‘Wizards of Oz’ | Pulling the strings behind a multicultural tapestry

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John Aloisi shows no anxiety at the penalty kick. Link to Sydney Morning Herald article.Sydney | Australia’s 30 (plus one) years of hurt? Their sentence has been served, with a pulsating triumph over Uruguay in penalty kicks early this morning ending a long absence from the World Cup. In the Olympic Stadium in Homebush Bay—where aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman thrilled crowds in the 2000 Olympics—the “Wizards of Oz” brought Australian soccer “into the light.” The Sydney Morning Herald invokes the spirit of the late Johnny Warren (see Nov 13) to celebrate a country momentarily unified by the game seen by some to be infringing on native sporting expressions.

In a multicultural nation in a fractured world, the Socceroos can bring together the sum of their parts: Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, German, Lebanese, Polynesian, Croatian, Italian, Melanesian, Greek. It is a rich tapestry but last night they … were one thing only, Australian.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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