single experience I had with the Roar. Anyone else feel that?
Secondly, is there something in the Siddeley air? To my clearish recollection all I ate in the two days was a sandwich on the plane, chicken things on a skewer, and a mall spring roll and some yoghurt with Mark and his children, nibbles with Bonita, coffee for Wednesday breakfast (no sugar skimmed milk), a bit of cheese after the game and Muesli with similar milk Thursday breakfast - and yet I have gained 3kg!!. How can this possibly be?
by David Marshall
But the train thing ... Our ride was very eventful. Partly because of the Liverpool supporter who sang on and talked to one and all about booking tickets to Germany and how he wouldn't wash the luck out of his replica shirt ever and showed off his Liverpool socks and his Barcelona (under) shirt (at least he had some taste). He was a pleasant winding down to the eventful night. And I happily enjoined him in cheerful banter. But one very out-of-place toffee nosed Eastern suburbs prat type woman -- seemingly lost heading west with us -- spotting this guy's swarthy complexion, immediatley assumed he was an immigrant or of recent immigrant stock and blamed his lack of decent Australian-ness for booing during the Uruguayan anthem. Real Australians, of tenth generation convict stock such as she, could never do such a thing. Boy, was she on the wrong train! The Liverpool fan did a pretty good job defending his booing in much the same way some listees have, saying it was very necessary and loyally Australian; when the toff looked like she was getting the upper hand I was thinking of contributing to the scene, but one young woman got right up her, pointing out there was no longer a class system in Australia and she was no more Australian or better than anyone else. The toff's male partner was at our end of the vestibule and had been participating in our earlier riffing. He disappeared before his missus was finally skewered. Bet he copped heaps later on. Bloody hell. I'm first generation Australian (Pommie parents); my boy is Australian, but born in Hong Kong -- I dream of him playing for Australia. I didn't think such people (as this she-toff) still existed ... I guess someone must vote for the Howard government -- BUT THEY DON'T LIVE OUT IN OUR FOOTBALLING SUBURBS!
by Stephen Webb
In my defence I will say that when I attended Telstra Stadium it was in the Olympics configuration - the post Olympic's configuration is a significant improvement for football matches.
Also the result goes some way to confirming the theory that the MCG is a poisoned stadium for football!!!!
by Lino Fusco
On a day of many firsts, one other unique experience for me was reading the SMH match report on the way home from the game (5am in the morning) - gave me something to read on the train home.
Was chuffed to hear that at my kids' school, in the good ol' Catholic school tradition, a large notice was displayed all day Thursday "GOD BLESS OUR SOCCEROOS"
Had a pleasant intimate lunch today (Fri) at a media BBQ held by Adelaide United. check out my lunch-buddies in their splendid new strips:
its Friday night and I'm just starting to wind down... I think...
Great to catch up with a heap of you over the past few days. not sure if it gets any better than this, it was a pleasure sharing part of the adventure with you.
May I also add my thanks to Bonnie for everything she has done for our game, including Tuesday's get-together. I just wish I won that fourth lucky door prize (a South Melbourne Hellas match ball wasn't it?)... think I'll pay multiple entry fees next time in a serious attempt to win something then.
by Andrew Howe
However,one incident that affected things was, just outside Strathfield I think, an announcement came over the PA saying the train was delayed indefinately because of an attempted suicide on the tracks ahead.
To which I loudly commented that if it was a certain Mr Hore, I hope the attempt was successful, which raised a peel of laughter, but I immediately regreted saying the words as i imagine it must be traumatic for the driver.
Anyway we were stopped for about 15 minutes which really dampened the mood, and meant I didn't get back to Star City in time to see the players arrive.
A lot of people got off to get taxis or busses but I stayed on as I didn;t have a clue where I was and pissed.
My brother then rang me to say he was partying on at the Olympic Park Novotel where Les Murray,Kerry O'Brien and Barry Cassidy were leading the celebrations. Was I spewing or what.
Anyway, I finally arrived at Star City around 2:30 which was packed with green & gold wearing people, I subsequently met up again with Andrews Howe & Fairburn and lots of others. We were trying to meet up with others so we started ringing people up.
Excuse me Ted Mulder for ringing you so late/early and waking you, but you understand it was the drink and/or the endorphins released by all the euphoria.
