Australians celebrate win raucously

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australians basked in their first World Cup victory in 30 years after staying up late to watch the victory over Japan.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Australians basked on Tuesday in their first World Cup victory in 30 years after staying up late to watch the Socceroos' thrilling victory over Japan, then even later to celebrate. "It was the most amazing victory in the history of Australian sport," Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph said on its front page on Tuesday. Crowds of thousands of people braved wintry conditions and sleep deprivation to cluster around giant television screens erected at public sites in major cities to watch the game, which ended early Tuesday morning Australia time. Thousands more crowded into pubs, or watched the live telecast from Germany at home. Roars of elation echoed through the streets of Sydney three times just before 1 am as Tim Cahill kicked two goals and John Aloisi a third in the final minutes. The cacophony continued afterward, with cars filled with excited fans driving the streets honking their horns. The television audience was expected to be huge - more than 2 million of Australia's 20 million people watched the Australia-Uruguay qualifying match. Boisterous celebration After watching the game on a giant screen near the Sydney Opera House, about 1,000 marched through downtown streets in celebration, stopping traffic in the centre of the city. Alcohol flowed freely at many venues, but police reported no major incidents. At the Union Hotel in inner-city Sydney, several hundred people who had crowded around big-screen TVs became increasingly solemn after Japan's early goal and as the game wore on. About 15 minutes before regulation time, the barman called last drinks. "What if we get a goal?'' one drinker shouted. The bar erupted when Cahill kicked the equalizer for Australia, then again minutes later when he put Australia ahead. The euphoria was even louder when Aloisi scored a third in injury time. "I thought it was all over, I was putting my Socceroos flag away and I was going to slink home,'' said Adam Taylor, a graphic artist from Sydney. "But now, it's whoa! Go us!'' The game was the first at the World Cup for Australia since 1974, when the Socceroos lost to host West Germany, East Germany and drew 0-0 with Chile in their only other trip to the tournament. They failed to score a goal and were eliminated after the first round. (AP)

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