What a performance the Socceroos put in against Holland – the team that had already given the reigning world champions a 5-1 drubbing in their previous game. It really made you proud to be Australian didn’t it?
OK, Aus lost the game 3-2, but those of us who watched it (and that seems to be pretty much everyone) couldn’t have failed to be impressed by the way the team played and of course by that absolute wondergoal by Tim Cahill. It was one of the greatest goals ever scored by any player in the whole history of the World Cup – and will surely be the best scored in this particular tournament?
Anyway, the Socceroos are on the flight home despite their endeavours. It can only leave us all with a feeling of “what if?”
What if we’d been drawn in a slightly easier group, for example? Instead, we had to play three of the absolute powerhouses of international football whilst in Group C we would have had to go up against Colombia, the Ivory Coast, Japan and/or Greece. And given the way the Socceroos fared against the Dutch, you’d have to think we’d have made it through to the knockout phase if we’d had an even slightly easier group.
Or what if one of the two clear cut chances we had against the Dutch to go three-one up had hit the back of the net, and what if Mat Ryan had managed to turn the long shot from Holland’s Depay around the post as he would have done 99 times out of a hundred?
As it turned out, though, the 20 year-old winger Depay, who plays his club football at PSV Eindhoven, decided the game with his curling a shot just beyond Mat Ryan’s reach to effectively decide the Socceroos’ fate.
The Dutch, meanwhile, have now come all the way in to 10-1 with Betfair to win the competition, having been over twice that price a week ago.
So we live to fight another day and another World Cup in Russia 2018 – but sadly it probably will be without our star player Tim Cahill. Tim is now considered a veteran at the grand old age of 34 and has been a great servant to his country’s soccer team.
In the meantime, take comfort from the fact that we still lead the world at Aussie Rules Football, Rugby League, a whole load of swimming distances and we’re up there when it comes to cricket, Rugby Union and many other sports.
So maybe we’ll be able to add soccer to the list in Russia in four years’ time?