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Japan: Time for Heroes


Talk about greater T.V revenue and marketing opportunities all you like, there is one reason Australia joined the Asian Football Confederacy, and it is for moments like this. Asia will get us to World Cup’s more consistantly, and probably just as important for long term interest in our sacred sport is moments like these, hige games about huge rivals. Pre-2006 this could have been another fixture. But cue some laughable refereeing that day exactly 6 years ago, and then, unexpectedly, so dramatically and gloriously, the boot of Tim Cahill struck. That moment for the second goal when the ball struck one post, collided against the other and rolled in the net is one that will live with me and the rest of Australia forever. From it stems a blossoming rivalry in the international game, and one made more intense by the recent Asian Cup final, as well as the defection of promising A-League players to the more lucrative (and probably better) J-League. There is bitterness, but not hatred between us just yet. The Socceroos and Japan will do battle twice more in the near future, and one of these fixtures looms large.

I Can think of no better venue than Suncorp Stadium. As someone born in Melbourne, the Sporting Capital of Australia would also seem fitting, but the impressive Suncorp, while an equally fitting home to the wonderful sporting clubs Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Reds, is more importantly the home of Brisbane Roar. Doubts remain over their immediate future as title challengers after Postecolgue’s departure, but the free flowing pass and move cultured game developed over the last few years does not draw huge crowds, nor will it see international recognition anytime soon. But it offers a yardstick, a measure of progress of quality football that seemed on the horizon, but the far horizon after the A-Leagues inception, shortly before the 2006 World Cup. The development of Soccer does not get the credit it deserves, and some aspects are rightly still panned by domestic and foreign critics alike.

Yet t The latest target of the media’s beady eye is our fair Socceroos themselves, fresh off a turgid performance in Denmark, and a credible if not entirely satisfactory draw in sweltering Oman. Like always, doubts have emerged over the age of the team, and more worryingly, the quality or lack of it. Japan have it in spades. Kagawa, Honda, Lee, Nagatomo, Endo. Some experience in top quality leagues, and international silverware to boot. And for that reason will be favorites. Lucas Neill himself said he regards them as favorites, and Osieck is tight-lipped over any team matter. In all honesty all logic says we should fear for the tired, jet-lagged legs and the dimming of Tim Cahill so he is no longer guaranteed to start, and i fear he absence of someone with that bit of magic like Tommy Oar or Dario Vidosic. Tomorrow is no ordinary game, and it shows. Call me sad or deluded, but game-day is never to be feared, but to be embraced. Maybe I do not embrace every game. I miss the games taking place at some unearthly hour in a remote Asian country, and even turned off games halfway through. Yet when you play a team with the class of Japan, there is no doubt where i will be on match day, the image on my TV more a mental battle and challenge of endurance rather than entertainment, screaming and praying for a group of 11 men to pull together and  run about for 90 minutes. There is no chore in supporting a team, and it’s amazing how deep you find your fandom runs when running scared of the team you are playing.

My point is this. The bitching and whining going on about the Socceroos should be put aside for a a moment, to witness a game of football that could decide our world cup qualification. Win, and it’s hard to see any other team matching us, lose, and the qualifying spots are up for grabs for an Oman or a Bahrain (probably not Jordan) and the unthinkable thought of another World Cup without the Green and Gold, while remaining unlikely, seems possible. Japan will fight hard and fight skillfully. They have talent we simply don’t appear to possess. But like that day in 2006, if the team binds together, the bounce favours us and someone hits the net again, the worries many have over the collapse of the Socceroos above the weary legs of washed up 30-somethings will be gone, and we can concentrate on going forward again. Japan are a team I personally relish us taking on, and provided the team does too, there’s no reason why we can’t win and light Suncorp up.

Hope for another hero, or even better, the same one.

More Australia News

Denmark vs Socceroos: Liveblog

June 2nd, 2012 | By: Jack | Comments Comments(0)

Denmark 2, Agger (pen 31) ; Socceroos 0
90: Two minutes added, but i literally have nothing left to say. A disappointing evening for another time.
75′ Something the commentators brought up earlier that is worth a thought is that this could have been very much a dmage limitation performance before Oman. Might explain why North was tried out and ... [read more]

Hitting Denmark Without Holman and Kennedy

May 28th, 2012 | By: Jack | Comments Comments(0)

(And Valeri….moving on)
Competitive Socceroos action has eluded us for a whole 3 Months since the rather heart-stopping game against Saudi Arabia, but now huge fixtures loom: A warm up in chilly Denmark this Saturday, before stopping off in Oman for the 8th, then Japan looms large in Brisbane on the 12th. So usual fun with working out the bleeding time ... [read more]

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February 10th, 2012 | By: Jack | Comments Comments(0)

I don’t like looking back on this tournament. What oh so nearly was, yet wasn’t. I’m sure David Carney feels the same.

Anyway, a review of the last 12 months seems in order.
The Good:

It was only a friendly so it doesn’t count. If you think this, you are German. What matters here is that we, Australia, triumphed over one of the ... [read more]

One Way To Kill The Mood

November 13th, 2011 | By: Jack | Comments Comments(0)

Let’s not mince words here. There was so much wrong with the Socceroos. Off and on the pitch there were far too many mistakes. It wasn’t good, we’ve taken a step backwards, but it is not crisis time.
Far from it. Oman aren’t exactly Holland or Brazil, but they have a very capable manager in Paul Le Guen, who managed Lyon ... [read more]

The Formal Friendlies: Oman + Thailand

November 3rd, 2011 | By: Jack | Comments Comments(0)

The rather tediously predictable  first Round of World Cup qualifying reaches the exciting bit now, or the bit where we get a ‘Q’ by our names when the qualifying groups get shown on Fox or whatever.  3 Wins out of three gives us room for massive massive slip up and to still qualify for the next stage. I said last ... [read more]

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