It was always going to come down to the final day, the Super Sunday of the East Asian Cup with back-to-back games at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium.
It was always going to come down to the final day, the Super Sunday of the East Asian Cup with back-to-back games at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium involving all teams involved. For those interested in Asian football culture it was the right place and the right time.
This tournament has provided a trip through Korea's modest history of sporting stadiums. Jamsil is a relic of the 1988 Seoul Olympics and you are warped back in time as you walk through the dark corridors that encircle the stadium and rather impromptu looking food and beverage providers setup on tables in said dark corridors.
The food of choice is fried chicken and that's sourced outside as companys sell it off the back of mini vans and large bikes. It's a big box or nothing. For something smaller take your pick from Korea-s version if nori sushi rolls, kimbap, dried squid or octopus which is grilled to order. Everyone is pairing these with beers grabbed from buckets or the convenience stores on the march to the Olympic Stadium.
The Socceroos supporters are next to the Olympic cauldron and are definitely a beacon in their green and gold. Funnily enough as this is a double-header the Korean supporters will take their place at the opposite end of the stadium as the Chinese supporters are literally next to us. With two away supporter groups on top of each other some friendly banter ensues.
The Chinese are proud supporters and predominately made up of Chinese students here in Korea. As the current holders of the East Asian Cup and with no appearance in next year-s World Cup to look forward to, you can sense the desperation of the fans to get a result here.
If there's something Australians pride themselves on then it would be their never say die attitude.
As hosts of the Asian Cup 2015 we need to communicate who we are as much as the desire to learn about our neighbours. This attitude couldn't have been expressed better by the Socceroos than with their two late goals which could have cost the Chinese retaining their title.
It's probably a good thing that I spoke to the Chinese supporters when they had earned a superior advantage, but I'm sure they would be friendly and open all the same. Banners and flags waving I grabbed some photos with a guy brandishing a camera. It's all very normal and that's something that is starting to be understood; that the football family crosses borders and we are all in this together.
If the Chinese supporters were doing a good job the Japanese took it to the next level. As soon as the Australia versus China game finished a massive banner spanning two tiers was unfurled as the Blue Samurai supporters staked their territory with a burst of energy, sound and colour. From afar it's always good to see their support but when you're right there under the rustling banner surrounded by passionate fans it's something different altogether.
The Koreans too are starting to get loud and fire back across the stadium with their own chants and song. The biggest moment being the Korean flag covering four bays of the stadium. There are large screen prints of national heroes in black and white which boldly contrasts the red all around.
There are messages of support also which speak of the shared history between Korea and Japan. For better or worse there is something unavoidable between these two nations when they take to the pitch that makes any game between them meaningful.
If this tournament's numbers have been low it's still no surprise to see Jamsil pulsing and at capacity as the whistle for the final game sounds. A convincing win by Korea is needed and any win for Japan would be enough or a draw if they score two or more goals. Both sets of fans ready themselves to get their team there.
So what is different? The chanting never stops and the whole crowd gets into simple songs. No respite means the opposing fans struggle to be heard. To have a pause would be unthinkable as it would give the Japanese fans too much confidence that they are winning the battle in the stands as well as on the pitch.
What isn't a surprise to Aussie fans on this tour is that we need to think and believe we're truly Asian in the sense of being in the Asian football confederation for our participation in Asia to be genuine. The tongue in cheek chant heard at all three games from the Aussies "we are the best team in Asia, we are the best team in Asia, best team in Asiaaaaaaa...." struck a chord.
We don't see ourselves as Asian yet here we are - and it-s a great and vibrant football culture to be a part of. There will always be differences which we must embrace. The Aussie fans in Korea have already laid out the welcome mat to all and the interest is high for the Asian Cup 2015. Get yourselves ready for a great party Australia, Asia is coming.
Young Socceroos end SBS Cup campaign with penalty shootout win
The Young Socceroos concluded their SBS Cup 2018 campaign with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Shizuoka Selection yesterday afternoon. It was reward for an encouraging series of performances at the international youth tournament for Ante Milicic’s youthful side, who had be
Aussies Abroad weekend wrap: Ryan stars in Premier League giant-killing
Two Manchester giants stood in the way of our Australians in Premier League action overnight. Read on to see how they went, and for a comprehensive weekend wrap of our overseas Australians! ARZANI: How will he be used by the Scottish champions? MILLIGAN: Aussie veteran j
Aussies Abroad: Rogic shines, debut for Caltex Socceroos defender
This week may have seen Daniel Arzani dominate headlines on Australian soil following his highly-anticipated move to the Scottish champions, but it was Caltex Socceroos teammate Tom Rogic who stole the show for Celtic yesterday evening (AEST). Meanwhile, it was a difficult mor
Caltex Socceroos veteran unites with Maclaren at Hibernian
Hibernian have signed Caltex Socceroos veteran Mark Milligan on a two-year deal, subject to securing a work permit. The 33-year-old was most recently on the books of Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia and will now link up with national team colleague Jamie Maclaren at the Scottish outfit