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Published: June 22nd 2010
The moment had arrived. The Vuvuzelas had been going off from the beginning. The opening night had finished and at last it was Australia’s turn to show the world how we play football. This was the beginning of our run to become world Cup champions. (?)
It started off with missing our flight from Cape Town to Durban by 2 minutes. All flights booked out we had to divert to Durban via Johannesburg. So 6 hours after we were suppose to be there, we got there. I met up with Jared and Danielle two other friends from home. It turned out the accommodation they set up was with a bloke I worked with behind the bar at my local pub 10 years earlier. What a small world that was.
On the flight to Durban we met these Germans who were all smug. Nothing is worse than a smug German football supporter. Especially when it turns out they are right. We had prior drinks at North Beach where long island ice teas were 8 for 120ZAR (about $20). I’m sure it wasn’t the drinks but the vibe was buzzing.
All concerns were forgotten. Even though Australia were one of
the top 5 most supported teams for this world Cup. I didn’t care anymore that FIFA only provided on mass the worlds top 10 teams merchandise. I didn’t care because I was about to see Australia produce one of the biggest upsets at a World Cup.
The Durban Stadium was impressive, the noise was electric. The turnstiles are vicious throughout South Africa, they really attack the groin. So as I went through the turnstile careful of not damaging my groin I looked up and I saw my fellow wing ¾ teammate from the all-conquering Under 17’s Parramatta Junior district Rugby League team.
I lost my group so I could take photos but eventually looked down from my seat on the top tier and see predominantly green and gold. Budweiser’s in hand there is 20 mins to go. I point out to my mates that I will go crazy if we score, watch out.
The players come out to a drained out cheer. Instead the sound of tuneless honking of the African Vuvuzela. At times it can spoil a moment. But not tonight this is the first game of the World Cup. What a privilege this is! The
National Anthem is passionately sung and I think that we can win this on our day. But realistically 0-0 draw I would be happy with. I also had a fear before I left Australia that we could get pumped every game but that thought had gone especially after 3.5mins.
Than we looked like shit 1-0 (still we can draw) than 2-0 and it’s starting to look like real shit. (Lets minimise the damage until half time.) 2-0 at Half time than a handball not picked up by the ref, it could have been 2-1. Than our best player Cahill is sent off. (World Cup is over.) Than 3-0 this is shit. Than a training run goal, 4-0. What the hell, its time to blame the coach.
What sort of tactics was he thinking with no striker but a striker that plays winger for a team just relegated from the Premier League but was on the bench all the time. Than the thought of other positional stuff ups like Culina. Than the heartless defence and the give up attitude it was a national disgrace. I said at the time - I feel like Saudi Arabia at the moment. (They
lost 8-0 to Germany 8 years earlier.) What a horrible moment in my life. The vuvuzelas were starting to piss me off.
I wasn’t the only pissed off Australian. But this is the worse case scenario. Basically it rules out for and against and our only hope for goals it seems is not playing the next game. It was such a depressing experience that we went home. Alcohol would not be able to fix this feeling.
Why did I even bother coming here I thought as we walked to the bus but than we saw Ken Sutcliffe the Channel 9 sports reporting legend. Ken was all pumped up from what reports later suggested, a scuffle with his Channel 7 opposition. The former male model from Mudgee was trying to close his report for the evening news but he was copping it from the only respite from fans on a horrible night in Durban.
After doing some humorous takes for his audience he told his cameraman to tell the Germans to piss off. My mate Jared said “Do you want me to beat them up for you Ken?” My mate Michael said “Don’t worry Ken we can still
make it with 2 straight wins.” He replies back “Mmaaaaaatttttteeeee.” Ken’s given up it seemed.
One of his takes was “… But there are two positives to come out of this game…” He stumped himself. We all go, “What? What are the positives Ken? Where are they?” His second last take was asking for answers. We reply “THAT’S IT KEN THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE! THAT’S WHY THEY PAY YOU THE BIG MONEY!”
His final sign off was “And to all those Australians who have travelled thousands of miles just to hang around and give me shit… (Middle finger rises) Up Yours!”
What a moment to be able to laugh with a group of countrymen and women after a horrible, horrible experience. It took a few days to recover and a few days to start dreaming again.
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