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A Fan's View \ Molly Wagman

Australia match takes on special meaning to U.S. fan.

ROODEPOORT, South Africa (Saturday, June 5, 2010) -- For most, the United States-Australia game here today was a "friendly" -- a way to see how the teams were gelling and help make final decisions for the starting line-ups for the games that count.

For me, this may be one of the most important matches of the 2010 World Cup. You see, while I am an American, I have been living in Sydney for the last year and a half. The Australians, for the most part, play sports Americans simply don't: cricket, rugby, and Aussie-rules football being the most popular. While I would wholly support Aussie-rules coming to the U.S., until that happens, there are very few opportunities for Australia to go up against the Americans. So all sports-related conflict has been avoided. Until today.

Australians take sports very seriously (I was asked by some Australian friends, only half in jest, who I was supporting in the game today,) so you can imagine my joy when the U.S. won the game 3-1. Had it lost, I would honestly not have heard the end of it when I returned to Australia.

While the U.S. still has many things to work on, such as missing open nets and holes in the defense, the players can sleep well knowing they have allowed one expatriate American to hold her head up high while those around her chant, "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!" I will gladly support Australia through its very tough group play, but today I had to go back to my roots. GO USA!

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