Thursday, 15 June 2006

I wish the World Cup would never end

I stayed up to watch Australia vs Japan on Monday. It was a match with everything: goals, controversy, a moment of individual skill and the hard graft of a team playing as one. The Socceroos ran out rightful winners but they had to wait until the last minutes of the game to do so.

Kris had come over to watch the match and as soon as the final whistle blew he was out the door and off home. Sensible guy, seeing as it was 1am. For Australia the result was huge. Not only their first goals ever scored in the World Cup but their first win also. The fact that it was the highest rates broadcast ever on SBS (the terrestrial channel that is show the tournament) illustrates how interest has spiked over here.

The following morning, standing on the platform, I could spot the commuters who had stayed up to watch Viduka, Cahill & Co. making Australian football history. The hair was a little unkempt and they met your gaze with a glazed stare from their puffy eyes. All the while there was a constant half smile on their face like they still hadn’t come down from the previous night’s high. It was all I could do to keep from giving my fellow stalwarts a thumbs-up as we passed on the trains and trams.

Once I got to the office it was like being back in England, everybody was talking about football and had an opinion:

“How didn’t that Egyptian see it was a foul?”
“They should have played Kewell out wide.”
“That Viduka, great captain but have you seen the size of his head?”

For once I was the proverbial one-eyed man. It was well know that I’d been hyping the tournament to anyone who’d listen for a long time and so I got more visitors to my office in the one morning than I’d had for months. People were taking my predictions as gospel and going away smiling when I told them that “Australia had a chance if they could keep the score low against Brazil and then get a result in the Croatia game.”

I know the water cooler chat will likely return to Aussie Rules and Shane Warne as soon as Jules Rimet finds a new home but until then I’ll continue to enjoy my late nights and new found status as the office Alan Hansen.

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