November 16 – A night to remember in Australian sport

The Fifa World Cup is fast approaching and Australia will be featuring for the fourth consecutive time, however, fans will remember the difficulties that the Socceroos endured in the lead up to 2006.

November 16 is an Australian football documentary produced by Richard Bayliss and Ben Coonan that aired on Foxsports Australia on the 16th November 2015.

The documentary offers an extensive insight into the heart-wrenching journey suffered from the 1974 World Cup in West Germany right up to that infamous night on November 16 2005.

Its airing marked the 10-year anniversary of the famous 2006 World Cup qualifier match between Australia and Uruguay inside Sydney Olympic Park, which saw the Socceroos clinch their place for Germany in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

Striker John Aloisi became a national hero after scoring the winning penalty, but praise was also afforded to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for pulling off two fantastic saves that gave Aloisi the opportunity to strike the winner.

Qualification meant an end to a long 32-year drought and complete one of the most inspirational stories in Australian sporting history.

Throughout the hour-long documentary, nearly 60 interviews were conducted in order to share the different perspectives and feelings about the events prior to 2005 as well as on that special night nearly 13 years ago.

The films main theme surrounds the second leg match, detailing not only the emotions of the Australians involved on the night, but also two Uruguayan players to offer a different viewpoint on how proceedings could have played out.

Another key aspect in the documentary revolves around Dutch manager Gus Hiddink’s impact on the Socceroos when he took over from Frank Farina in 2005. Players and staff in the side echoed his methods and attitude towards the game, which ultimately shifted the Green and Gold’s mentality.

A great segment of the film is the interview of Tony Vidmar stating that he wanted “redemption” by scoring in the penalty shootout. This showcased his determination to put behind flashback images captured of him in tears when Australia failed against Uruguay four years earlier.

Overall, this documentary is a fantastic film as it gives viewers the ability to cast their minds back to that pivotal night and get in touch with the strong emotions that were attached with it.

If you watch the film without having any real prior knowledge, you will quickly pick up on why it means so much to Australians, especially given the countries brand as a sporting nation.

 

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About Michael Djordjieski

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