Those who took in the 3rd/4th place play-off between Greece and Australia in the Men’ Viasport Quaich trophy were treated to a match choc full of goals, good build-up play and, most importantly, laughs.
Both teams did away with traditional (separate) pre-match rituals, joining together in a huddle in the spirit of fair play, before each team’s coaches and substitutes stood together to follow the match from the sidelines.
Shouts of “Hellas” and “Aussie, Aussie Aussie” were interchanged between teams to cajole their rivals on, alongside side-splitting instructions by the Australian backroom staff to “channel Zeus” directed at the Greek players.
As Australia bore down on the Greek goal, a cry of “It’s all about the angles…The Greeks invented them” had everyone laughing.
A ball to the face of Greece’s Number 2, Panagiotis Tassios, saw Australian goalkeeper James Graham rush out of his box to see if he was all right (a move technically not allowed during the match), before Greek Number 8 Apostolos Petridis — the recipient of yesterday’s FIFPro Fair Play award — found the back of the net to add to his tally, much to the delight of both teams.
As Australia fought off a late comeback by Greece, they threw on their blow-up, boxing-glove-wielding kangaroo mascots for their first appearances of the tournament, one of which never left the side of Greek player who was holding it as his team searched for an equaliser.
But it never came, and even though Australia ran out winners in the end, it was clear that both teams ran out winners, such was the spirit of camaraderie, companionship and fun on display as they both left the pitch to the applause of the gathered fans in the stands.
Words: Craig Williams
Images: Ole Christian Eklund