Teams /  Australia  / Australia 
Australia have 2,731 Fans
World Cup 2010: Australia look doomed despite holding Ghana
Paul Wilson at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium - 4 years ago

Harry Kewell not only declared himself fit for this game, he said he was ready to play for 90 minutes, but such things do not happen, even in topsy-turvy Group D. Kewell lasted just 24 minutes before finding a new way to clock off early, handling a Jonathan Mensah shot on the line to earn Australia's second red card of a tournament they still look like leaving, even if this battling point gives them a fighting chance.

He did not like the decision much, protesting with some justification that a fiercely hit shot from close range had hit him on the arm without giving him a chance to get out of the way, but the difficulty for Roberto Rosetti was that a goalbound shot had been stopped by an arm, whether the arm moved towards the ball or not. The laws demanded it had to be a penalty, and once that decision was made the present regulations insist a sending off must follow.

Kewell trooped angrily out of the arena, fit for another 70 minutes or so but forced to sit and watch, while Asamoah Gyan stuck away the penalty to bring Ghana level. It was no more than Ghana deserved, if only for the perseverance Dede Ayew had shown in setting up Mensah's shooting opportunity, though going a player down was undoubtedly harsh.

"It was a clear case of ball to hand, what can you do?" Pim Verbeek, the Australia coach, said. "You cannot cut your arm off and the ball came so fast. I thought it had to be intentional handball to be a penalty, and it is very hard to say it was that. Harry is devastated, as you would expect. When you have been working for six months to get to a World Cup you want it to last longer than 25 minutes."

Against all expectation Australia had taken the lead after 11 minutes, with Richard Kingson joining the goalkeeping hall of shame by fumbling a shot almost as badly as Robert Green did for England in the same net.

At least there was some power behind Mark Bresciano's free‑kick, yet even so the Wigan reserve should have done better than let the ball bounce off his chest and into the danger area to leave Brett Holman with an easy follow-up. Ghana's coach, Milovan Rajevac, diplomatically avoided a question about whether the goalkeeper or the ball was to blame, instead raising the entirely reasonable point that it should not have been a free‑kick in the first place.

Australia have a rather better goalkeeper in Mark Schwarzer, and they had him to thank for keeping the scores level before half time after he dived to his right to keep out Kevin-Prince Boateng's effort. The Fulham keeper was in action again at the start of the second half, stopping a shot from Gyan, though for the next 20 minutes his life got easier rather than more hectic as Ghana began to waste their numerical superiority with hopelessly optimistic shots from distance.

Australia even had a chance to regain the lead when Scott Chipperfield came on and immediately put a header over the bar, and really should have gone in front when Luke Wilkshire found himself one on one with Kingson and failed to take advantage.

By the time Nikita Rukavytsya just failed to beat Kingson to the ball two minutes from the end it was fair to say Australia had had the better of the second-half chances, though Mensah did flash a header wide in the last minute of normal time and Quincy Owusu Abeyie brought a last-ditch tip over the bar from Schwarzer.

Facing a barrage of questions afterwards about whether Ghana had just passed up a golden opportunity to secure qualification against 10 men, Rajevac joined Verbeek in paying tribute to the Australian spirit.

"I congratulate Australia," he said. "Even with 10 men they defended very well, and after making a bad start I am not unhappy with this result. Of course we wanted to win, but even with six points we would still have had to try to take something from the Germany game, so I do not believe too much has been lost."

Ghana have still to score a goal from open play, but Rajevac is not worried about that either. "If we draw against Germany we go through, and I would be more than happy to draw nil-nil," he said. "We all know what Germany are, but they lost against Serbia so anything is still possible."

The final outcome, after the wackiest game in the wackiest of groups, is that just about any permutation can still come about. Craig Moore will miss the next match after picking up another booking, but so might John Paintsil, who needed emergency treatment for profuse bleeding after a dreadful clash of heads with one of his own players right at the end of the game.

Ghana will now need to take something from Germany, Australia must defeat Serbia, and they can only be encouraged after this. Not only do they have Tim Cahill back, they can look forward to another Wigan reserve goalkeeper in Vladimir Stojkovic. "We've got to go for it, and we need to score plenty of goals in case Germany beat Ghana," Verbeek said.

"We're still in it and fighting," said Lucas Neill, his captain. "We said we would come back, and we have. Don't write us off, and I don't think the country will give up on us either. We're in it until the end."

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

The Daily Telegraph - 4 days ago
A ruthlessly efficient 5-1 win for Australia prevented Germany from completing a World Cup double, as a team from UNSW claimed the robot football world cup overnight in Brazil. RoboCup 2014 attracted 19 teams from around the world but none of them were ...
The Guardian - 1 week ago
David Obaze, an English defender, was fined and banned from the game indefinitely after admitting trying to fix games. His defence lawyer Scott Johns told the court his client planned to push for an A-League spot when he flew to Australia. "There's a ...
Twelve months on, he has been selected in the squad for the under-20s Australian side, ahead of the competition, which will be held at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla, from January 16-18 next year. “Because touch is an amateur sport, going to New Zealand, ...
The Guardian - 2 weeks ago
Australia will travel to Belgium on September 4 before heading to the Middle East to face the UAE on October 10 and Qatar four days later. Football Federation Australia is also in the process of arranging a second match in Europe during the September ...
Tribal Football - 13 hours ago
Home › Australia/Asia News ... Australia/Asia News · Ashkan Dejagah · Fulham ... Italian Serie A · German Bundesliga · MLS · English Championship · A-League · Argentine Primera División · ASB Premiership · Belgian First Division · Brazil Serie B ... - 2 weeks ago
“The AFL and Australia Post are excited to have launched 'My Passport to Australian Football' which aims to welcome thousands of multicultural spectators to the game during this round dedicated to celebrating diversity in football and, more broadly, in ...
Tribal Football - 1 day ago
"I am very happy to be part of the new League when passion for football in India is on the rise," he said. "It will be great to play in front of enthusiastic Indian fans as well as share my knowledge with my team-mates." For breaking stories and all ...
Gulf Times - 1 week ago
Australia Football Federation announced Thursday that the first team will play a friendly against Qatar in Doha on October 14. The friendly is part of Australia's preparation for the 2015 Asia Cup, which will be held in Australia. The Aussies, who were ...
The Guardian - 1 week ago
Football's landscape is changing and we want to ensure we're at the forefront of commercial deals so we can compete in the Premier League.” With “soccer” finally capturing North American hearts and minds – and the United States ... The Newcastle owner ...
St Kilda - 1 week ago
More than 13,000 people from over 90 countries have registered under the 'My Passport to Australian Football' campaign, but thousands of free tickets still remain. The AFL and Australia Post have invited more than 30,000 new arrivals to Australia to ...

Latest Photo Galleries

World Cup 2010: Day 13 action
4 years ago
The best images from the matches in Groups C and D as the qualifiers are finally sorted out
World Cup 2010: Day three action
4 years ago
The pick of photographs from the action in the Group C and Group D clashes
Ten wild places to lay your head
4 years ago
From a wooden hut overlooking Windermere to a cabin with wings in Costa Rica - we've found 10 spectacular places to stay in the wildest corners of the world
Kick4Life - changing lives through football