That’s yer lot. If just getting to the World Cup was climbing Everest, then three draws, including one with Italy, is getting to the summit, throwing up a bach made from number eight wire, slamming some sausies on the BBQ and cleaning your fingernails with the ice pick.
For me, the All Whites’ cup has been about expectations, and changing them, rapidly. First we were happy to be there. Then we were ecstatic to get a World Cup point off Slovakia. We kind of left ourselves nowhere to go from there, because drawing with Italy (who were poor and old, it must be said) was beyond the wildest expectations – expectations that were ratcheted up to a whole new series of notches when it dawned on everyone we could actually go through to the knockout round. And now we’re all a bit glum now we’re out, and this wonderful ride is over.
Cactus Kate reckons we should have some perspective, but anyone saying this is our greatest sporting achievement is just after easy column inches. You have to *win* something to be OGSA, but we’re right to get excited all the same (I bought the feckin t-shirt). These guys have done us proud, punching WAY above their weight and put the icing on the cake of a very special year in NZ football. We’ve got more of this coming, team, and I’d expect to see some of these All Whites getting snapped up to play in Europe, and good on them. Let’s just hope Ricki Herbet can be convinced to stay, I love him.
It hasn’t always been pretty viewing, to be perfectly honest, but that’s football – we played our own game, and considering we were aiming for ‘not getting dicked’ going in, this is as good as it gets. On thing that struck me during the all-encompassing post-mortems in the office, watching James McOnie moshing with the brilliant, brilliant crowds in the Republic and seeing little kids wearing their All Whites kits despite the wintery blast, is that supporting the All Whites is fun and rewarding – can you say the same about supporting the All Blacks lately? Be honest.
Last thing, I’m pleased the All Whites have resisted doing the Haka- stark contrast to our Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams, for whom a Haka is an acceptable form of greeting when passing a teammate in the hotel corridor on a night trip to the loo. Like Ryan Nelsen says, “No-one wants to see skinny white guys do the Haka.” Fair play.
This interview with Those Guys Dressed As Kiwis is worth a watch, just to see John Campbell being called “JC” and “Cambo”
Eliminated New Zealand ‘sort of world champions’ – I laughed at this, but hesitated to link, as the site is much funnier than this one. Please come back when you’re done!
Zinedine vuvuzela take down – I lol-ed