The atmosphere before the Socceroos-Oman game was a mixture of anticipation and excitement, especially after the positive result over Kuwait.
Talking to some fans outside the stadium there was an expectation of goals and lots of them.
What’s the crowd like?
The sight of thousands of Socceroos fans milling around Stadium Australia pre-game brought back the memories of two of my favourite Sydney Socceroos games .The Uruguay game in 2005 and the Iraq game in 2013. Both games Australia secured World Cup qualification in tight, tense affairs.
The crowd on Tuesday was your typical Sydney football crowd; a mixture of hard core Socceroos fans, your casual football fan, the “I love Australia playing at any sport fan”, the casual sports fan and the unique Sydney animal that is: The theatre goer.
Sorry but I can’t make it
The party I travelled with had their numbers culled. My brother George has just had a baby, he’s not even a month old and Lucas (should have named him Massimo instead!) was being a little shy on Tuesday. So with the game fast approaching my brother all dressed up in his Socceroos jersey and all ready to go to the game couldn’t make it.
The modern father’s role has been extended to assistant midwife. George isn’t going anywhere till that kid’s 18 just quietly.
Another member of our party had to pull because his dog was dying and had to be taken to the vet. (Relax dog lovers he wasn’t dying). You can’t really have a go when it’s a newborn baby but the “I have to take my dog to the vet” two hours before the game excuse is almost asking to be taken the piss of on a blog right?
I really should talk about the game right? What more can you say that what’s already been said.
The Postecoglou Snort
I love what Ange Postecoglou said after the game about how he’s going to handle being favourites. Actually not said but snorted as the media report stated.
“Please mate – I reckon I’ll handle it okay,” snorted Postecoglou.
“I handled people writing us off (I think he’s talking about me). I think I can handle a bit of hype.
“Whether people think we’re favourites (I think he’s talking about me) now or they still think we’re ranked 300 in the world doesn’t make a difference to me.”
At 3-0 up at half time my girlfriend’s six-year-old nephew said: “We are kicking their bony buts!” a direct quote from the movie Ninja Go!
Not long after the half-time break the crowd got bored (kids today and their short attention spans) from watching the Aussies cruise in the second half and the crowd started a Mexican wave (I participated while looking at my phone).
Here are some questions I asked myself before and during the game?
Was the beach ball that was being slapped around the crowd that hit my friend Michael in the face too small to be the token sporting event beach ball?
The answer was a mighty YES!
How many unbelievable diving first slip saves will Aussie goalkeeper Maty Ryan do in this tournament?
No answer for that one it was a rhetorical question. But to answer it anyway, it seems like his average is two a game.
Would the rain hold out?
The weather people and their predicting the weather scam said there would be 70 per cent of rain at 8pm. The rain did come down teasing the night with its dropy drops during the first half. Some of those drops were threatening like a tall oversized 12-year-old bully, torturing the short fat ginger kid. But again the weather people got it wrong and it was a beautiful climate change inspired balmy evening in Sydney yet again.
When would be the first time wasting incident?
The answer to that one is the 10th minute. I must say it’s a different type of game with tournament play compared to qualifiers. The time wasting isn’t as incessant and the Socceroos seem to play better in tournaments than during qualifiers and friendly games. I probably should keep that in mind when I’m slagging them off in the future after a 0-0 friendly game in the Middle East.
Was the scorer of the first Socceroos goal Matt McKay a hall monitor at school?
The answer is obviously yes! He’s the only in the Socceroos team that tucks in his shirt. He looks like he would relish that role.
Can we see more of the Man Boy and Penguin combo please?
For those that are confused I’m talking the Massimo Luongo to Robbie Kruse pass that was the Socceroos third goal.
When Robbie Kruse jogs even though he looks like a man boy he runs like an old woman, maybe that is why they describe his running style as deceptive pace. The boy Luongo’s through ball was impressive but not as impressive as his 25th minute pirouette when he danced through the Oman defence and started another Socceroos attack. Luongo may look like Penguin but he moves like a ballerina.
Does Mathew Leckie have a Chocolate Leg?
Yes but who cares! Mathew Leckie may have a weak left foot and what the Dutch call a Chocolate Leg (not sure why maybe they mean because it’s weak and hollow) but his carbon copy of that audacious cross from the outside of his the foot that he gave to Nathan Burns in the game first game was also a peach of a cross for Tomi Juric and the Socceroos fourth goal. Both the skill to execute cross and the goal were sublime.
With a crowd of over 50,000 in Sydney why was opening game only played at a 29000 seat capacity stadium in Melbourne?
Without checking properly AFC regulations stipulate that playing football on oval grounds like the two alternative stadiums the MCG and the Docklands in Melbourne are not suitable. It’s a shame as the opening game of the Asian Cup and the Socceroos deserved a much bigger crowd.
We can see you sneaking out!
Five minutes from the end of the game some Rugby fans (I know they were Rugby fans because they had Rugby tops on. Who does that? It’s Socceroos Blasphemy I tells ya!) tried to make an inconspicuous escape but the funny bastards behind us who were hilarious all game with their football banter, especially their serious stance of being Mexican wave deniers chanted “We can see you, we can see you, we can see you sneaking out”. An oldie but a goodie.
Kuwait and Oman are no Chile and Holland aren’t they? I don’t mean to be a spoil-sport but I thought I’d quickly chuck that line in for the sake of perspective.
The Socceroos gave the Omanis a 4-0 thrashing. The experts said it would be a tougher test than the Kuwait game. But the experts were wrong. Oman were impersonating statues at times during the game. Watching the Socceroos play a competitive game at Stadium Australia with my butt cheeks not being clenched was a novel experience.
Toot toot! All aboard the Socceroos band wagon. In Ange the snorter we trust!
Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Four of his latest A- League Football Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.