Australia to meet England in Gold Medal Match
Australia will play for the gold medal at the Oceania Paralympic Championships today after an emphatic 5-0 victory over Japan in last night’s Paralympic Football semi-final in Darwin.
Australia will play for the gold medal at the Oceania Paralympic Championships today after an emphatic 5-0 victory over Japan in last night-s Paralympic Football semi-final in Darwin.
The win sets up a tantalising grand final today at Mararra Stadium between the Australians and their arch-nemesis, England.
The two teams have a fierce rivalry stemming from England-s victory at the 2007 World Cup that shattered Australia-s dreams of qualification for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
The Oceania Paralympic Championship opening round last Tuesday, which ended in a scoreless draw, was the first time the two sides had met since that faithful clash.
Australia now has a chance for redemption and have asked the people of Darwin to come out and show their support in what is looming as a fitting finale.
“It-s the match we have wanted all along, we really wanted to play England for the gold,” Paul Brown, Australian Paralympic Football coach, said.
“The boys are obviously very eager for this contest. Whatever happens, it-s going to be a great gold medal game.”
Australia warmed up for the decider in the best possible style, with a commanding second half display that yielded all five goals.
Brown admitted to “a few nerves” when the scores were locked nil-all at half-time, but needn-t have worried.
His men were completely dominant throughout the second stanza, led by skipper David Barber and potent left-footer Beau Menzies.
After starting off the bench, Barber finished the match with a hat-trick of goals while Menzies bagged a double.
“We were too lazy in that first half. But the boys played very, very well in the second half,” Brown said.
“Everything came together which was great. There were a few nerves at half-time.”
England booked their place in the decider with a comfortable win over Korea in front of a crowd booming with spirited English supporters last night.