Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup - and what it means to me ...

Ok, well I am about to head off to see every Australian game (yes, me and my mate got tx!) for the soccer/football World Cup 2006 in Germany and I thought I would recollect the experiences in my life that relate to this, this is a long blog! (well it is covering 20+ years of memories!):
  1. first memory 1982, Buochs, Nidwalden, Switzerland; staying at my Aunt's house, I remember playing soccer with the local Swiss children - everyone wanted to be on the Argentinian team - me included! In conjunction with this, I collected a sticker book with all the teams, and stadiums in which the games were played. I didn't actually watch any of the games (as there was no TV in Warsaw, Poland where I was living at the time, but to those who are interested, here are the details of World Cup in Spain 1982) Not surprising, the next year in 1983 when I returned to Australia, I started playing soccer at school (with some handy skills on the left wing).

  2. second memory 1993, Canberra, Austrlia; the attempt by Australia to qualify for World Cup 1994 in USA. Not a very vivid memory except I do recall that defensive midfielder Paul Wade (Australia's captain of the time) had to tag Diego Maradona! of Argentina (at the time, Australia's opponent to qualify for the World Cup). On aggregate, Australia lost 2-1 - I'm surprised in hindsight that the scores were that close.

  3. third memory - 1997, the one that everyone remembers the second leg of Australia v Iran, Melbourne - the score being 1-1 from the first leg in Iran. Now, I had just finished Honours at the Australian National Univeristy (ANU) and was celebrating with my girlfriend at the time (Naomi) in the region of the NSW coastal town, Batemans Bay. And guess what, there was no SBS (the Australian broadcaster who had the rights) TV coverage in the area!!!! So, I ended up listening to the most important game of Australia's soccer history on the radio. Anyway, all my friends were revelling it up for being the end of the academic year, and at 2-0 (Australia winning), I stopped listening and went and joined them, happy in the knowledge that Australia had made it through to World Cup 1998 in France ... oops! (for the record, Iran made a remarkable comeback to 2-2 and won on the away goals rule).

  4. fourth memory - 1998, Melbourne, Australia; having just moved to Melbourne, to study at the University of Melbourne, a good friend of mine (Adam) invited a couple of classmates to his house in Elsternwick to watch a previously video-taped game from France (I recall it was Brazil v Scotland); those who attended - Adam, Georgia, Simon, Jacinta are still my best mates today - gold!

  5. 2002, Melbourne, MCG, Australia; again at the final qualifier for World Cup 2002 in Japan/South Korea, being at the ground and watching Australia win 1-0 against Uruguay with a penalty - you can imagine the crowd went off! These celebrations were premature - later Australia got thrashed in Montevideo, Uruguay 3-0 in the second leg.

  6. And lastly, 2005, Elwood (random pub), Australia; watching with my touch football team Australia grimly hang to a 1-0 scoreline for the majority of the match, and subsequently winning it on penalties - the pub heaved that night with the celebrations - well briefly at least, as I had to go home and go to work the next morning ;)

So now to the World Cup; if I get a chance to get some internet time, I will post here to my World Cup travel journal!

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