Crikey’s Anthony
Stavrinos got amongst it with the “Green and Gold Army” at the historic
World Cup qualifier and followed Australia’s celebrations back at the team
hotel before checking out how Sydneysiders on the streets were embracing
football’s biggest achievement here in 32 years:

  • The tension in the player
    tunnel almost spilled over before the match kicked-off last night. FFA officials were heard
    discussing some intimidation tactics used by the Uruguay
    players as they lined up side-by-side with the Socceroos just before entering
    the arena. Apparently the Uruguayans began to bounce to psych themselves up,
    smashing though and into the Australian players in what was described as a
    “bodyslam” action. The situation threatened to escalate into a brawl before
    being brought under control by officials.

  • Numerous banners around the
    stadium and even the post match presentation, hosted by SBS
    senior reporter Mike Tomalaris, featured tributes to the late Johnny Warren, a
    respected TV football analysts and former Socceroo captain and lifetime devotee of the sport in Australia.

  • The after-match celebration
    back at the Socceroos’ Parramatta hotel didn’t get too rowdy, but players, officials and media
    relished the opportunity to hit the bar to celebrate. The highlight of the
    gathering was a replay of the SBS coverage on a cinema-sized screen and last
    night’s hero, Mark Schwarzer, cheered by everyone in the room as they watched
    his two brilliant, match-winning saves. “It still hasn’t sunk in,” Schwarzer
    admitted. But with saturated coverage of the feat across radio, TV, newspapers
    and the internet, that might not take long.

  • Calls flooded into talkback
    radio programs into the early hours of the morning, most expressed joy over the
    long-awaited World Cup Finals qualification, but some criticised a section of
    Australian fans for whistling during the Uruguayan national anthem. But in a post match
    interview distributed by the FFA
    , Schwarzer swung behind the fans, saying
    that it was justified because “they gave us a lot of stick over in Montevideo”
    four years ago and this time round again. “The public really got behind us and
    gave them back some of their own medicine,” he said.

  • Yellow and green jerseys were
    seen filing in and out of Darlinghurst all-hours drinking hole, The Judgement
    Bar, right up until 6am, with rowdy groups featuring coloured-wigs and bright clothing –
    that weren’t drag queens, but football fans – making their way down Oxford
    Street. Car horns were still beeping in celebration in the notorious red-light
    district of Kings Cross until 7am.

  • In what could be yet another
    example of Johnny Warren’s affect in last night’s outcome, SBS’s specialist TV
    prankster John Safran noted that Warren’s book Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters claimed the Socceroos had a
    curse placed on them at the end of November, 1969, when they were in Mozambique and playing against Rhodesia
    (now Zimbabwe). Warren wrote that they went to a witchdoctor who placed a curse on the
    opposing team but the Aussies won then left the country without paying the
    witchdoctor, who then placed a curse on them. In a recent instalment of his
    series, John Safran Vs God, Safran tracked down the witchdoctor and paid the fee
    to enable the curse to be lifted. This involved an elaborate ritual with
    chickens, Safran being sprayed with blood and other unsavoury details. Looks
    like it worked.

  • The directing talents of former
    Number 96 soap star Harry Michaels kept viewers glued to the screen in SBS’s
    four-hour plus live coverage of the event. The match was covered by 21 cameras
    including two perched on cranes behind the goals, which Michaels reports worked
    flawlessly.

  • The
    fanatical “Green and Gold Army” were asked to observe a strict hydration
    itinerary leading up to last night’s match. It began at midday at Pyrmont’s
    Deep Oyster and Crustacean Bar, then at 2pm they gathered at Covent Garden Hotel in Haymarket,
    moving on at 4pm to Central
    Station’s Railway Bar. At 5pm they caught the train for Telstra Stadium, meeting
    at Homebush Bay Brewery at 5.30pm, then soon after into the stadium where
    refreshments were also available as a reward for the long wait in queues to be
    served.