After a long drive from Durban, well done Ben and Dan, we arrived in Nelspruit at nightfall at the Hippo Water Front Lodge, 10km outside Nelspruit. Dehaan just happened to have tickets to NZ v Italy, so he and I went to that and watched the Kiwis hold on to an impressive 1-1 draw.
Game day on the 25th began with beers over breakfast. We then moved on to the Jock and Java, which was full of about 2,000 Australian fans, crammed in singing songs and smashing beers. Watched the England and US games. There were a couple of Serbian fans cheering when the Yanks won, because they were sure they would beat Australia, then get to play the yanks. How wrong they were!
We arrived at the stadium and made our way through the throng of Australian sports journalists, tried to bonehead a couple of interviews.
The stadium was a mass of green and gold, the anthem was sung with gusto and it looked jsut like an Australian home game. One Serbian made the mistake of taking a dive in front of the Australian crowd. He was booed and jeered relentlessly for the rest of the game
and kept coughing up the ball. The Socceroos did their best to overcome the goal difference from the Germany game, but couldn't quite get there, with only a 2-1 victory.
After the game, the players did a great lap to all the fans, who all stuck around to cheer the team, was a great feeling, despite being out of the tournament.
The Jock and Java pumped until 4am, though it was supposed to close at 11pm, full of Aussies to the death. Best experience I've had at a soccer game. Off the charts.
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