There's an old adage in sport that says "the scoreboard never lies". That's the brutal truth in football where the result after 90 minutes is what matters.
After all the soaring hopes and searing emotions we felt in Porto Alegre, the scoreboard was heart-breaking and bewildering for any Aussie, but it didn't lie.
The Netherlands 3 Australia 2. End of story? Not at all.
Today, it's worth reflecting on the mission for Australian football and check the score on the big picture.
I can tell you the 90 minutes in Porto Alegre have left me with a winning feeling in FFA's long-term quest to make football the biggest and most popular sport in our nation.
I'm sure every time Tim Cahill's wonder goal is replayed on TV in the days and weeks ahead, kids everywhere will have the urge to grab a ball and do a "Timmy" in the backyards and parks.
It follows that a new wave of football interest will sweep through the households and schoolyards of Australia. Participation is our lifeblood and pulses will be racing come rego time next year.
You'll know from past columns that I view football from a fan's perspective and leave the technical analysis to the experts. As a fan, let me say this: our playing style against the Dutch was beautiful to watch, skilful and inspiring.
Seeing the Socceroos dominate possession for long periods of time against the so-called sophisticated and cultured Europeans was a revelation. I reckon we outplayed them at their own game.
This triumph of style and substance will resonate far and wide, through our elite junior ranks, coach education, the NPL and into the A-League and W-League. We can play the world game at the highest level with a distinctive Australian style. The naysayers have been silenced.
One task that Ange Postecoglou set himself was to make sure that the Socceroos are exciting to watch. No argument, it's happening. This is another massive step on our journey to make the Socceroos the big name brand that sizzles when it comes to box office, sponsorship and TV ratings.
I said a few days ago that "brave defeats" are not how we want to be defined. We want to collect points, win matches and go into the second phase at FIFA World Cups.
Maybe enduring painful, but brave defeats is how we will build our character, resolve and purpose. Our toils in Cuiaba and Porto Alegre were not a waste, far from it.
In Ange, we have a torch bearer on the mission. He's ferocious in his desire. He has unshakable belief in what the Socceroos can achieve. In eight frantic months, Ange has rebuilt a team, a culture and a national project of huge importance.
We believe in him because we are seeing the results. Just not on the scoreboard in Porto Alegre.
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