So close and yet so far.
The Australian Football team the 'Socceroos' are out of the World Cup. After making the World Cup finals for the second time, 32 years since our last trip to the finals. We are out at the round of 16 in the most tragic of situations.
The Italians lost a man in the second half to a red card. Australia controlled the play, had more shots on goal. But it was in the last seconds of the match a penalty was given to Azzuri.
Now that penalty was cruel and unusual punishment. Football (roundball as I call it) is a cruel game and it just doesn't cut it with the Australian sense of fair play. In the Australian psyche its just not right when you control a match and dominate so much and still loose. The jumpers on the bandwagon will jump off again, but maybe they'll be few who will stay on the roundball bandwagon. Play it, enjoy it, and encourage others to play it.
No other Australian football code has something like the World Cup. Sure Rugby Union and Cricket have world cups and the cricket one is huge, but nothing is as huge as the Football World Cup. It binds a country in a way no other sporting event can. I have heard people say that they have felt more Australian since watching the Socceroos. And these people are true blue 6th and 7th generation Australians of English decent.
Personally in the little country theatre that I watched Australia's games, I have never felt more connected with a group of people as Australians before. Nationalisim is dangerous, but you can have pride in the endevours of your country-men and women in a way that makes you proud to be from where they are from. To know that you too were born in the same country as those who are running around giving it to the likes of Brazil, Croatia, Japan, and Italy. And not just fighting hard to make the grade but actually equaling them or even playing better.
Thanks Guss and the Socceroos for a fantastic ride. The adventure was great while it lasted. It had to end sometime, but why did it have to end like this?