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PIX: Australia in party mode; Tunisians enjoy historic win

December 01, 2022 12:03 IST
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'Tell your kids. Tell your loved ones. Tell your mates. Whisper it, yell it, scream it, put it on a T-shirt and wear it to bed. Hard work gets you places'

Australia

IMAGE: Australia fans celebrate qualifying for the knockout stages. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Australia hailed Graham Arnold's new 'golden generation' on Thursday and fans demanded a national holiday as the country celebrated the Socceroos' unlikely advance to the World Cup knockout phase.

 

Thousands gathered at Melbourne's Fed Square in the middle of the night to watch Australia's 1-0 upset of Denmark on a big screen, and were left dancing in the smoky light of flares as the Socceroos set up a last 16 clash against Argentina.

Arnold's team matched the side who made the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany but with a squad lacking the pedigree of the players from 16 years ago who came to be known as Australia's "golden generation".

"Tell your kids. Tell your loved ones. Tell your mates. Whisper it, yell it, scream it, put it on a T-shirt and wear it to bed. Hard work gets you places," Australian soccer pundit Adam Peacock wrote on the Herald Sun newspaper's website.

Australia

IMAGE: Australia fans celebrate their team's first goal. Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Saudi Arabians enjoyed a national holiday to celebrate upsetting Argentina last week, and a picture of a Socceroos fan holding up a sign saying, "Give us a public holiday", was widely shared on social media.

"Do I need to ask (Prime Minister) Anthony Albanese again to give the people a day off to celebrate?” Arnold said.

"I think there’ll be some hangovers (around the country) and some joy in the Australian team."

The Australian prime minister offered congratulations but left the public holiday question unaddressed.

"Magnificent win by the @Socceroos #woohoo," Albanese tweeted soon after the result.

Australia

Veteran winger Mathew Leckie's goal was declared Australia's best World Cup goal ever after he wrong-footed defender Joakim Maehle and fired low past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

"From now until the end of time, it shall be referred to as 'the Leckie Goal'," Dean Bilton wrote for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Two words ... when uttered will send all the emotions felt in that glorious moment stirring back to the surface."

Australians will dare to dream of a first World Cup quarter-final even with the might of Lionel Messi and Argentina in the way.

Australia's Olympic team shocked Argentina 2-0 at the Tokyo Games last year.

"In fairness, Australia and Argentina have won the same amount of FIFA World Cups since 1987," local journalist Ned Balme tweeted.

"They’re clearly scared of us."

Tunisians enjoy historic but bittersweet win over France

Tunisian fans

IMAGE: Tunisia fans show their support prior to the FIFA World Cup match against France. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Tunisians celebrated a historic but bittersweet World Cup victory over France on Wednesday as they defeated their former colonial power but still crashed out of a tournament marked by a remarkable string of Arab wins over soccer powerhouses.

Car horns sounded in Tunis after the final whistle in Tunisia's 1-0 win as fans savoured the moment even though their side did not make it through to the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup, the first in an Arab country.

It was the third upset by an Arab country against heavily fancied opponents, but like Saudi Arabia's win over Argentina last week it was not enough to secure a place in the next round.

The Saudis fell short on Wednesday, losing 2-1 to Mexico, and host Qatar are already out, leaving one Arab team with a chance of reaching the last 16 when Morocco - who stunned second-ranked Belgium on Sunday - take on Canada on Thursday.

Already the surprise Arab victories in the opening stages have been applauded across the Arab region despite its deep political divisions.

"The victory over France was wonderful and had a special taste... Arab football regained its dignity from the former colonialists countries," said Narredine ben Salem, sitting in the Tunis cafe where he watched the match.

As the game ended, dozens of people ran into the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, often the site of political protests, waving flags and cheering.

In the official fan zone in Tunis, about 2,000 fans had been cheering through the game, many in Tunisian national soccer shirts or with their faces painted.

"It was a beautiful victory and a convincing performance but in the end it was very harsh to be knocked out," Ben Salem said.

"WE SUPPORT EACH OTHER"

Tunisian fans

In Qatar, Saudi fans celebrated Tunisia's win, another show of Arab unity that has been a feature of the tournament, said Abeer Awaisha, a Tunisian fan in Qatar.

Hours after Tunisia missed out on a place in the last 16, Saudi Arabia were also eliminated even though a late strike against Mexico cut their deficit to a single goal.

"It's enough that Saudi won against Argentina, that is a historic, unmatched feat," Saudi supporter Mashael Hussein said in Riyadh. "It's true we were hoping to win again, but in the end we came into (the match) with national pride."

In Doha, another Saudi fan Saleem al-Harbi said Arab players had proven their quality against the best in the world.

"We hope that in the future Arab and Asian teams reach the later rounds and the final of the competition. We are able to do that and the European and Southern American teams are no different from us," he said.

"We are able to reach their level and be better than them."

Morocco supporter Khalim Farouki, 25, said the competition had brought Arab fans together: "There is a big solidarity between us, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We support each other."

Some Arab leaders attending the World Cup have echoed that sense of solidarity during matches.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - who have mended ties after years of animosity - wrapped scarves and flags of each other's country around them as they watched their matches.

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Source: REUTERS
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