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The Dream Continues for Hiddink's Socceroos

The beauty of The World Cup is encapsulated in moments like those produced by Australia yesterday in its great-escape 3-1 victory over Japan. The Socceroos found themselves trailing the Japanese thanks to some poor officiating, in which a harmlessly flighted ball over the top of the defense found its way into the back of the net after keeper Mark Schwarzer was obstructed by two Japanese attackers. Several missed chances later, the Aussies looked certain to lose their first match until substitute Tim Cahillwho should have startedcame on late in the game to produce a gutsy equalizer in the 84th minute and then a stunning shot from 20 yards to take the lead five minutes later. In stoppage time, John Aloisi made absolutely sure, slotting home after a powerful run through the defense. As a neutral, you love moments like these for two reasons: the poetic justice of the Australians coming back after conceding a goal that should never have been allowed, and we love to be reminded that there's always the possibility of the late, late show. Not to mention that Australia faced almost certain elimination from the finals without coming away with at least a point from its opening game against Japan. The dream goes on for Guus Hiddink's Australia, the first nation to qualify for the World Cup on penalties after drawing 1-1 aggregate with Uruguay.

Read the whole story at The Australian »

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