Thu, Jun 08, 2006 - Page 19 News List

World Cup: Socceroos settling in well

LOCAL SUPPORT Guus Hiddink's men are receiving great backing from the locals in Oehringen, that is unless they end up playing Germany in the later stages

AP , OEHRINGEN, GERMANY

Australian forward John Aloisi, left, signs autographs for young fans after a training session in Oehringen on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AFP

It's Guten Morgen and G'Day Mate in Oehringen these days.

The town of 23,000, about an hour north of Stuttgart, is Australia's training base for the World Cup and the locals are pulling for the men from Down Under to go all the way.

Well, almost.

"We hope that they go to the semi-finals," Lord Mayor Jochen Kubler said during the Socceroos first training session.

That's because the townspeople are hoping the Germans go one better.

So what would happen if the two teams met?

"Oh, that will be a little problem," the mayor said.

Still, the people of Oehringen are showing their support by flying the Australian flag along with the German. There may even be more Australian flags in town, according to Kubler.

"Were happy we have a nice team here," the mayor said. "The Australians are a nice team, not a problem team. No skinheads, only very nice people."

The Socceroos are staying in Friedrichsruhe, about 5km away.

The head of the Australian delegation is delighted by the accommodations and training facilities.

"Everything's fantastic," Phil Wolanski said. "The hotel accommodations are great. The sports field is magnificent. A new pitch. Can't ask for much more really can you?"

The team's welcome in Friedrichsruhe was also warm, he added.

"People lining the streets. Local people. A lot of Aussie flags. Good to see. A mix of German flags and Australian flags. They really came out and supported the team wonderfully," he said.

Wolanski said the feeling of being at the World Cup is just sinking in.

But he said the players were not thinking about being only the second Australian side to reach the World Cup. The first team to do it, in 1974, left West Germany after the first round with two losses and a draw, and no goals scored.

"I think they're too young," Wolanski said. "They've read about it, but again the monkey's off the back and they're well aware that they're the ones who have broken that."

This story has been viewed 1854 times.
TOP top