Friday, June 23, 2006

Over the moon

I feel as if we have won the World Cup.

A pulsating 2-2 draw that we definately deserved send us through and sets up a mouthwatering last 16 match against the blue Azzurri.

Aussie Guus Hiddink would definately be knighted if we still gave away those honours but for a little while last night I thought he might have been lynched for his strange decision to swap goalkeeping duties from Mark Schwarzer for AC Milan reserve Zeljko Kalac.

Schwarzer hasn't had the best tournament so far but to change goalkeepers in the middle of the tournament is one hell of a strange decision.

As for Kalac, he is the reserve keeper for Milan and has only played a few games this season and against Greece a few weeks ago (it seems like eons ago) he didn't look too great.

Last night though was a nadir. Can't really blame him for Croatia's first goal from a beautifully taken free kick after two minutes but the second one was something he will be replaying in his head for a damn long time. It was a long range effort from Croatia and it should have been a regulation take. Instead it bobbled out of his arms and dribbled into the goal.

I thought it was all over but Harry Kewell luckily got an equaliser not long after.

At 2-2 with just a few minutes left we should have been shutting them out but then Kalac almost gave us another heart attack when he meekly threw the ball to a Croatian forward. Luckily the defence cleaned it up.

The referee Graham Poll will almost definately be going home after an absolutely inept performance. Our first penalty was a correct decision: handball by Tomas. But where was he when Viduka was rugby tackled in the box or when Tomas rose above the pack to knock the ball out with his hand... again.

Then we had the farce of the Australian-born defender Josip Simunic being given three, yes three, yellow cards before he was finally given his marching orders by Poll.

We got one decision our way though as Kewell was offside when he scored the equaliser.

If anyone thinks I'm biased about my thoughts on Poll's performance just check out this article in the Guardian. A snippet:

"England's footballers may not have yet made their mark on this year's World Cup but last night Graham Poll, the country's sole referee in Germany, certainly did with a performance that may go down as one of the most error-strewn in the tournament's history."

Onto some positives, finally.

The Socceroos went for it. They played for the win and controlled vast portions of the match. All they have to do is get in a few more shots from just outside the box. In some ways they played like they did against Japan, as if they wanted to walk the ball into the goal. "Have a go ya mug".

Once again it was a full 90 minutes performance. This was a physically (and mentally) draining match but the Aussies didn't let up. The spirit on display was real, it was the sort of stuff that us Aussies are used to from out cricket and rugby players but last night the round ball boys proved that they too are made from granite.

As I said before, I'm over the moon. Italy next up and no doubt we will be off to the Red Lion Club again.

Many many thanks are in order for the Red Lion Club boys (Rob and Peter) for letting us watch the Croatia - Australia match and keeping the club open for an extra hour (it was not possible to watch the match on Turkish television, the rights holder Kanal 1 decided to show the other match between Japan and Brazil... idiots).

Many many thanks also to Vedat for keeping me well supplied in the Efes department.

But in all my joy I also had a tinge of sadness for our own Zagreb Kanka watching the match from a hot tub in the Croatian capital. In fact, Zagreb Kanka was the main gossip item of the night. You are becoming a legend in Ankara my dear Zagreb Kanka. By the way, Smart Arse Yankee Kanka was supporting your lot, but was smart enough to actually wear an Aussie shirt so as not to get beaten up.

Now on to the next round. Can we beat Italy? Anything is possible but I think I'm actually going to try and learn the words to our national anthem, they seem to be playing it quite a bit at the moment.

PHOTOCAPTION: Kewell celebrates after scoring the late equaliser. (photo nicked from the SMH).


  1. Anonymous9:05 pm

    Go Aussies!

    What a bummer that Kanal 1 showed the Brazil-Japan match instead of the more exciting, more even, more relevant Socceroo-Croatia game. Oh well, at least they will show the game this Monday night.

    Go Aussies!

  2. We got to watch it live thanks to the great people at the British embassy.

  3. but where oh where is sir eski reliable turncoat dangerous sexy knees kanka when you need a comment from him and who oh who will he support here on in?????

  4. by the way every time I open your bog there are "pop up" windows etc. do you have a virus?????

  5. Dear Gulay,
    No virus from this end. What is it that pops up? Is it something from the poll thing. I'd advise changing to Firefox browser and turning pop ups off.

    As for Sir Eski Kanka, he should be back in Ankara today I think. Although I don't think I'm looking forward to the pictures of him in a kilt

  6. I got a popup thingy too- something about 'Attention forex investors'

  7. Oh, and I'm using firefox with just about every pop-up blocking tool known to humankind; it didn't come up in a separate window, just appeared on top of the blog text.

  8. Anonymous12:31 pm

    Hey my dear Oz, where is my Eski Kanka? I just wake up since I came late last night!

    He promised me a birthday present! :-(

    I hope he didn't forget about me.

    How are you all there in Turkey?

    I didn't had much time yesterday to put comments. But today I have. My Croatians in your team were excellent, except :-) Željko Kalač who were obviously supporting Croatian team. :-) But don't take that agaist him.

    I am sorry that judge wasn't fair towards you! All Croatian newspapers crucified Kranjčar and Tomas for this game and also that judge was on our side and that wasn't fair at all. All Croatians cover yesterday were saying that we didn't deserve better! After we scored that first goal, they played awful.

    You know what, it is not good to have a birthday, day after the most important game were your team lost that game! Believe on that!

    Hugs and kisses from your green eyed Zagreb Kankie

  9. Anonymous12:34 pm

    Ohh something else,..., Stjepan Tomas and Marko Viduka were so funny chasing each other over Pletikosa. We all laughed during the game. That was hilarious!!!!

    And when Kranjčar jumped on that "poor" guy standing next to him. :-) That was so funny!

  10. All this pop up thing is very strange. It can't be my computer as the site is based on blogspot. So unless they have been affected I would guess it is actually you guys who have a virus or a trojan or something.

    For example, I'm not getting pop ups at all.

  11. Greetings Kankas and congratulations to Oz Kanka for believing in his team.

    Commiserations to Zagreb Kankie (and yours truly). I am sure all the Croatian players are disappointed in their performances over the 3 matches they played.

    With so much talent in the team it is sad that they under-achieved. However, all credit to the Aussies for their `never say die` approach to all their matches.

    To answer Gulay Kankie's question, I am definitely going to support the Aussies. Hope that is not going to be the `kiss of death` ???!!!

    Will soon have Sexy Knees's photos on the blog - patience is a virtue !!

    All the best from `back in Ankara` Eski Kanka Jim

  12. Anonymous5:39 pm

    Oz Kanks,

    The pop-ups probably come from the Mini Poll script (or your stats counter if you have one). Remove this and I'm fairly certain the pop-ups will go.

    There is no Red Lion bar in Mersin so I could not see the game!