Our hopes, dreams and progress all came down to this game, well not quite it also relied on the result between France and Denmark.
Everyone ignored that it was actually a Tuesday and they had to be up for work in the morning and settled on their couches and in pubs ready and waiting to urge the Socceroos on.
The Socceroos and Peru have never met on a football field so we were stepping into the unknown. Australia has only scored from penalties this tournament and Peru has not scored a World Cup goal in 36 years, who was going to break their cycle?
It was one of those games I couldn’t look away from, yet it was also so hard to watch. We came out strong and attacking from the beginning, Jedinak maybe a little too eager and receiving the first yellow of the match after ten minutes for his high boot. Australia had the early momentum controlling the ball and placing multiple crosses into the box, surely one of them had to convert. Then perhaps you could say against the run of play Guerrero crosses to the edge of the box for Carrillo, who launches the shot and puts it past Ryan. Had this goal not been against Australia and ruined our chances of qualification I would have been happy for Peru finally scoring a goal after so long, but it was against us, so I was angry, hurt and disappointed! Why do we never manage to pull off a wonderful strike like that?!
It’s just one early goal, we still have enough time to come back I think to myself, and then I read stats like that is only the third time Peru have scored the opening goal in eighteen world cup games and they won both previous times, or that Australia have only won one World Cup match after conceding the opening goal and that was back in 2006 that make me fear we could be in trouble. Whilst I and the rest of Australia try to stay positive, the Socceroos try and keep their heads held high and keep playing with determination and passion that we can still do this. We continue attacking but just cannot convert, the halftime break arrives.
Meanwhile my other eye is keeping watch on the France V Denmark game, but they seem to be happy with both qualifying for the next round, and are resting some of their playmakers. They seem content to play out the game and not care about helping Australia to qualify!
Only back from the half for five minutes when Peru strike again. Guerrero fires a volley sending the ball into the far corner of the goal. It is here I could give up and just go to bed and get some extra sleep, but I am a true supporter and sleep is for the weak, football is a funny thing and you never know what might happen.
This second goal sees the call up of Cahill, Bert has obviously been watching social media and has bowed to the pressure! Five minutes later Arzani is also subbed on, yep Bert is definitely watching us. Can the master and his apprentice join to do something magical for Australia??
Arzani is straight into the game and takes one for the team, committing a professional foul and earning a yellow, which may have just stopped a third Peru goal. Meanwhile, Denmark V France still nil all.
The last half an hour of play brings more missed chances and heart break for Australia. We go down 2-0 to a jubilant Peru, whilst they haven’t qualified for the next round but they have scored two goals in a World Cup and have added belief to their team and their Country, I cannot dislike them for that, but I can be sad that they chose to stand so tall when playing Australia. The nil all draw in the Denmark V France game would not have allowed us to qualify, so I can believe that we won that game and that it was all the result of the Denmark v France game that stopped us from further progress!
Seriously I take my hat off to Peru for never giving up, the World Cup and game of football can never be certain, you have to make the most of your chances, Peru did that tonight. Australia need to find a way to capitalise on their forward movements and turn them into goals, a team cannot expect to move forward in a tournament scoring from only free kicks. As an Adelaide United fan I know what it is like to be missing that key forward, goal scoring player….