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So near yet so far for Socceroos

The Socceroos went out of the FIFA 2006 World Cup with a fight and I think they gave their all but in the end Italy most probably deserved to win given that they had better clear cut chances and played the game to their strengths.
The turning point of the game was obviously the sending off of Marco Materazzi. I think that the red card in a way actually benefited the Italians more because they were then able to revert to the defensive game which they are more than capable of doing. They defended very well and the Socceroos needed a creative player on the park to take the game to them but there just wasn’t any. The absence of Brett Emerton through suspension and Harry Kewell through injury was strongly felt as we could not take advantage of playing the ball along the flanks and I think the presence of these two players could have dramatically changed the course of the game.
Then came the penalty. The referee was so close to the action but I don’t seem to have seen what he saw as foul play. With the match so close to the finish and some of us already preparing for another 30 minutes or so of less sleep it just wasn't the right time to concede a goal and especially when the team had given so much and made every Socceroo fan proud. The rest is history.
I hope the experience from this campaign will help shape the future of the game and especially looking at the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The bar has now been raised and we are no longer just happy to qualify for the World Cup but to also get there and play a big part in the proceedings. I also hope that there is going to be a big improvement in the FIFA ranking for the Socceroos.
In the other game it was sad to see Switzerland go home having played so well and conceded no goal in open play but such is football. I didn’t understand the Swiss substitution of Alexander Frei with penalties looming. Being the top Swiss striker he could have a say in the shoot-out and in the end they failed to convert a single penalty.
Italy/Ukraine match to me looks like there can only be one winner and that will be Italy. Shevchenko will have big say on that against the defenders he knows fully well from Serie A but I think the semi-finals are a bridge too far for Ukraine.

Very true!! The penalty was there, and any person who has played the sport is told from a young age never to do a slide tackle in the penalty box. That being said, the Aussies did play well, but in the end, as you say, Italy played to their strengths.

A very disappointing finish to a game that Australia dominated possession-wise, but failed to capitalise on Italy's depleted side. A couple of good saves by Schwarzer kept the aussie sheet clean, however the lack of creative fire-power up forward meant that Italy's defence was impenetrable. If Breciano's had connected his attemped bicycle-kick, it would have resulted in the goal of the tournament. Ah well - a valiant effort and one that all Australians will be proud of. Let's hope we can generate similar support for the team when they go to Sth Africa.

John CD
You are probably right, however I still believe the Italy player should have been shown a Red Card for taking a dive as he could have jumped over Lucas Neill without falling to the ground and milking a penalty, to which the ref fell for. The Socceroos can certainly hold their heads up high for the way they played throughout the World Cup. PS the italian Totti will never I repeat never be allowed to play A Grade soccer in Australia for kicking the goal. In addition if he had a contract we would tear it up.

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We expected far too much out of the team. It was evident that despite the ten men the Italians were a better quality side, their forays to the front were much more professional, penetrating and dangerous. The penalty even though disputable was neither here nor there in the whole scheme of things.