Sport Football Today it gets real, we are dreaming of silverware

Today it gets real, we are dreaming of silverware

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Just win it.

That is the overwhelming sentiment of Australian football fans waking up this morning.

We have been fortunate to enjoy a number of World Cup finals expeditions without much more than the joy of participating and hoping to surprise.

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Today it gets real. We are dreaming of silverware.

For all the heroics of Kaiserslautern, the triumph in Nelspruit and the wonder goal in Porto Alegre, nothing would compere to lifting the AFC Asian Cup tonight.

The Socceroos are just one game win away from claiming their first serious trophy.

It promises be the most excruciating 90 minutes ( or more!) of football a generation of true believers has experienced.

Standing in the way of glory is a South Korean team with an impregnable defence and a resolute conviction to end its own 55-year-old drought in this competition.

Tonight’s final sets football’s two most compelling forces on a collision course – defence and attack.

Under German coach Uli Steilike, South Korea have reconstructed a team ravaged at The World Cup in Brazil.

At its core is a commitment to uncompromising defence.

Stielike’s team is yet to concede a goal in the tournament. Over five games and 480 minutes of football it has put a premium on blanking the most enterprising of opponents.

This included its shutout of the Socceroos in Brisbane in their Group A encounter earlier in the tournament.

That night the Socceroos created numerous chances but were unable to grasp any of them.

Kim Young Gwon and Ki Sung Yueng celebrate a goal against Iraq.
Kim Young Gwon and Ki Sung Yueng celebrate a goal against Iraq. Photo: Getty

In contrast, South Korea was able to profit from one moment of distraction in Australia’s defence.

Postecoglou’s mean will need to have learnt the lesson.

There can be no switching off.

Finals are decided by the moments that make up the whole. The great teams put a premium on every single one of them. Postecoglou’s men will need to do likewise.

The Socceroos are the tournament’s highest scoring team, having netted 12 times in 5 games. With 10 individual scorers they are ambitious and unpredictable.

Their philosophy is they would rather die on their feet than live on their knees.

Ange Postecoglou is unashamedly determined to build an Australian brand of football that reflects the national character.

Never take a backward step.

A football evangelist, he understands that if they are true to their creed and lose tomorrow night they will still have done more to enhance the game by playing with ambition rather than pragmatism.

The coach sees this as part of his mission to integrate the game in to the national character. Come what may, he wants this Socceroos to be the team we would all want to be in.

Not everyone shares Postecoglou’s idealism.

Many football hardheads, schooled in the the University of one-nil heartbreak subscribe to the ethos of “any mean necessary”.

Winning is understandably everything when losing becomes routine.

It is all set up for Postecoglou’s team tonight.

At home in front of over 80,000 Socceroos fans, the energy in the stadium will mirror that which willed Guus Hiddink’s Socceroos to triumph over Uruguay in 2005.

Of course, this guarantees nothing.

However, if the Socceroos are to ever reach the summit of the game and grasp one of its treasures surely it is right here, right now.

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