There was more people this time around supporting the Matildas. Kick-off was at 7PM and the people were streaming into the stadium when we arrived. Later, I found out that about 4000 people were watching that match. Four thousand vocal and excited fans cheering for both the home team and the visitors.
We seated ourselves right behind the Australian players dugout and settled into what promised to be an exciting event considering that DPR Korea were the reigning Asian Cup champions. Most expected this game to be the Matilda's toughest test yet in the tournament.
The first half started with Australia dominating ball possession early but the Koreans proved to be dangerous when their strikers broke off to get a couple of clear opportunities to score. They were only too unlucky as a shot hit the crossbar and another went wide.
The crowd was into it for the most part with the cheering section doing their best to egg the Aussies on. The second half was a defensive game with no real scoring chances. Although it was exciting to see spurts of action, the Matildas couldn't seem to break the strong Korean defence as their defenders were able to converge on any Aussie finding her way near the goal. The Koreans, on the other hand, had the better scoring chances and were able to make real threats on Australia's goal. The last minute proved to be the only real chance the Matildas had at scoring when substitute forward Thea Slatyer found forward Lisa De Vana in the 90th minute to produce a neat overhead kick that got the ball over the Korea goalkeeper's outstretched fingers but hit over the net instead. The shot missed the goal by inches!
The match ended in a goalless draw and methinks these two teams might even see each other in the finals.
This was one of my first forays into actual live sports viewing and it was funny to hear the cheers the fans made up. There was the obligatory "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi". There was "C'mon Aussie, C'mon," and there were the more funny/mean-spirited ones like:
"C'mon Matlidas, You can beat these boys!"
"Seventeen's ( # 17 for DPRK ) a hermaphrodite! Doo-dah, doo-dah! ( sung to Camptown Races )"
my favourite though was:
"C'mon girls, you can beat Nerds FC!"
And if you've watched the TV show you'd know the reference.
It was also interesting to note how disciplined the Korean team was. In the post match cool down, I can see the Matildas doing their post match stretches and such while the Koreans were doing this whole co-ordinated group thing where they walked up and down the field in their bare feet and doing group exercises etc. I wonder if this is a normal practice for some football teams or if it's a North Korea thing?