Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An All Confederation Affair

The Socceroos of Australia have done it! In a thrilling match, they took out two time Cup winners Uruguay and avenged their defeat from four years ago. Uruguay was up a goal coming into the match, but Mark Bresciano tied it up for the men from down under in the 35th. Although there was plenty of action over the next 85 minutes, no balls found their way into the back of the net. So with the series tied at 1 a piece, it all came down to penalty kicks.

This was the moment in the sun for Australia's goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. Australia went first and Harry Kewell connected. It was then time for Schwarzer to do his thing, as he was able to stop Dario Rodriguez shot giving Australia an advantage. Both sides made their next two shots. The fourth round of shots saw Mark Viduka miss for the home side, setting up a situation where Marcelo Zalayeta could tie it for Uruguay. Zalayeta stepped up, fired and Schwarzer dove in the right direction. He was just able to get a hand on it and knock it away (pictured). Crowd goes crazy. It was time for the fifth round. If John Aloisi made it, his team would be heading to Germany. Aloisi takes the run up, kicks and lands the ball right in the back of the net. Australia win! After 32 years, Australia is going to a World Cup.

Australia now gets to prepare for the Cup as the lone representative from the Oceanian Confederation. I might be wrong with this, but I think this is the first time since 1982 that an Oceanian team has gone to the finals (I believe New Zealand went that year - mental note, fact check this later). It will be interesting to see what Coach Guus Hiddink can do with this side after having so much success with South Korea in 2002.

Congratulations to Australia.


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