Mitchell Duke of Australia celebrates with Mathew Leckie after scoring against Tunisia

How the internet reacted to the Socceroos win over Tunisia

They say the body replaces its cells every 10 years, and the Socceroos haven’t won a game at a World Cup in 12 years.

But there are those special neurons that aren’t being replaced, and deep within the national psyche they’ve flashed and sparkled every four years since 2010, sending a faint echo of what it’s like to taste victory when of a World Cup that spills over to the Socceroos. faithful.

On Saturday night, those ripples turned into a joyous, crashing wave, as Australia beat Tunisia 1-0 in Qatar – and here’s how the internet reacted.

Doubt over the starting XI was widespread before the match, with only one change made by Graham Arnold after the loss to France.

And the feeling that the country was watching, in prime time, was palpable.

The crowd was a sea of ​​partisan Tunisians, roaring either in support of their team or in utter disgust at the Socceroos gang – a kit that prompted similar howls on posters online.

Just as they had against Denmark, Tunisia started the match bristling with physicality, bursting in and harassing and jostling their way into the scrum, as the Aussies began whipping crossways.

Cross after cross, mostly hit with relative freedom to aim, but none finding a target.

Then a cross was swept off Craig Goodwin’s boot and deflected by a Tunisian defender, the least likely of the assists, until Mitchell Duke flexed and twisted his neck muscles with all the precision and dexterity of a man. ‘a surgeon, with his head the scalpel.

The ball nestled in the back corner, and Australia once again opened the scoring in Qatar.

Overjoyed as they were, the Socceroos faithful recalled how quickly and brutally France fought back after conceding in the first game, and how quickly that joy stung.

The anxiety that accompanies a narrow lead set in immediately, and it was feared the team would sit just 22 minutes away.

Mountain man Harry Souttar made the first of what would eventually be many, many colossal boulders.

Australia saw halftime, and in truth, were only caught a few times by Tunisia on the block.

A deserved half-time lead, a sense of confident control over the competition and… was it a sense of pride?

Yet that pride quickly turned to fear, namely those 45 seconds of regulation time, as well as the veritable eternity of stoppage time that has become a hallmark of the Qatar World Cup.

Tunisia started the second half with renewed vigour, the dogs of defeat snapping at their heels, and the Socceroos fell back slightly towards their own goal.

Calls for a replacement who could allow Australia to regain some attacking momentum began to ring in, most of them specifically naming Ajdin Hrustic, calls which Graham Arnold appeared to be heeding.

Harry Souttar, who basically played two elite football games in the last year, was a brick wall.

Seen throwing himself in front of the shots, running like a possessed iron golem after the Tunisian forwards to thwart counter-attacks, the Stoke City defender was absolutely supreme.

Mathew Leckie had a chance he was inches away from converting, but the second-half behavior was set; it looked like that one-goal lead was going to be all the Socceroos had to grab hold of until the final whistle.

As the minutes ticked by and the Tunisians kicked in, every passing moment was pure agony for the loyal Socceroos.

Finally, after a very conservative six-minute timeout, the final whistle sounded and the nation rejoiced.

Federation Square in Melbourne was once again a scene of total pandemonium.

Australian sports stars cheered with all of us.

Australia remains alive in this World Cup.

Australia won this World Cup.

Those twelve years in the desert are over.

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