The first game against A League opposition was played on Tuesday night against fellow newbies, North Queensland Fury. GCU won the match 2-0.
It was not a very convincing start but I thought there were many positives to take away.
Our Central defenders , Bas Van der Brink and Michael Thwaite were very solid. I think Bas will be a bit of a cult figure among the GCU fans as the season progresses.
We played against New Caledonia in Noumea last night and came away with a 5-0 win. It was only 1-0 at half time and apparently could have been 1-1 if not for Jess van Stratten who had his first hit out for GCU.
We are off to Hong Kong and Singapore this week before returning to the Coast for a friendly against EPL side Fulham FC. This will pit Jason Culina against his Socceroo team mate, Mark Schwarzer. It should be a cracker of a night.
I am excited about an EPL side just playing here on the coast. It will also be the first hitout for the GCU Home End.
There has been little in the way of organising any Supporters group with the exception of Clive Pickering who tried in vein earlier in the year to get the ball rolling.
We now have an opportunity to kickstart the process. My next post will be about the Supporters Club/Group.
With qualification in the bag we were down to our last group game for the qualification process. And it was against perhaps our biggest rival in Asia, Japan. The Blue Samurai had also qualified and some pundits were wondering whether there was anything in the match
I would say that the pride of both nations was on the line, for the players as well as the fans. Both managers had hard decisions to make regarding the make up of the starting teams. In the end Australia still sent out a very strong side along with some new blood and the re-emergence of Nicky Carle to the starting line up, which pleased many. Whilst Nicky had a solid game and did not do anything wrong, he also fell short of some of the hype generated by some journalists.
After going down a goal prior to half time, it took K-Town hero, “Super Tim” to level the slate and then WIN the game. I think the Blue Samurai nightmares came flooding back at this point.
FOR THE FANS
I was in the crowd on Wednesday night and had a fantastic time. Mid winter, freezing cold, mid week and a dead rubber, but the fans turned out and just shy of 70,000 people enjoyed a great night in Melbourne. The GGA organised a meet up at The Corner Hotel in Richmond and we all had a great time catching up.
Muz, a Newcastle boy and GGA Nutter came up with a great banner that was displayed at the end of the match along the fence. Says it all really.
Some of the chants were great. “You only sing when you’re whaling”, “10 Kamikaze’s in the air”. It is a great atmosphere in the home end at Aussie matches these days, despite the efforts of some twats to stir up interstate rivalries (perhaps the topic of another post).
For me it was just great catching up with a group of people I met in Germany and have kept in contact with ever since. For me, that is the real benefit of following the Socceroos.
Australia will be a fantastic venue for the FIFA World Cup, whether that be in 2018 or 2022. I personally think that England’s will get 2018, but we are in a great position to get 2022.
What is not to like about Australia? We have some of the best tourist destinations in the World. We have proved without a doubt that we can host the biggest events the world has to offer. And we are one of the safest destinations on the planet.
So come on people, get behind our bid, join up and show your support.
Last Wednesday was party time in Sydney. It was not the best game and the crowd was fairly poor. There has been plenty written about the game itself.
The best part for me was catching up with all my fellow Socceroo fans. It is the biggest benefit for me, making so many friends with like minded people. We started at the Lowenbrau in the Rocks for some lunch. Have a go at the platter here.
We took away the leftovers in a doggy bag and had a snack on the train on our way to the match.
We are off to Melbourne on Wednesday morning for our last qualifier against Japan. This is for bragging rights as we have both qualified. Will need to look at Asian Cup Qualifications now to work out when we will next get together for a few beers and pork knuckle.
With Qatar and Qualification out of the road, the boys landed in Sydney today to prepare for our next assignment against Bahrain on Wednesday Night.
No Let Up
I don’t expect any let up from the players this Wednesday. Although we have qualified I feel we will want the psychological edge over arch rivals Japan. I certainly do as a fan. I think only injury’s will keep Pim from fielding the same side he did on Sunday morning.
This Wednesday will give us Aussies, who could not get to Qatar, a chance to party and celebrate our Qualification for the greatest sporting event on earth. I will fly to Sydney with my wife to join in the festivities, and am looking forward to celebrating with my GGA friends.
It started out against Qatar on Feb 6, 2008 in Melbourne. We won 3-0 that night. In the early hours of this morning, we again faced Qatar in Doha this time. The 4th time during this WC campaign. We settled for a 0-0 score and with that, “QUALIFICATION” For South Africa 2010.
It was not all that pretty, and the Qatari’s certainly came out swinging. They took the fight to us and gave us the toughest match against them yet.
Nothing to do with Rod Stewart, and everything to do with the Socceroos. 1 point from this match and we are off to South Africa, guaranteed.
It brings back memories of November 16, 2005 for me. Although I will not be in Doha tonight, I will be in my lounge room at 2am tomorrow morning (after a nanna nap) to cheer the boys on. And when it happens I will more than likely wake up my household and possibly my neighbors.
There has been much written about Pim since he took the reigns. Most people had never heard of him at first then a great deal of the media and some fans have been highly critical of the way we have played during qualification.
We are top of the group
We have 4 wins and 1 draw, zero losses
Zero goals against
We need 1 point from the next 9 on offer to qualify
It beggars belief that people could be unhappy with this. Many managers and countries would be ecstatic at this position. 4 years ago we were looking to qualify for the first time in 32 years, and only the second time in our history. I for one am extremely happy at our position, and am extremely happy with Pim as our manager.
You could hear in the players voices this week, their frustration at the Australian Media who continue to snipe at Pim and his style. They are very defensive of Pim and of how they have played thus far. It is great to see the players back their manager to the hilt. I also like how Pim backs himself and is no puppet of the media. he tells it like it is and does not back down from his style.
There is no doubt that our players are capable of playing a more technical style and perhaps scoring more goals. However, Pim’s brief is to “QUALIFY” our team for the World Cup. He is 1 point away from that.
We will qualify either tonight or on Wednesday night against Bahrain in Sydney, either way, Pim has done his job.
His next mission will be to prepare our team to play in South Africa and get to the next round or even the Quarter Finals. How ever he does this, he has my 100% backing.