Monday, June 26, 2006

The bookies favor the Italians, however this is the world cup. Italy survived round one, but not convincing. Australia surprised everybody. Guus Hiddink, the Dutch coach for Australia, is taking the dream down under.
“Australia fears nothing, they are on a roller coaster ride," says the commentator, while Australia makes the first play. Australia crosses the ball high and deep to the right post. An Australian striker chips the ball, with his head, into the Italian goalkeeper. Australia needs to strike harder.
Italy demonstrates in the third minute. They cross the ball high and deep to the right post, of the Australian target. An Italian striker runs and dives, sticking his head out for the ball.
"Headed just wide," shouts the commentator.
Australia demands possession, and circles around the Italian defense. Italy counters fast over the right, and create potentially lethal plays. They give Australia space to come forward, teasing the Australian offense. Italy moves in his defensive shell, lurking for the surprise counter.
In the Nineteenth minute, the Italians break out through the middle. An Italian striker beats the offside ambush, and receives a high pass from the halfway line. He is eight meter in front of the target, and the Australian keeper. Instead of taking a shot, he heads the ball back, setting up a strike for his teammate. He fires the ball at the target. The Australian keeper jumps, and his fingertips flick the ball over the crossbar.

"The pace picks up," says the commentator, while Italy sets up another shot. This time the goalkeeper dives to the wrong corner. However, his feet catch the ball and Australia holds on.
In the twenty-third minute, Australia tests the Italian keeper. An Australian striker receives the ball close to the Italian's right post. He heads the ball towards the grass, in the direction of the goal. The ball bounces of the pitch into the keepers hands.
"Excellent effort by Australia," says the commentator.
Minutes later the Aussies nearly capitalize on a rebound of the Italian keeper, who recovers the ball in a second attempt. Australia is putting up a fight and Italy does not seem to figure out how to handle it. The Italians tear up the Australia defense, but their bad aim saves the Aussies. Australia holds of the Italians until halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, the referee decides to heat up a cooling game. He rewards a free kick to Australia, one meter outside the penalty box. To put salt on the Italian wound, he pulls out a red card for the foul.
"He was not the last defender, that is only a yellow," shouts the commentator.
I think the ref, by mistake, pulled the wrong card out of his pocket. Nevertheless, Italy now plays with ten men.
Australia is a little timid with the extra man advantage, however they take command of the game.
Whole Australia is holding their breath while their team threatens to beat the Italians. Guus, the Dutch coach for the Aussies, does it again.
An Australia striker has to much confidence, he tries to bicycle-kick the ball into the Italian net. He misses the ball by inches, it could have been Australia's moment of the century.

In Sydney, they already started on the fire works. They have not won yet, but everybody believes wholehearted in the Australian world cup dream.
Second before the end of stoppage time, an Italian striker dribbles past two defenders in the Australian box. He passes the ball to far ahead, so he dives. He fools the referee, who points to the penalty spot.
Suddenly, Australia dream is hanging from a thin wire. The party is choked, Totti takes the penalty and scores.


The referee blows his whistle directly after the penalty. Italy plays in the quarterfinals. A traumatized Australia goes home. Still, not bad for Guus Hiddink, he was the last Dutch man standing.