Australia is a country that was built through adversity and espouses the values of mateship and diversity. When times are tough, Australians roll up their sleeves and give their mates a hand.
In the past fortnight Australians have battled through the tragedy of the Victorian bushfires. It is a tragedy that has seen the loss of so many lives and wiped whole townships from the landscape.
Australians have rallied to lend a hand and provide whatever support they can to those affected by the Victorian bushfires. Australians from all walks of life have rallied to help their mates.
In this context, the Socceroos headed over to Japan for their toughest game of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. The Socceroos went into the game undermanned, missing several key players and having others carrying injuries. The Socceroos went into the game lacking any preparation with several players arriving in Japan on the day of the game. In contrast Japan has been in a training camp for a month.
The game was being played in front a capacity crowd of 65,000 screaming Japanese fans – a game that was sold out in less than an hour of the tickets going on sale – a game that was being played on Japan’s National Day – the equivalent of Australia Day.
Yet, in the face of a hostile environment and against the odds, the Socceroos put in a backs to the wall performance to to come away from the game with a crucial point that almost guarantees their ultimate prize – qualification for the 2010 World Cup finals.
It was not a great game to watch for a neutral. But for a true blue Aussie fan the performance was a demonstration of Australian grit and determination. All 11 players put in and there were no bludgers.
The Socceroos dedicated their performance to the Victorian bushfire victims. The Socceroos donned black armbands for the match. The Japanese side did likewise. The Socceroos donated all of their match payments to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. The Football Federation of Australia added a further $100,000 to the appeal. While the 65,000 Japanese fans did their best to sing their team to victory they also did their best to dig into their pockets and donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
Yet, even when humanity is at its best, there are those cockroaches that crawl out of the cupboard seeking the unsavory. One such cockroach is the aptly named Adelaide Advertiser journalist Geoff Roach.
The Roach decided to enlighten us with his negativity when there was so much that could have been written about the game on Wednesday night.
The Roach starts his article by taking a swipe at football
“it must just be the game itself that bores me . . . well . . . witless” said the Roach.
One wonders if the game bores the Roach so much then why does he bother watching football and why does he waste further time writing about it.
“Week after week, game after game, you watch in despair as midfielders and defenders litter their back half, leaving some poor hapless forward to roam ahead like a demented wood duck hoping to spot a worm” said the Roach.
Once again it is surprising to see the Roach claim that he watches the game, that bores him so much, week after week.
The Roach goes on to criticise the performance of the Socceroos and the tactics of Pim Verbeek. He goes as far as to suggest Verbeek should “suit up Humphrey Bear to act as a frontline diversion”.
“Pim Verbeek’s Socceroos did everything but don suits of armour and erect a 5m brick wall to prevent the pesky little Japanese from scoring a goal in their World Cup qualifier” criticised the Roach. His description of the Japanese team belies the fact that their twin defensive pairing of Tulio and Nakazawa were the tallest players on the field. It is an impolite backhander that may by forgiven if it was uttered by an old-timer in an RSL club but it does not belong in the pages of an Australian newspaper in 2009.
“Sounds like a long, dull winter. Though not nearly as long and boring as 90 minutes of defensive soccer” finishes off the Roach.
At a time when there is so much adversity, at a time when both Australians and our international friends are rallying to support their Aussie mates, Geoff Roach has inappropriately chosen to attempt to light the old fires of division and sink his boot into the wog ball game. Sorry Geoff Roach, but that is so 1970’s and is simply un-Australian!
We are proud of the performance of our Socceroos and the generosity shown by the Socceroos, the Japanese national team, the Japanese fans and the FFA. Further donations to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal can be made here: