Football at World Cup level is fast, strategic, and brutal. It makes an incredible spectacle.
Seeing a stadium awash with yellow jerseys and hearing Advance Australia Fair reverberate around a full stadium announced to Denmark and the world that the Socceroos are here to play football. Our massive supporter army will make you feel that your playing on Australian soil for 90 minutes.
Samara is in rural Russia, but for a little under two hours yesterday this Cold War military construction town and one now home to Russia’s space program played host to a Hot War between the highly regarded Danes and the boys from Down Under.
Under warm crystal blue skies, the game saw an early cut-back to Christian Eriksen and a powerful drive from the Tottenham midfielder go past Matt Ryan and bulge the back of the net.
We needed a result and the Roos went to work.
It was end-to-end football, and once again Trent Sainsbury was imperious in blocking any forward progress by the Danes. A world class defender with nerves of steel.
Aaron Mooy and Tommy Rogic stepped up their game, pressing the Danes. Being at the match allows one to witness the close-fought battles and the speed of players in a way not reflected on television.
Players are slimmer than on TV and there is hand to hand battles trying to get the advantage in the sprint or dribbling around an opposition
VAR was used for the second time in Australia’s World Cup campaign – but this time it was to our advantage. Mile Jedinak drilled the ball home from the spot to keep his 100% penalty record intact.
The second half had the crowd singing and chanting, and brought them to their feet as the less fancied team in green bossed the blonde Nordic boys time and again.
You could be forgiven for thinking the Australians were the higher ranked. The crowd were hoarse, screaming support for the numerous waves of attack and shots on goal.
They wanted more, the crowd wanted more. The noise level was like a rock concert.
We walk away from the match with a point. We are still alive going now to Sochi and take on Peru who have been eliminated.
We can still go through but we need a French invasion of Denmark.
The support for the Socceroos in Russia is immense. Their style of football is tough, fast, and professional. They have the Russians in the crowd singing ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!’ alongside the travelling yellow-clad Australians.