Stuart Dye is a reporter and editor for the Herald on Sunday

Stuart Dye: Four more years, Australia


Four more years, Australia, four more years.

The image of George Gregan gloating over Byron Kelleher in 2003 sprang to mind as the clock ran down in the Soceroos' 1-1 draw with Ghana.

The New Zealand Australia rivalry is a friendly one and most Kiwis would have been rooting for their transtasman cousins.

But it would be an insult to the relationship not to take a couple of sideswipes at their misfortune.

After all, the Australasian team which ends up with the most points from this tournament ends up with bragging rights for years to come.

There's no doubt the Australians have been unlucky - two red cards to influential players in two games turns a big task into a gargantuan one.

Tim Cahill's was harsh in the first game, but the Australians can have little complaint about Harry Kewell's red card. His handball on the line stopped a clear goal and to the letter of the law, he had to go for an early bath.

Whether the law is correct is a different matter. Kewell didn't dive an outstretched arm to claw the ball off the line. Rather, his was an instinctive flick of the arm, a reflex action as the Jabulani flew at him.

There's a school of thought that, in such circumstances, a penalty is punishment enough.

Similarly, South Africa's goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was sent off for a foul on Uruguay's Luis Suarez. Again, there was nothing cynical about the attempted challenge and surely a penalty would have sufficiently punished the hosts.

However, for now the law remains as it is and Australia need a miracle to qualify from their group. Never mind lads, there's always 2014.

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Stuart Dye is a reporter and editor for the Herald on Sunday

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