Playing on home turf, the Socceroos might have been expected to beat Japan in an important World Cup qualifier, so the resulting 1 – 1 draw obviously quashed those expectations.
To the players, however, it may have seemed a moral victory, as they had to come from behind to gain the draw against their sworn rivals when the two teams met at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
Aussie Coach Ange Postecoglou did not share that opinion. He was left emotionally distraught and frustrated over the failure of the Aussie squad to enact the pre-match vow to play aggressively.
The draw means that there is no guarantee that Australia will reach Russia to have the chance to further advance.
Australia found itself in a deficit early on, as Japan’s Genki Haraguchi put it past keeper Matt Ryan in the fifth minute. They would remain behind for the better part of an hour’s worth of play, when Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak converted a penalty kick to tie the score.
After gaining the equaliser, the Socceroos almost saw a score off the foot of Yo Kobayashi that stayed out only because of a highlight-reel save by Ryan.
Australia almost posted a late score itself, other than for the fact that Matt Spiranovic’s header went high.