Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 31, 2011

Sunday 30th January 2011 – trying to escape our 40 degree Sunday!

Well, early this morning, Australia took part in the Asian Cup [football] Final for the first time in their history, against Japan, who were going for their 4th title. Other teams to have won three times are Iran and Saudi Arabia. According to FIFA, Australia is Asia’s top ranked team, although they have not always performed in that way recently. However, they did put in good displays against defending champions Iraq, and Uzbekistan to get to the Final, and I was feeling quietly confident of a win against the Japanese. There are a couple of layers to this match given the stylistic differences between the two sides and their colourful history on the pitch, which really began on June 12, 2006 in Kaiserslautern. It was then that Tim Cahill wrote a famous chapter in Australia’s football history with his two dramatic late goals to sink the Japanese, kicking off a rivalry that will be mutually enjoyed for years to come. Japan of course got a measure of revenge when they knocked the Socceroos out of the 2007 Asian Cup on penalties at the quarter-final stage. The stakes are considerably higher this time around.
The Final, as mentioned yesterday, was at 2am this morning  – no TV for me, and despite various internet sites promoting live telecasts, I couldn’t find one. Not even a direct broadcast on a radio station!  Pathetic! Nevertheless, I did wake up [maybe I’d  not even been to sleep] and with a bit of radio dial twisting, found one of the commercial which was providing a rough description of what was happening from the Fox Sports telecast. That, I had to be satisfied with! However, I would not  be satisfied with the outcome – the Socceroos suffered heartbreak in their bid to lift the Asian Cup for the first time as Japan won Saturday’s final 1-0 in extra time in Doha.

Substitute Tadanari Lee struck in the 109th minute to shatter Australia’s hopes and give Japan a record fourth Asian Cup title, their third in the past four tournament The Socceroos were gallant in an enthralling contest played in front of 37,174 fans at Khalifa Stadium and enjoyed the majority of the chances. But it was a single defensive lapse that cost them. Up until that point the Australian defence had been rock solid The match went to extra time after a scoreless but entertaining 90 minutes in which both sides created several good opportunitity.   After the game, captain Lucas Neill said that  “We always felt in control of the game even though we gave away a lot of possession to Japan it never felt they were really going to hurt us. “In our defence we felt solid and strong and then one lapse in concentration and maybe a moment of fatigue in extra time, it’s gifted them the goal”.  With the match seemingly heading for penalties, Australia’s defence was breached for only the second time in the tournament, and Australia’s players sank to the pitch with agony as the final whistle sounded.  “You can imagine how disappointed we are,” coach Osieck said. “We definitely could have won the game, we just didn’t convert.\  “But I have to say that I am proud of the players, in their performance and their attitude throughout the tournament”.  [Actually, close to the end, I must have dosed off because I didn’t see that goal scored, the match was suddenly over when I came to, thinking that the penalty kick situation was in play!

Trying to keep cool this afternoon, I watched an interesting documentary on the folk singer & activist, Joan Baez – interesting life and background, much of which I’d not previously being aware about. I decided while watching this, that my show next Tuesday night would include a feature section of her music.  Interesting that her early career – she was inexperienced, frightened of performing, suffered panic attacks – this went on for a year or so, but nobody really became aware of the fact amongst audiences, etc!  More about Joan, on Tuesday night.

Late this afternoon, was sitting in comfortable air conditioned house watching the Mixed Doubles Final – partway into the second set, at 5.35 pm, when the power goes off!! For how long I wonder!  Presumably, not just here, but in the area, due to the heat I suppose! Disappointing. I discovered in fact that 124 properties were affected, and that the anticipated time for no power was 4 hours!!!  Never did get to learn who won the Mixed Doubles [until next day], and I only eventually managed to see the second half of a rather uncompetitive Men’s Final – Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic – he won that rather easily [Djokovic] 6/4 6/2 6/3. It was an extremely hot day, although the finals today were played with the roof closed, but somehow the Scotsman didn’t seem to have his usual levels of energy, seemed tired, and as a consequence, was unable to inspire the crowd – they wanted to be on his side, but his energy levels and fight back abilities on the court were not enough – if he could have generated the crowd a little, that would probably in turn have  regenerated his own play. Anyway, by the time that match was over, my energy levels were at a low ebb also, and I called it a night. I think it was after midnight when Susie returned home from her Big Day Out, an event which apparently saw hundreds treated for heat exhaustion, etc, and a number taken to hospital – presumably, all of ‘mine’ got through the day and ‘night’ –  I’d communicated with Susie a few times by text, this evening re the power blackout etc, so I was confident she and Jodie had not had any problems.

Australian Open Tennis 2011  – main results:

Men’s Singles Final:  Novak Djokovic [Serbia] defeated Andy Murray [Scotland]  6/4,6/2,6/3

Women’s Singles final:  Kim Clisters [Belgium] defeated Li Na [China] 3/6,6/3,6/3

Mens’ Doubles Final: Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan [USA] defeated M Bhuppathi & Leander Paes [India] 6/3,6/4

Womens’ Doubles Final:  Gisela Dulka [Argentina] & Flavia Pennetta [Italy] defeated Victoria Azarenka [BLR] & Maria Kirilenko [Russia] 2/6,7/5,6/1

Mixed Doubles Final: Katarina Srebotnik[Slovenia] and Daniel Nestor[Canada] defeated Chan Yung-Jan [Taipei]and Paul Hanley [Australia] 6/3,3/6,10/7

Junior Boy’s Singles Final:  Jiri Vesely [CZE] [No. 1 Seed] defeated Luke Saville [Australia] 6/0,6/3

Junior Girl’s Singles Final: An-Sophie Mestach [Belgium] defeated Monica Puig [PUR] 6/4,6/2

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