I'm going to have to take out a third mortgage just to pay the mobile phone bill !
by Tony d'Alfonso
by Bonita Mersiades
Part of the fascination about Oz Football, has, for me, been the eternal struggle.
Don't get me wrong, it is the best sport and the greatest spectacle, esp at it's peak. It can also, at times, be dire.
We have a long way to go, so the struggle will always be there, but in the last year and esp. in the last week, the sackcloth and ashes have come off.
by Mark Bowman
I have been living in the UK for almost 5 years now and what you write here Mark, definitely rings true with me.
In Aus, I was quite obsessed by football however living in a country where football is the primary sport; I see how some of the love for the game is lost. The sport is served up so much that it can make you feel sick. Just as in Australia, we have the moronic journos that can only write about their own specific game and need to ignore or belittle any other sport. The radio station TalkSport for example should be renamed TalkFootball. As can be demonstrated in any off-season when many non football sporting events are on (eg. Olympics, Ashes, Wimbledon) the best topic for discussion is whether Player X is better than Player Y or what are your clubs chances this year. Pointless, mindless crap that is primarily designed to cater to the lowest common denominator. It just makes it so frustrating and can turn me off the sport.
Don’t get me wrong I still am very much a football fan and I still feel a very strong association with Oz Football but I think some of that love was definitely born out of that "struggle" as you put it. The struggle is what makes following football in Oz sweeter. I guess I must like being disenfranchised. I should probably go and see someone about that. :)
Anyway I am so disappointed that I wasn’t able to see what seems to have been the best week in Oz Football in my lifetime at least. On the bright side however I now have Germany to look forward to next year.
by Stan Borovina
1. The Colour and the Passion
I had arrived at Homebush at 1:30pm as I wanted to make certain I had parking at the Ibis Hotel, 300 metres from the Stadium. From my room on the 5th Floor, I watched fascinated, as groups of fans emerged after each train arrival, invariably bathed in gold. What started like drips from a tap, grew to a swelling torrent of colour as kick-off time drew nearer. By 5:30pm I was beginning to wonder where everyone would fit. There were Socceroo shirts of all vintages, gold T-shirts bearing a whole range of messages and even a few Wallabies tops. John O'Neill had urged supporters to turn out in gold - and over 80% had responded! Close to 1000 mainly young male fans (many members of the Bay 23 Boys, The Fanatics and The Green and Gold Army) carrying Australian flags, the odd blow-up kangaroo and cups of beer, massed and chanted raucously in the packed forecourt of the Homebush Bay Brewery for hours before the game. In the Stadium, the support so wanted by the players grew as the game progressed. From the second half, every Australian attack, freekick or corner saw the crowd rise to their feet, roaring encouragement.
2. The Johnny Warren Tribute
Prior to the game, a video tribute was played to Johnny Warren on the Stadium video screens. Moments after it started the crowd rose to their feet, applauding, and continuing their ovation much as one might see with the passing of a hearse. The piece concluded with the Liverpool Kop anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone!" The crowd joined in and the Stadium turned into an emotional cauldron. Tears came to my eyes at that moment, as they did to many others. Unlike most, I actually knew Johnny: having watched him play for St George Budapest from his debut in the early 1960s in Sydney (my father was Hungarian); playing alongside him in the midfield at Canberra City Old Boys, and then being chosen by him to write and direct 'his' show 'Captain Socceroo' at SBS in 1981. When, not long before he died, he washed himself in mud and water from witchdoctors in Mozambique, to remove the fabled 1969 curse on the team and its qualifying campaigns, I could see in his eyes he was prepared to offer himself in exchange - if that is what it would take. As the penalties began, those of us at the Stadium's southern end, watched a full, golden ball-like moon emerge over the northern goal where the drama unfolded - Johnny was seeing us home!
3. The Anthems
Unlike many, I did not boo the Uruguayan national anthem, though I can forgive those who did. I was at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1974, just prior to our first World Cup, when a Uruguayan player (Rodrigues from memory) karate-chopped our star striker, Ray Baartz. He missed the World Cup Finals and never played top level football again. We all saw the reception our team got in 2001 in Montevideo and heard the jeers and whistles of the Montevideo crowd during our anthem, which was started even before our team had lined up. Uruguay are renowned as the thugs of world football - that night, the crowd and the players stood up to them. Our anthem has rarely if ever been sung by a crowd more passionately.
