A gripping yarn of revenge, adversity and against the odds triumph. But which script would play out? Con Stamocostas takes a look at the final act in the Socceroos' Asian Cup drama.
Socceroos 2015 Destiny Part 2
So it’s Destiny Part Two when the Socceroos take on South Korea at in the Asian Cup final at Stadium Australia on Saturday night.
Destiny Part One was in 2005 when the Socceroos qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years.
Destiny Part Two 2015 might not be as historic (sequel’s rarely ever are better except for Godfather Two and Terminator Two) but it will have its own history.
The Socceroos will look to overtake the Golden Generation of 2006 (who won our hearts and minds with the way they qualified for, and played, in the 2006 World Cup) by beating the Taeguk Warriors to lift the Asian Cup.
In the process, Ange Postecoglou and Generation Next can win the Socceroos their first proper piece of football silverware.
Sure, Australia has lifted four Oceania Championship trophies – which are being used as vases in Frank Lowy’s FFA office – but isn’t it time Australian football was proud of an achievement?
The dust is being wiped from the Socceroos’ bare trophy cabinet by Nutmeg the Wombat and the 2015 Asian Cup Mascot has been told to make that trophy cabinet spotless.
I arrived late to the quarter final game at Stadium Australia between the UAE and Japan and missed the Emiratis early breakaway goal.
When I finally got inside the stadium the UAE, although showing some quality, were doing their best to desperately defend their early lead.
Meanwhile the Samurai Blue went to water time and again when they got inside the UAE six yard box.
UAE beating the Japanese in a penalty shootout was the best result for Australia. The Socceroos were fresh with the additional day to rest and prepare for the semi-final in Newcastle.
The UAE were spent after their Japan victory – their only hope an early goal and to defend for their lives.
But it was the Socceroos who got the early goals, and at 2-0 the game was over. Apparently 2-0 is not such a dangerous score line after all.
Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan didn’t have to make a save, Massimo Luongo didn’t really do much and he still got man of the match. Super Timmy Cahill was subbed and took an opportunity to rest before the final.
Not even the Sideshow Bob of UAE football, Omar Abdulrahman, and his brother SideShow Cecil Mohamed Abdulrahman, could do anything to penetrate the Socceroos’ defence.
There were no clenched bum cheeks and no squeaky bum time in this game. It was smooth sailing.
On a sidenote is Trent Sainsbury the Socceroos man of the tournament? Given his debut against Belgium just last year he is a gun, can pass the ball, is quick on his feet and is composed.
Throw out the script!
So the scriptwriters of the tournament wanted a Socceroos vs Japan Asian Cup final, but they had to throw that draft out after the Socceroos lost to South Korea in the third group game.
So back to work the scriptwriters went and delivered a second draft even more compelling.
They came back with a revenge story. The Socceroos would take on Iran and redress the 1997 heartbreak which saw Australia miss out on the World Cup again.
But that draft was thrown out as well after Aussie referee Ben Williams beat Team Melli in the quarter final.
So it’s to the third and final draft. The Socceroos will face South Korea on Saturday Night. Both teams deserve to be there and the final will still be a great story.
Attack vs Defence. The Locals vs the Out of Towner’s.
The Taeguk Warriors vs the Socceroos
According to the hipster football fan, North is the best Korea. But what about South Korea?
South Korea has the best nickname in the Asian Cup – the Taeguk Warriors.
According to the keeper of the secrets – Wikipedia – Taegeuk refers to the ultimate reality from which all things and values are derived. It is also the symbol that makes up the centre of the South Korean flag and the source for its name.
It’s a symbol that dates back to the 7th Century. So the Aussies are fighting an ancient people and an ancient idea while the Socceroos have Nutmeg and probably 90% of Stadium Australia in their corner.
The Taeguk Warriors have many dangermen in their team. Eurosnobs will know Ki Sung-yueng who plays for Swansea and Son Heung-min who stars for Bayer Leverkusen, but besides a few Asiaphiles (Scott McIntyre and Tony Tannous I’m talking to you), the rest of the team may have stumped us. That was of course until they beat the Socceroos at the moth-plagued stadium in Brisbane.
Their coach Uli Stielike who is German, and to no one’s surprise is called pragmatic, used to play for Real Madrid and used to be called “The Stopper.” He played for West Germany 42 times and really hasn’t doesn’t done much as a coach except bring South Korea to the brink of Asian Cup glory.
The Socceroos cruised against the UAE but won’t have that luxury against South Korea on Saturday night. They defend like Germans and attack like South Koreans and that means they don’t rely on one player like the UAE and don’t melt in front of goal like Japan.
They have a quality attacker in Son who plays in the same team as Robbie Kruse, mostly keeping the Socceroo out of the first XI.
Lee Jeong-hyeop is another player the Socceroos need to watch, he scored against the Socceroos and is a bit of a find as he plays in South Korea’s second division.
Destiny Part Two the Final Chapter
Ange Postecoglou has brought back the Australian way of playing after the debacle of the Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck eras.
Now he can distinguish himself from the Guus Hiddink era and create his own history with a victory in the final.
And what about if the Socceroos suffer a loss? Well I just checked again and the word loss is not how you spell destiny.
Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Four of his latest A- League Football Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.