World Cup correspondents Greg Horgan & Simon Ainsworth write:
Josh Kennedy may resemble Jesus, but it was
the entire Australian football team who performed one of the best
impersonations of Lazarus the world stage has seen. Australia’s fighting spirit was on show for the entire world to see as we
staged a remarkable fightback to record a 3-1 victory after trailing 1-0 with
only 15 minutes remaining.
If we need to ignite football at a grassroots level for Australia to blossom then this game was definitely the super seed.
Guus Hiddink’s influence cannot be doubted. This is a man who holds no fear. He
is not afraid to throw caution to the wind or tackle a FIFA official so that he
can view a replay of that dubious Japanese goal.
Hiddink surprised many by leaving Tim Cahill on the bench and starting with Luke
Wilkshire. Hindsight is a beautiful thing though and Hiddink now looks the
genius as Cahill hit two goals in the final fifteen minutes when the heat had
sapped the energy out of both teams.
Australia had dominated the match but were trailing by a goal after a dreadful
refereeing blunder – with Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer clearly impeded
by two Japanese players when trying to claim Shunsuke Nakamura’s cross from the
It didn’t matter though. Hiddink sent on Cahill, Kennedy and John Aloisi and
each substitute had a lasting effect on the opening Group F World Cup match.
With Kennedy the cat amongst the pigeons, Cahill was able to find enough
space to score two goals this country will never tire of
celebrating. Aloisi, the penalty hero against Uruguay,
displayed his love for the centre stage by knocking in the third to send
Socceroo fans into ecstasy. In ten minutes Australia
went from early casualty to top of the group (with two goals in goal difference
Australia now faces Brazil on Sunday and Cahill cannot wait. “It’ll be 11 superstars
against 11 ordinary Aussies”, Cahill said.
Man of the match – Tim Cahill. Two goals is hard to go past. Unlucky
not to get MoM – Lucas Neil. Once again hard as a rock. Bon Scott would
be proud. A draw with either Brazil or Croatia and Australia should
make it through.
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