Aspire Tower and Khalifa Stadium moments before the game
In spite of the AFC's ridiculous choice, opting for an Uzbek referee (Australia beat Uzbekistan 6 - nil in their last match) and the vuvuzela-competing, 'Honda' emblazoned plastic tubes, a brilliant night of football has marked the end of the Asian Football Cup, here in Doha. Playing to the beat of over 37,000 spectators' chants, the Socceroos and Japan took to the pitch for 120 minutes of pure excitement.
The game was tight throughout, with both teams treading cautiously for the majority of the first half, and Japan finally turning up the heat in the second half. Several players stood out in terms of performance, including Australian midfielder Matt McKay and Japan's saviour, goalie Eiji Kawashima who saved Japan from endless Australian attacks. Galatasaray midfielder Harry Kewell also put on a good show, but sadly missed several opportunities to score, one of which was a wide open Japanese goal.
The atmosphere was electric at Khalifa Stadium. With one lucky goal at the 119th minute, I tip my hat to Japan, but am proud to say, this was an Australian game through and through. Congratulations to the Blue Samurai and major kudos to the beautiful Socceroos; they really did bring "the thunder from down under."