Fans of the round-ball game – you can keep it.
Australia is not a traditional soccer nation. We are sports crazy, however, so we’ll watch absolutely anything. It’s been said that in Melbourne, you can get a crowd to watch two flies crawling up a wall.
Personally speaking, I had quite a few 1AM and 3AM alarm calls back in 2010 so I could watch the world’s best
actors footballers play for the World Cup. And that was despite the most annoying sports soundtrack in history – the vuvuzela. I’ll most likely watch a lot of the European Championships this year, too. Why? Because like most Aussies, I’ll watch just about anything if it’s being played to a high standard.
It must be said that soccer is growing here at the grassroots level, thanks mainly to a generation of ‘helicopter parents’ who like the fact that their precious little darlings are less likely to scrape a knee or be touched by another human being (!) during the game. Maybe one day that generation of young, bruise-free athletes will lead soccer in a complete takeover of the Australian sports landscape.
Hopefully it won’t be during my lifetime, though.
Last weekend saw the Grand Final, the championship game, for our domestic soccer league here in Australia – the A-League. Let me tell you something; if this is truly the kind of player, if this is the kind of play that can decide a championship game in this football code, then it will never dominate Australian sport.
May the sporting gods strike us down if it does.
If you were a Brisbane Roar player (that’s the team in orange), you’d have to feel like the medal that’s now on your mantle is a little tarnished, wouldn’t you?
The video evidence is clear. Berisha did well to maintain posession in such heavy traffic but then he used the situation to milk a penalty. He took a dive. He acted. He cheated the fair-play spirit of the game, the spirit of all sport, and what makes it so much worse is that he did it in what was supposed to be the showcase game of the year – a grand final.
It’s not like the grainy film from Maradona’s hand-of-god goal back in 1986 (thanks Phil R!). This is clear. There is no contact. He cheated to gain advantage and his team won the championship as a direct result.
I hope the FFA is feeling a little embarrassed about this. I have never watched an A-League game and it’s not likely I ever will.