For the Socceroos, it’s the classic question of glass half-empty or half-full? However much liquid you see in the vessel, one thing is certain.
Australia now need goals for their World Cup adventure to continue beyond the middle of this week.
Goals from themselves against Serbia.
Plenty of goals from Germany should they beat Ghana.
Or just one from Ghana to finish off the Germans.
The Socceroos’ 1-1 draw with Ghana leaves them with their destiny – and the outcomes which will take them into the World Cup’s round of 16 – out of their hands.
Beating Serbia is all they can do. That’s non-negotiable.
The more goals the better.
Then Australia must hope Germany hammer Ghana by plenty, or Ghana snatch a victory of any colour against the Germans.
Certainly the Socceroos’ brave 10-man effort against a decent Ghana side leaves them in with a shout.
This was a courageous win for all concerned.
Coach Pim Verbeek reverted to type – 4-2-3-1 – and took the bold step of starting Harry Kewell despite his lack of minutes.
Kewell never got the chance to gather match fitness – sent-off for a handball which was line-ball.
Was it a penalty? As 50-50 a call as Lucas Neill’s infamous foot across Fabio Grosso four years earlier.
If you move your arm towards the ball, especially anywhere near goal, you enter a grey area.
For Kewell, it turned red.
For Australia, it looked black.
What happened next was a triumph of ticker over talent. Poked and prodded, their team spirit and togetherness questioned, their coach ridiculed all week, the Socceroos proved anger is an energy.
Brett Holman provided the initial spark. Skipper Lucas Neill channelled it and turned it into an electric fence across goal as his defence repelled Ghana brilliantly.
Australia had the best chances for a winner.
Scott Chipperfield’s header over the bar on 67 minutes, followed by a gilt-edged Luke Wilkshire chance five minutes later could have pinched the Socceroos a famous victory.
Now Australia faces sudden-death against a Serbian side that also have everything to play for.
Serbia could qualify for the second stage with a draw, though a win is more likely what they’ll need.
No Kewell or Craig Moore – suspended after a second yellow card.
The omens are good. But they’ll be hoping the bad news doesn’t come from the other match between Germany and Ghana being played at the same time.