World Cup reflections from Brazil

AUSTRALIA'S final group game of the World Cup was against the already-eliminated defending champions Spain.

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to this game, so it meant leaving behind sunny Salvador and heading to Curitiba, which has a climate much like that of Melbourne.

The journey was full of excitement and anticipation, even though the match meant little as both sides were already eliminated.

Upon arriving in Curitiba, it certainly had that Melbourne feel - not just with climate but by the nature of the city that certainly left the quaint streets of Salvador far behind.

Waking up on game day was the beginning of a dream for myself. Looking out the window, the city was awash with Aussies. Green and gold spread far and wide and seemed to block out the many Brazilian fans.

The Aussies had taken over.

The walk to the stadium was electric, with Aussie chants everywhere. The Brazilians had adopted us as their own (Diego Costa's defection to Spain may have helped!).

The stadium is amazing. Out of nowhere it appears its four walls seem more like a modern day metropolitan car park, but once inside it's a perfect football venue (pitch quality aside).

The game itself was a blur. The Aussies started well (their best start of the tournament) but Spain took just over 10 minutes to assert itself, and with Andrés Iniesta and the Melbourne City signing David Villa pulling the strings, it was a pleasure to watch despite the result.

Having witnessed first-hand the torture of qualifying campaigns gone wrong in 1998 and 2002, plus the ecstasy of John Aloisi's penalty goal in 2005, this was the culmination of a footballing journey for me. Although we got beaten (comprehensively) the game is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Even writing these words I am left with a feeling of emotion. Some of it is disappointment, some of it frustration, but mostly satisfaction and gratitude that I was able to share in such a magnificent experience.


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