We've got guusbumps

For my non-Australian readers, Australia just qualified for the next round of the FIFA World Cup, for the first time ever. Australia has never been a footballing (soccering?) nation but the Socceroos are now our national obsession and heroes. Every conversation includes at least an element of World Cup speculation and workplace absenteeism is at an all-time high (most games are on between midnight and 6am).

So last night (Thursday) and I stayed up to watch the Australia vs Croatia game, the match that would decide who made it into the next round. All Australia needed was a draw. Since we were staying up anyway we decided to watch the two preceding games, Czech vs Italy and Ghana vs USA. We enjoyed both games (although we both hate Merk) but had to leave before the end of the Ghana game as we were meeting Lisa at the Crows Nest Hotel at 4AM.

We get to the Crowie at about 4:10 and it was closed. Our hearts sank. The cab had another booking and had to leave so we were stuck there with nowhere else on the North Shore opening for the game (that we knew of). We checked all the doors anyway and found a side entrance being guarded by bouncers although it was empty inside. We managed to get in but had to hide away from the street so no-one knew we had been let in. We were drinking water as the bar was not allowed to open until 4:30. We were one of only two groups there.

By 4:45 the place was packed but there was no sign of Lisa so we gave up her seat. Due to our early arrival we had awesome rockstar seating with screens right in front. There was green and gold as far as the eye could see and a great atmosphere.

The game was, of course, very exciting. We cheered every favourable turn of play (Aussie throw in? YYAAAAAYYY!!!) and booed every dodgy refereeing decision. When the final whistle blew, and we got the required draw, the place went absolutely mental. We were all hugging strangers, Sonia was dancing on the table. I think it was a better atmosphere than when we won the bid for the 2000 Olympics.

We had a few more, and it was daytime. We bussed it to Cremorne and had a tasty breakfast at Maisys, cheering with every gold-wearing person we saw. A great night.

*Guus is the Dutch coach of the Australian team and is largely credited with our success. He is as much a national hero as the players.

[Update] Sonia just told me that after the game I was having a lengthy and animated conversation with some girl, entirely in Dutch. I do not have any recollection of this. I remember talking to her but not the lengthy and Dutch part. It is true that I am at my most fluent when drunk but I think she might be pulling my leg. I do remember SMSing all my Dutch contacts so I guess I was thinking about them.


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