Melbourne was excited after Australia qualified for the round of 16 of the World Cup

In the heart of Melbourne, fans flock to Federation Square during every major sporting event. During the Australian Open in January, all the unfortunates who couldn’t get tickets to the matches often went there with a beer in hand to cheer on Nick Kyrgios, Alex De Minaur and co.

The screen has joined SBS to watch every Socceroos match live since the competition began in Qatar. The decisive meeting with Denmark was of particular importance. Despite the schedule (very late, it was past 3:30 when the final whistle blew) in the middle of the week and at first glance their chances of qualifying for the round of 16 were slim, the Aussies put a few thousand in the Federation. Square to encourage their choice.

Andrew was among the supporters who attended the site. He doesn’t watch football all year round, though “For Fun”, he decided to cycle to the famous square here on the first day of summer, December 1, at two o’clock in the morning. With temperatures mild, Andrew not working the next day, all the conditions are in place for an unusual Thursday morning.

Suspense, good humor and hopes

Melbourne is a big city but usually quiet and peaceful at night. But not this time. In good spirits, the townspeople, mostly dressed in green and gold, make their way towards the giant screen. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! It’s an echo in the still somewhat sleepy city. It’s two in the morning, most people are off work for a few hours and still the Australians are out and about.

For Andrew, it is difficult to find a quiet corner in this joyful confusion: “I couldn’t get close, but even though I didn’t see much, it’s pretty good from here. » The screen isn’t incredible quality, and neither is the sound, but that doesn’t matter as the supporters’ “boooouuuh” resonates as the Danes win the ball back. The atmosphere was tense at half-time (0-0) but good humor prevailed as the Socceroos could still qualify with a draw provided France did not lose.

Shortly before game time, SBS was informing viewers about the live classification. France is still first and Tunisia is second: “I realized they were winning, Andrew said, Australia finished third and were therefore eliminated. » Quietly installed in his corner, he refuses to return home. A few seconds before a TV show, he picks up his radio and listens to the commentary.

“We didn’t see that we got there, why not take another step? »

Andrew, Australian supporter

In 60, he heard Matthew Leckie’s arm before he saw it in pictures. Andrey barely has time to react before Federation Square lets out a cry of relief. The smoke bombs were broken. Two minutes later, the Australians go from losing to qualifying. As against Tunisia (1:0 win), they then focused on their defensive strategy and it paid off.

For the players on the field and the Melbournians gathered in the middle of the night, the final whistle is a relief. “We didn’t see that we got there, why not take another step? » An appointment was made for Andrew. When he wakes up, almost all of Australia wakes up with the euphoria of victory. Major news channels opened their papers with ‘feat’, 18-year-old up-and-coming Newcastle player Garang Kuol was a guest on ABC News at 7.30pm.

On Saturday, in the second round of 16 in their history (since 2006 and after a 0-1 draw against Italy), the Socceroos had the opportunity to make a little more history. The usual meeting place in Melbourne may vary. The crowd was so big against Denmark that Victorian authorities are considering moving the giant screen to a bigger venue to accommodate more fans. And hope for a new historic night.

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