Tag Archives: lucas neill

Tall Poppy Syndrome

I’ve got it, and I’m sorry but I’ve been itching to say this since the beginning of the Asian Cup, and it’s that….

THE SOCCEROOS ARE ABSOLUTE CRAP!

I’m sorry Lucas, but you really didn’t help, did you? What with being mediocre most of the time and getting sent off and then finally missing that penalty!

As one friend said to me, the Socceroos may look hot running around in those shorts but sometimes plain hotness just doesn’t cut it. Of course, I can side with everyone else and say that the coach was crap, but really he didn’t have the experience, didn’t have a clue, and it’s now plain to see that the team needs a great coach to get anywhere.

Bring on the new coach now!

Love is in the air

On a cold July day, our hero with the pearly-whites (I want the name of his dentist) returned to a raptuous greeting when he appeared on a (rather schlocky) Aussie breakfast programme.

The return

Nothing schlocky about him though. Schoolgirls (young and old and not necessarily female) united to greet their man. Some were more star-struck than others.

Enamoured

And love was definitely in the air.

I will always love you

At the end of the day…

What a long, sad day it’s been. I really, really need to get all my emotions out because as my workmates and those on the message board could testify, I was very upset by the result of this morning’s game against Italy. The result may be the same as a week ago against Brazil – a defeat – but the emotions it evoked was the antithesis of last week’s match.

My overwhelming response for the day was that we were robbed – robbed by a penalty that should never have been, robbed by a team who were very far from models of fair play.

Yes, Italy has skill and experience. Yes, both teams were hungry for a win, but in a fair world the Italians would have gone for a win by fair means – a goal, or in the worse case, the penalty shootout. But obviously it was not to be and the fair team lost.

And at the centre of all this is, unbelievably, Lucas Neill. He fell, Grosso rolled over the top of him and it was all over. I really, really feel for him. His expression of disbelief and anguish said it all.

Injustice

That it happened to him of all people was too cruel. He had, in my humble opinion and the opinion of many others more knowledgeable than me, been Australia’s player of the tournament, who had before the penalty been the man pacifying the best attackers in football.

It may sound stupid, but I feel the overwhelming need to console him, but what can I do? What can I do to console a team who had worked their hearts out, who had been truly inspiring? The only thing to do is to support them in my own little way. Support the Socceroos when they compete in the Asian Cup (which I’m sure they’ll do brilliantly in), support the individuals as they play for their clubs.

I’ve learned today just how cruel sport can be, but despite the obvious injustices in the game the Socceroos truly embodied how football is meant to be played – with enthusiasm and hunger, with skill that entertains, with fairness and great team spirit. Were we naïve to go in with this attitude? Perhaps, but it’s teams like Australia that keep the game vital and exciting, and unfortunately it’s teams like Italy that kill it.

We may have to work harder than other nations to succeed, and there’s certainly plenty of work to be done on all levels, but what Guus Hiddink had shown us in 11 short months was that we’re not useless, in fact, we’re not behind at all. Success is possible, and what greater achievement could there be in world sport than to show the world that success and fair play can go hand-in-hand in football?

So you might have guessed that I had gone through all 5 stages of grief in the last 24 hours, and in the last 2 weeks experienced all the highs and lows that come from passionately following a team, my national football team. In the end there was a lot to be proud of – the team’s tenacity, their truly attractive brand of play, their positively infectious attitude, and their graciousness in defeat.

All of the above qualities were displayed by all of the team, but particularly in Lucas Neill. Although you very well know that it was not his talent that first attracted me, it’s his talent and sense of self that won out in the end. He is no doubt a gifted and intelligent player, but he is also a leader and the perfect role model for a sport professional – competitive, fair and humble.

I hope that he goes back to Blackburn spurned and not disheartened. I hope that he will soon go to a big team like Barcelona, that he will one day captain the Socceroos, so he can show the world just what he and Australian football is really made of. Recognition has already started and finally the world as well as Australia knows that football is strong and here to stay.

So thank you Lucas, thank you Socceroos, and thank you Guus for showing Australia the way.

Guus shows us the way

Act 3: Croatia and beyond

It’s days like these that makes me very proud. When sport transcends and really empowers (as corny as it sounds) a nation.

The game itself wasn’t pretty but like the last two, it was a cliffhanger that made me in turn – lunge for the mute button/scream my lungs out in frustration/scream out in ecstacy – all this before the sun and the fog had even lifted!

Harry’s goal and before that, Craig Moore’s strength in taking the penalty, were brilliant moments.

But more moving was the spirit of resilience and determination in which they played the game. Yes, the commentators, journalists as well as other fans have waxed lyrical about it today, but for me this was up there with the Olympics in terms of the pride I felt for the team and what they had achieved. And I wasn’t alone.

The public were overjoyed and proud.

And it was obvious that the players were too.

Yes, I did post that pic for a (pretty obvious) reason. But our man was again unbelievably good today as well as being unbelievably hot. You’ve earned your nickname, Lucas!

So with the help of a few friends I’ve set up a mini fan site for Mr. Hottie, who will no longer languish in the backline!

Bring on Italy!!

Act 2: Brazil vs Australia

Faaaaar out! Now that was a crackin’ good match! Well done boys!!

After my Shakespearean analogy for Japan, Datadude likened the Brazil match to Waiting For Godot… except that this Godot came along. Sigh…

Still, given that I had visions of an Argentina-Serbia style whitewash before the game, 2-0 against those boys ain’t bad at all. Technically-speaking, some of the performances were absolutely inspired. Who would have thought we could have produced a goal-less first half?

Have to mention one key performance though. How about our Mr. Hottie? Still card-free and made some brilliant saves and tackles. And doesn’t he look lovely in dark-blue? 🙂

My favourite moment has to be…

Lucas Neill does his thing against Ronaldo

… When Lucas made an excellent challenge on an ailing Ronaldo, leaving him sprawled on the ground dazed and confused (as if he wasn’t before). Mind you, the Round One did move a little more than in the previous match and created a goal. But when you’ve got a bench loaded with talent like Brazil’s the coach would be bonkers to pick him again.

Swapping shirts with the Brazillians

Unfortunately Mr. Hottie didn’t take Ronaldinho’s example… baaaah!!!!!

Olé!

Yes, yes, I neglected my blog for months and then what do I write about? Football. But I can’t help it ‘cos I’m genuinely excited that the World Cup (Copa Mundial, Coupe de Monde, Copa do Mundo, Warudo Kuppu etc.) is finally here. Yipeeee!

Here come the TV all-nighters and bleary-eyed mornings. Here comes the edge-of-your-seat tension, the irrational screaming, the waking up your flatmates at 3 am – and that’s just when the Socceroos play! I won’t just be watching those games, ‘cos although like most people I also believe that Brazil will come up trumps, there’s still a lot more to enjoy. Actual skill is secondary when you have…

The style…

Djibril Cisse

… and glamour.

Davo Beckham

(Well, Becks did define the word ‘metrosexual’)

The Oscar-winning performances.

Rivaldos faker

The (hmmm) men… more on this later.

One thing about the Socceroos is that unlike Australia’s other national teams (noticeably our rugby and cricket teams) we aren’t totally devoid of hot guys. Some friends brought this man to attention, who we decided to call “Mr World Cup 2006 Six-Pack Hottie”.

Lucas Neill

His real name is Lucas Neill, but that’s beside the point.

Now, I would love to see my national team actually win a game (progressing to the next round may be beyond us), and I do like watching them play, but this just makes the lack of sleep a little more worth it, you know?