Truly a genius. In a matter of weeks he transformed a tactically naive and fragmented national side into a cohesive, fighting, unit - that believed in him and themselves. His calm and rock-like exterior and control, was the perfect foil and guide for the player's desperation to qualify.
5. The Players and those Penalties
Bresciano's goal was an early present with many helpers: Kewell's flick back down the sideline to Chipperfield - into Cahill who dummies and turns and slides forward to Viduka - who slips it to the passing Kewell - who misskicks it on to Bresciano - who finishes it magnificently - then stands statuesque like Il Duce expectantly waiting to be engulfed by his celebrating team-mates. Those penalty saves by Schwarzer, separated by the breathtaking miss by Viduka, then the unforgettable sight of Aloisi's success. As he set off, a banner unfurled on the upper edge of the northern end of the stadium, spelling out the (JW) words 'I told you so'!
6. The Images
Many and magnificent: Aloisi turning, finger raised (front page of The Age); the balance of the XI on the half way line at the moment their dream was realised - all about to sprint after John, though Kewell, ever different, raises his arms where he stands (front page SMH)... and so on... FFA must ensure that the many iconic images from the game are mass-produced on posters to hang in those shops that proliferate in malls and that have to date featured relatively inconsequential individuals who play relatively insignificant sports popular amongst those with narrow vision.
7. Celebrations: Euphoria and Peace
As John Aloisi tucked that final penalty away pandemonium erupted. Commentating for SBS (as we all saw later), Craig Foster was heard to blurt out "...Johnny Warren!.." amid screams of delight. Ecstatic spectators hugged and kissed whoever was near them - most likely complete strangers. I did so to a young lady in the row behind who was probably over 18 - and one in the row in front who probably wasn't - though both (who may have sued me had such an encounter occurred in another place and time) were really 'chuffed'! A former Norwegian international (1973) who stood behind me and had threatened, when the penalties began, to give me the biggest hug of my life if we won, made a very good attempt delivering on his promise. A beefy character to my left, who I had cursed under my breath on the three occasions during play, on which he insisted on moving past me to go for a smoko break, suddenly joined with me in mutual embrace! And the Uruguayan supporters?... Well there were about 500 or so of them, but when I looked up, they had vanished faster than celebrations had spread - and were not seen again. They had arrived in arrogance and departed in haste - there was poetic justice in that! Their numbers had been limited by the brilliant decision by FFA management to first allocate tickets to the 'Football Family'. Despite all the passion and emotion of the night, police reported there were absolutely no arrests at the Stadium, or indeed anywhere around the country at the myriad of live sites attended by tens of thousands.
8. Morning TV
Those who managed to wake early witnessed almost unparalleled exuberance on Channel Seven's Sunrise (where Mark Baretta wore a Socceroo shirt and danced with supporters who hadn't yet slept, while David Koch wore a Socceroo scarf) and Channel Nine's Today Show (where the urbane host Karl Stefanovic [?] clearly delighted in the success of a sport he knew well). If nothing else, it pointed out football's increasing grip on the media and the 'uncommitted'. Generations of immigration have resulted in Australian-born descendants with a history of appreciation of the world game. They are now emerging in the media, politics and business and will help transform the country's attitude to and pace of adoption of, our game.
9. The Drip in The Domain
Thousands gathered at The Domain at lunchtime the next day to greet the team. Among the gathered multitude was, unbelievably, a man in dressing gown, with bandaged arms, pushing a drip. Steve Saunders, 43, was recovering from a machete attack and had escaped his nurses in an attempt to meet his heroes - what courage and passion! Unfortunately, his nurses reached him before the team and he was taken, complaining, back to hospital and reality. FFA - get him a signed shirt!!!
10. The Future
The night filled everyone there with hope. It proved that no sport can unite the country like football. It demonstrated that at last we were a genuine player on the world stage. Finally, after so many years (and I have been to 8 of these qualifiers - only missing Scotland in Melbourne in 1985, since seeing the Socceroos play South Korea before a packed Sydney Sportsground in 1973), we have both qualifying success at home and the administrative drive, finances and influence at national level to hopefully capitalise on the remarkable events of Wednesday November 16, 2005. We all look forward to transformational and exciting times ahead!
by Chris Kunz