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Australia vs Ghana

World Cup Finals 2010 - Group Stage, Match 2
Australia vs Ghana
at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa on 2010-06-19T06:00:00
Score: 1-1 (1-1)
Scorers: Brett Holman (11')
Official Info: FIFA Details
Previous Match: Germany vs Australia
Next Match: Australia vs Serbia

The big question was: would the real Australia turn up and display the grit, determination and talent we know they have. The answer, despite us not getting the result we needed, was a resounding yes.

Serbia defeating Germany has thrown our group wide open. A win for us will see all four teams level on three points. From there, it's anyone's guess as to the final position.

Verbeek made changes to our side. In came Kewell, Bresciano and Carney. As the players lined up to come out onto the field, there was Kewell smiling and kidding around at the back. Doesn't he know this is serious?

We began well. We won possession and made good use of it. And then just ten minutes in, we earnt a free kick just outside the penalty box. Bresciano's low shot drew a fumble from the Ghanain goalkeeper and Holman pounced to score a much-needed goal. 1-0 up after 11' and we have hope.

Ghana battled to get back into it and started to get some useful possession. Wilkshire and Chipperfield combined to fail to stop a cross; the resulting shot thumped into Kewell's arm as he stood on the line. The referee blew for hand-ball and sent Kewell off. What have we done to deserve this sort of luck? For mine, there was little Kewell could do. I don't think he deliberately handled the ball, although his arm was slightly away from his body. And if the referee thought it was hand-ball, then he had little choice but to send Kewell off. Ghana drove home the penalty. 1-1 after 25 minutes and we have to play the next 65 with just 10 men.

Then came the moment that was probably the turning point. Bresciano was upended by a brutal tackle from behind and the Ghanian was only given a yellow card. For mine, it was a clear red. 10 men each and we really could have gotten back into the game.

As it was we battled right until the end, but could not find a winner. Wilkshire had a golden chance late in the second half, but his one-on-one with the goalkeeper was well saved. Ghana had plenty of chances, but they were mostly long-range shots that didn't trouble the scorer.

The players were superb. Under tremendous pressure to win and down a man, they fought with tenacity and skill all game. Neill and Moore at the back were immense. A vast improvement on the last match. Valeri and Holman were lively and ran all game. Wilkshire, Culina and Carney did very well.

Let's give credit to the coach too. Verbeek got his selections right, his tactics right and his substitutions right. And he went within a whisker of getting a win.

The maths says we can still go through, but it's unlikely. But we've done ourselves proud and who knows, if we can beat Serbia, we're in with a shot.