Eliminated but proud...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm not angry. I don't even think I'm upset. Disappointed? Perhaps. A little sad? Sure. But you see, as bandwagon supporters and journalists in Australia and Germany alike express their outrage at the award of a dubious penalty that saw us eliminated from the world cup, I prefer to reflect on our world cup involvement as a whole. Sure - the penalty was questionable and elimination hurt more because of the position of power we were in only a minute prior - but following Francesco Totti's unstoppable strike; after the immediate emotions of loss faded; there lingers a single feeling which I now recognise as pride - pride in being a supporter of the Australian National team; proud to be Australian.

Previously in this blog, during this world cup, I've referred to my feeling that Australia soccer is turning - that things are changing and the metamorphosis is palpable. Australia is not a footballing country. Indeed, many people would not have seen a football game in which they have had any real care as to which team would win. But with national interests on the line, Australia has lived through the full range of footballing emotions - from the ecstasy of a last minute victory in a must win game to the sheer injustice of undeserved elimination; just the smallest of insights as to how a game that 0-0 for 90 minutes can be equally compelling as a 2-2; experienced the unequalled drama, majesty, beauty and gravity of world cup football.

It's a strange feeling when something you've been waiting an eternity for comes and passes, it's code both unexpected and definite. During the previous 3 weeks, the members of Vinny Grella's Mum's Vanny Van Van Van have been riding on a high, fueled by irrational hope that the socceroos would progress and continue to progress. Now, there is a distinct lull in the van mood - tired, ever-hungry, eyeing the holders of Italian flags with both jealousy and resentment. This is a picture of a world cup van that has lost its purpose - echoed by the spanish and dutch vans parked adjacent. The boxing kangaroo, however, continues to fly proudly on the back of Vinny Grella's Mum's Vanny Van Van Van.

Australia's world cup is over - unforgettable and emotional. We'll be back in 4 years. And so, to commemorate Australia's involvement in the 2006 world cup, I outline my Top 5 Australian players of the World Cup.
5. Vinny Grella
4. Craig Moore
3. Scott Chipperfield
2. Brett Emerton
1. Lucas Neill

The trip continues...
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