As the game approached, aided by a couple of beers, I was not too nervous. Well, not nearly as nervous as the qualification game in Sydey against Uruguay. But as we filed into the stadium, as my deodorent was binned by the stadium security as a potential projectile hazard and as we took our seats, the excitement grew and a realisation as to what was actually about to occur hit home
. And I don't think I ever really realised what it meant to me until tears involuntarily welled up during the national anthem and a lifetime of heartbreak melted waway, surrounded by 20000 australians who had lived the same moments as me. The next 90 minutes are both a blur and exceptionally vivid; they went so quickly yet for eternity; they took through despair, utter outrage, pure and unadulterated ecstasty, exhaustion, reflection and sadness. There are few other moments in life where you live on pure irrational hope like being 1-0 down with 5 minutes to play in a football match. Hope, luck, God, whatever, rarely devliers. That's what makes it so special. When a nation has been waiting 32 years for a game, it makes it infinitely remarkable. And let me tell you, after Tim Cahill's 2nd strike, it was pandemonium. Pure fucking pandemonium. And the elation, shared with best friends and strangers alike, was amongst the greatest moments in memory. After Aloisi slotted the 3rd goal, the celebrations were once again silly and continued until stadium stewards kicked us out 1 hour after the finish of the match. see uploaded video. The tide of Australian football is turning - you can feel it. It's fucking turning. And might I add, and you would have heard this through your TV back homem the aussie crowd dominated. We were fucking awesome. An integral part was Roo the inflatble Kangaroo. The game was an unforgettable and priceless experience. Well, at least worth the 100 eurothat Kieran and Snags paid for scalped tickets
The day following the game was a tale of hangover. Not the alcoholic type, but one borne out of emotional exhaustion, constant screaming, singing and excessive celebration. That's right - no massive boozefest for us. Everyone was dead. That's not to say that there was no party. The 20000 other Australians had a fair go. But the night before the game was bigger, the town having been turned into an honorary Australian town. Gold shirts, flag capes and kangaroos were mandatory dress as Kaiserslautern was dominated by a sea of gold. Brilliant. Kaiserslautern - an average town which I will never forget.
And so, to the top 5. Well, this is a football based entry. Therefore, I forward a football based top 5. And it will be straightforward. Top 5 moments of the Australia v Japan game.
5. The loudest C'mon aussie C'mon chant ever heard in the entire world. Coherent and brilliant. Aussie supporters were exceptional.
4. John Aloisi goal. Australia 3 - Japan 1. Great move. Everyone thought he was going onto his left. CLinical finish.
3. Advance Australia Fair. Overcome with emotion.
2. Tim Cahill goal. Australia 1 - Japan 1. We've got a point. We needed to win, but a point keeps our hopes alive. Can we pinch another? No. Surely...
1. Tim Cahill goal. Australia 2 - Japan 1. You all saw it. No words to describe...
The road trip continues...
My mind still can't form coherent thoughts. At present, I'm living on pure adrenalin, ecstasy and excitement borne from one of the most incredible moments ever. By now, you will all be familiar with the socceroos exploits on the finest afternoon in the history of Kaiserslautern and perhaps Germany. Thus, I will spare you the details of the 3-1 victory over Japan which has left Australia at the top of Grouop F in the 2006 World cup. I will, hwoever, take you on a journey from inside the stadium and before.