World cup soccer fever hits sydney
SYDNEY (Reuters) – A number of high-profile soccer players attended an exhibition match featuring Australia and Japan in Sydney on Monday, a tournament dominated by Japan, but with some Australians disappointed about their countries winning.
Among the 100 players and staff who showed up to watch Australia defeat the United States of America 2-0 to advance to the knockout stages of the 2017 Confederations Cup was South Australian defender Ben Creagh.
He is expected to play for his country at Friday’s final in Los Angeles. Creagh was an ambassador for the Japan national team last year in Japan and is known as a popular figure in Australia and beyond.
“Obviously I’m disappointed but you know Australia are really hungry and have won World Cups before so it’s hard to expect a different result.”
The Australians, drawn against Brazil’s hosts at the same time as Brazil, beat Japan 2-1 in a friendly that attracted over 4,000 spectators.
“It has only been on a professional level but it is always a good thing,” Creagh said.
While the team did not face any difficult opponents, they faced some tough fixtures, especially the three-point loss to the United States, which was expected to be an early test for their new players.
In the match, which ended 2-0, Australia also lost midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but defender Sam Skinner was awarded the match ball after scoring the equalizer with one minute remaining.
U.S. forward Christian Pulisic had his thigh bruise closed out in the first half and played only 40 minutes before leaving early with what was initially described as a hamstring injury.
In the second half, Brazil won the ball back twice and were held to a one-goal deficit, and while the Americans were successful in cutting the deficit to one goal in the final 1우리카지노2 minutes, Japan held a 12-man advantage despite being without captain Andrzej Drew.
Japan is the last team to play out a World Cup in their own stadium while Australia are expected to face the host nation again in two years time for an exhibition fixture.
($1 = 94.075 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Kim Simons in Sydney and Elizabeth Piper in Los Angeles; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moor