||ESPNsoccernet: World Cup
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Viduka and Kewell hail Socceroos' fighting spirit
STUTTGART, June 22 (Reuters) - Australian scorer Harry Kewell said the Socceroos' unquenchable fighting spirit had taken them to the World Cup second round for the first time after a thrilling 2-2 Group F draw with Croatia on Thursday.
Kewell's 79th minute equalising strike earned the Aussies
the all-important point in a match of three red cards after they
had twice gone behind.
'It just goes to show our fighting spirit. We kept attacking
and creating lots of chances,' he told reporters.
'If it wasn't me it was going to be someone else (who
scored). It's perfect for us - a lot of people didn't think we
would get through the first stage. We left it a little bit late
but we got there.'
Coach Guus Hiddink paid handsome tribute to his side who had
proved a lot of critics wrong back home and in Germany.
'This was a terrific game. It shows why the beautiful game
is so exciting. This team has a lion's heart, to fight until the
end. They are very competitive, they never give up whatever
happens,' he said.
Striker Mark Viduka added: 'What a great game tonight, you
could not ask for more.
'It's very difficult when you cop a goal that early but we
knew if we kept our composure we could do some damage. We showed
we had the spirit to do it.'
Zlatko Kranjcar, the Croatian coach, said: 'I think my team
played the best they can but we failed to get the result we
needed. It was a dramatic and dynamic match and we missed our
chances. I want to congratulate Australia.
'We have to look to the future.'
Croatia had two sent off - Dario Simic (85) and Josip
Simunic (90) - and Australia lost Brett Emerton (87) to a red