Napoleonic spirit alive among Aussie fans in Perth


Aussie fans at the Inglewood Hotel, Perth WA
Photo: Chris Wilson/Prost Amerika

Napoleonic spirit alive among Aussie fans in Perth

by Paul McNeela, Perth WA

The Inglewood Hotel Bar in Beaufort Street, Perth, Western Australia was a fitting location to view the Socceroos open their World Cup account against the fancied French. After all Western Australia could easily have become a French colony were it not for the untimely death of Captain de Saint Alouarin, who declared the Western half of Australia as French in 1772.

Unable to give a posthumous account of his endeavours, croaking it on the way home, Napoleonic France became embroiled in more prescient matters, leaving the duller British to exploit these ‘ere parts. Western Australia remained stoutly nonconformist being the last Australian state to agree to Federation in 1901 and voting for Secession with a 2/3 majority in 1933. So perhaps some of the French Revolutionary spirit persists here.

Beaufort St was established in in 1848, the same year as the 2nd French Revolution, which confirmed Napoleon’s nephew as France’s last monarch. He lasted until the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, but Bismarck could not prevent Beaufort St progressing from the dirt track of that era to tarmac. Perhaps a revolution with firmer foundations as the bitumen still looked pretty sturdy this evening.

Beaufort Street fittingly witnessed a handsome defence tonight as the underrated Socceroos fought and scrapped their way into the game against their cultured aristocratic opponents. French Beaufort cheese, characterised by its pale-yellow appearance and pungent aroma, melts easily despite its lack of holes. The Inglewood Bar aficionados of Beaufort willed their heroes on with their inspiring chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi”, throughout the first half, as Les Bleus were doing a beaut job of emulating the cheesy French department of the same name.

After a creditable first half, the Socceroos unfortunately came unstuck after another revolution intervened in Russia, favouring the French! This time in the shape of the video assistant referee (VAR), being used for the first time in a world cup, adjudging an Australian defensive tackle, viewed as innocuous in real time, being worth a penalty to the French with the benefit of never-ending hindsight.

The ensuing penalty was put away with typical French aplomb by Antoine Griezmann leaving goalkeeper Mathew Ryan with no chance.

Griezmann’s goal pointed the way to victory for France

However, the dogged and undaunted Aussies, willed on by the Beaufort St hordes sensationally pressed on.

4 minutes later, Samuel Umtiti, the normally unflappable Barcelona defender, blatantly handballed a crossball, that would have attracted universal admiration in Australian Rules Football, but left the referee no option in the World Game but to award a further penalty.

Captain Mile Jedinak did his job, slamming it home, with less panache, but no less effect than the recent French effort, and Beaufort St erupted. The Champs Elysees shook in fear. Probably.

The galvanised Socceroos stroked the ball around for the next 10-15 minutes bossing the French but without incisiveness. Gradually, Les Bleus got back into the game until Beaufort’s handsome defence yielded. Pogba’s inventive strike being correctly, but tantalisingly, judged to have crossed the line by centimetres, nay inches, if strewth be told.

The last quarter was entertaining end to end stuff, but neither net was troubled. Australia was predicted to lose this game by a barrow load, so the tight result represents a creditable performance and outcome. The French appeared to anticipate a physical encounter tonight, and with three points in the bag, they may be free to inflict damage on the goal difference of Australia’s Group C rivals, Peru and Denmark.

Beaufort St relishes the next encounter with Denmark on Thursday and will enjoy the discomfiture of Crown Princess Mary, the Tasmanian of Scottish parentage.

The Socceroos were downed tonight by a technically proficient French side, but they are by no means out of this tournament. Not yet.


About Author

Scozzie reporting on A-League and other stuff from the Indian Ocean shores. St. Johnstone fan. Follow me on twitter @perthmcneela.

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