Thursday, 20 September 2007

Off to the quarter finals

83rd min: Lots of swearing, holding of head in hands.

92nd min: Arms raisied in air. Lots of shouting and running around in front of the TV.

Congratulations must go to the Matildas as they became the first Australian senior team to make it to the quarter finals of a World Cup. However, they certainly gave us a rollercoaster ride in a game that had echoes of the Socceroos' match against Croatia just over twelve months ago, but without any yellow card incidents. After going down a goal to a 32 second Canadian strike it was great to see the girls dominate the rest of the half and create a lot of chances, some of them that should have been taken. The Canadians were playing a very physical game on the counter attack after taking the lead and it was playing into the hands of the Matildas. My concern was that at stage that we were playing too many long balls and not making use of our speed.

Collette McCallum then scored a cracker of a free kick early in the second half and I thought we would go on with the game from here as the Canadians looked shot. But to their credit the Canadians changed their game plan as we looked to forget ours as we wasted possession after possession. When the Canadians took the lead in the 83rd minute I thought that our wasted chances were coming back to haunt us and that our World Cup was over. But in the 92nd minute when all looked lost, a piece of individual brilliance from De Vanna in the penalty area that lead to the Salisbury goal had me leaping around my lounge room with my arms in the air. I am not sure what the neighbours would have thought as they heard my shouts of joy - unless they were watching the game as well.

Looking forward to the next game - a quarter final match against Brazil. The Matildas will have to play a full 90 minutes of quality football because if they drop off the pace like they did against Canada they will be punished by the complete football team that is Brazil. Brazil have in their ranks, Marta, FIFA player of the year, who is in great goal scoring form and will be one of many dangers for the Australians. It will be a tough game for the Matildas but I am sure they are up for it.

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