Sport Football Why all hope is not lost for the Socceroos

Why all hope is not lost for the Socceroos

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The way everyone is wincing and rolling their eyes about our chances in Brazil you’d think it was a contest between a grizzly bear and a chicken.

If that were the case my money would be firmly on the bear. I don’t care if the chicken is free-range, corn-fed, a black belt in jujitsu and has been training at high altitude for six months with the spirit of Bruce Lee. That chicken is going to be fricasseed.

It’s a very crude analogy but I’ve had an earful of these expert pessimists sprouting glum predictions every since we got plucked out of the fishbowl.

Could Chile the Netherlands and Spain follow in the slippery footsteps of Steven Bradbury's ill-fated opponents at Salt Lake City? Photo: Getty
Could Chile the Netherlands and Spain follow in the slippery footsteps of Steven Bradbury’s ill-fated opponents at Salt Lake City? Photo: Getty

I’m not convinced it’s going to be quite so brutal out in the Land of the Samba because, not only am I a glass half-full kind of gal (what’s the point of being half-empty?), I’m also very aware of the beautiful unpredictability of sport.

How many experts win the work footy tipping comp? From my experience it’s usually Colin or Trevor from accounts, the vague-eyed ones, the non-watchers – it’s the “I do my tips two weeks in advance” types who sit comfortably on top. (And yes it’s infuriating).

Strange things happen in sport and I’m not talking about the Nigerian soccer score line of 79-nil. No, this has nothing to do with match-fixing, drug-taking or shadiness of any degree, but everything to do with good old-fashioned surprise – the totally unexpected result.

That moment when the seemingly impossible becomes real.

It’s quite something. For people who really love sport, who watch it, talk about it, argue about it, play it, lose sleep over it and who feel it deeply within their being – these moments are intense experiences.

They shouldn’t happen but they do. They defy logic. They stay with us. They make us laugh, cry, scratch our head and throw things at the television. Crazy results are part of the landscape.

It’s sport and anything can happen.

Apolo Anton Ohno, Ahn Hyun-Soo, Li Jiajun and Mathieu Turcotte are all very aware of this fact. And so is the guy who lined up on their outside, Steven Bradbury.

You know how certain you felt as the ‘baddest man on the planet’ boarded a flight to Tokyo to defend his heavyweight crown. It wasn’t a question of will he, it was more a question of which round?

Rank outsiders: Greece's captain Theodoros Zagorakis with the European Cup. Photo: Getty
Rank outsiders: Greece’s captain Theodoros Zagorakis with the 2004 European Cup. Photo: Getty

Iron Mike wasn’t just going to beat him, he was going to punch holes in him and serve him up for breakfast with a slice of melon and a latte. Invincible Iron Mike Tyson, the ferocious wrecking machine who terrorised the division with blistering speed and fearsome power was unbeatable… tell that to journeyman Buster Douglas.

The list of sporting upsets is a very long one – and we’ve all been on the emotional receiving end of a stunning result both good and bad.

That moment when absolute certainty gets thrown a lightening-fast curveball – collective gasps in the room, in the stands, in the in the bars and in the heart of Athens where I was lucky enough to be in 2004 when Greece won the European Cup… where the hell did that come from?

I say bring it on! Let’s throw out the form guide and let’s pray for the moment when the seemingly impossible becomes real. Extra-time header by Cahill, smack bang in the top right-hand side corner, Iker Casillas left rooted to ground, Spanish fans silenced, 1-0 to the Socceroos and into the second round.

I’m going on Ange’s “wild ride”. Join me doomsayers.

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