There's plenty for Australia fans to cheer about 12 months out from the World Cup.
There were two amazing performances during the Socceroos comeback win over Japan at MCG last night.
Pim Verbeek put aside his pragmatic nature and serenaded the country with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem that caused tears of laughter to run down my face.
The second great performance was of course super Tim Cahill two goals. But first let’s examine the dulcet less tone performance of the maestro Verbeek.
Right after the Socceroos arrived at the airport after achieving qualification against Qatar the ever friendly Sydney media along with Ben Buckley, Pim Verbeek, Frank Lowy, Lucas Neil, Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarz were ushered into a room for a press conference.
At the press conference Goal.com asked Pim Verbeek if he would sing the national anthem as that is a deal he made once the Socceroos had qualified for the World Cup. With Frank Lowy sitting next to him cracking a large smile which then turned into laughter, I waited for a response, but as luck would have it the press conference was cruelly cut short and no answer was given.
After the press conference Goal .com reporter Chris Paraskevas congratulated Pim Verbeek on World Cup qualification, the friendly Dutchman thanked Chris and then spent time signing autographs from fans and posing for photos. Goal .com again asked if he would sing the national anthem in Sydney.
He responded with a “maybe”
Then as the aspiring Travolta left the media and fans walked towards the airport exit with his wife, Verbeek turned back to Goal.com and said something in the direction of Chris and I. Unfortunately we couldn’t hear what he said clearly as he had walked some distance, the Dutch accent also contrived to make what Pim was saying inaudible.
After hearing Pim Verbeek sing the national anthem on Fox Sports before the game I think back at that moment and entertain the possibility that perhaps Pim Veerbek gave Goal.com a few bars of the national anthem or maybe he was just talking to someone else.
Tim Cahill the PFA player of the year the man who has so many history creating titles in Australian football to his name reminded everyone if anyone had really forgotten that he is the man!
Australia has no greater example of a superstar, a world class football player and an all round top bloke,
He is a scientist of scoring, inventing ways to sneak in behind, leap above opponents and time his runs and appearances in the box to perfection.
Tim Cahill already has painted one World Cup masterpiece and in South Africa in one year’s time I cannot wait to see what he will unveil.
I think we have not seen the best of Tim Cahill for Australia. At the last World Cup in Germany he was not fully fit and you have to wonder what a fit Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and Brett Emerton will do once let loose on the African continent.
There was some great work from the players around him especially Nicky Carle I saw him score a volley from outside the box when he debuted for Sydney Olympic as 15 year old in his first ever professional football game.
A great ball by another ex Sydney Olympic player Jason Culina to tee up Carle for a shot just gave the fans and watching coaches a taste of what Carle offers to the team.
His involvement, hard work and combinations with his team mates will impress Pim if he keeps on performing like that. He has only been on the park for 98 minutes during this qualification series but it has been full energy, creativity and hard work.
All Nick Carle has to do is sing from the same song sheet as Pim “hum us a few bars” Verbeek and he will be in South Africa.
Jason Culina has run further than anyone in the Socceroos squad during this qualifying campaign and I bet he backs up for another 90 minutes for Gold Coast United when the play against the North Queensland Fury next week.
Josh Jesus Kennedy has had many blasphemous puns and innuendos attributed to his goal scoring feats but the football God’s forgive such deeds when the striker has such as good record and has been a big part of the Socceroos success. Our Jesus has had no striking disciples next to him; Jesus has been doing it most of the time solo without a wingman or sidekick to lessen the load.
Lucas Neil has been solid if not spectacular; he looked motivated against Japan that sneaky backing towards the goal to head away a Japanese free kick will go some way in erasing the bad vibes some fans felt after he missed the Bahrain game with the “yellow gate” card confession.
Special mention to Mark Schwarzer who had gone from instilling a sense of fear into the average fan every time there was a high ball floated into the box to the outstanding keeper we watch now.
He is the keeper of the clean sheets and while you really can’t say he is safe as bank in these harsh financial times any more he is the rock at back for the Socceroos.
Good to see a big crowd at the MCG for the game, it was no surprise really as The Socceroos- Japan rivalry is building quite nicely. For all the jokes about bleak city Melbournians can teach Sydney folk a thing or two about community.
Bring on the World Cup in South Africa, I never get tired of saying it, I will never get tired of thinking about it or talking about it. I can’t wait to walk around South Africa in a year’s time yelling out TIA (This is Africa) everywhere I go.