The Socceroos are out of the World Cup and the travelling Aussies are about to have their last dozen Castle beers.
To steal a line from Lock ,Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: “It’s been emotional.”
The 1,500 Aussies with The Fanatics tour group start heading for home this weekend, still bonded by the Socceroos win over Serbia and 16 nights together in tents at Fanatics HQ in Durban.
It has been an intense week. More than 30 buses, loaded full of Fanatics, made two 24-hour round trips to watch the Socceroos play, just four days apart.
The last leg – the trip home from Nelspruit after the Socceroos defeated Serbia but missed out on progressing to the next stage on goal difference – was full of tired and satisfied Aussies.
Sure, making the 2nd Round would have been amazing (and potentially very rewarding with a dream draw against USA then Uruguay or South Korea) but at least now the travelling fans have a performance and a result to be proud of.
The bus ride to the final game was a little more up tempo. How much more up tempo depended on which bus you were on.
The Bus 15 boys were still chanting their bus number and spraying beer on each other long after they got off their bus.
Meanwhile, Bus 8 watched Westlife’s “Coast to Coast” tour DVD (see pic). It was the choice of bus driver Koyful. Everyone thought it was a joke but it turned out he just really likes Westlife and thought the bus full of Aussie males aged 20-something would too. They sat in painful silence for the first 90 minutes but when Koyful decided to put it on for a second time, everyone found some humour and sung along to a sappy ballad they’d never admit to knowing.
Those weird, random moments are the ones they’ll take home to Australia. That and when Tim Cahill and Brett Holman banged in those brilliant goals.