It’s been a busy few days since arriving in Vienna. We were lucky enough to sneak in a quick training session before our game verse Great Britain as well as take in a few sites and sounds of this beautiful European city. Boys will be boys and in doing so we have been able to become regulars at the local Schnitzel house. However, in making sure we were well fed we remained focussed knowing that our first game was a perfect opportunity to gain 3 points on our rivals.
Great Britain have always been a big game for us, not only within our history of playing them in past tournaments but also because of the obvious rivalry between the countries. We were all feeling confident that we had the tools necessary to take the points, and game time couldn’t come quick enough. The first few minutes were a solid “feeling out” period for both sides until, our resident goal machine Jarrod Basger got us off to a quick start to put us up 1-0 with a well placed left foot strike. But, the GB boys were quick to answer and even the score at 1-1. The mood at half time was somewhat dim for a game we were well in control of. We were unhappy at our inability to take our chances. We had plenty of opportunites to take the game away from them in the first half, and now it was up to our back half to lift us and take the points. Jordy Mundell finished brilliantly off a corner kick to make it 2-1, and within a blink of an eye it was 4-1 after Baz completed his hat-trick. This is becoming a pretty standard concept in our side as he continues to just score from everywhere.
Yet again however we let the GB boys back in the game. After conceding at set piece and again from a cracker of a goal, it was 4-3 and a tense final few minutes ensued. We missed a penalty with a couple of minutes on the clock which would have iced the game, and then our worst nightmare came true as we gave away a 6th foul forcing a 10 metre shot as time was about to expire. After the siren, it was do or die as to whether we would take 1 or 3 points from the game. As he has so many times over the past 2 years, Johny Myers was the saviour. His big right paw has become the toast of he side, as he led us to the top of our group.
All in all the boys are thrilled to take 3 points, however in hindsight we were a little disappointed with how we played. We know we have the ability to do better, take more of our chances, and limit silly errors and in turn goals from our game. We will be looking for a big lift tomorrow against Bulgaria, knowing 3 more points will take us through to the quarter finals.
The only downside on a fantastic start to the tournament was having to witness the NSW Blues put in a typical game 3 performance against the maroons. I’m sure any ill feelings about the result will be washed away with a schnitzel tonight and a victory tomorrow!