Below are all the official AFL 2005 International Cup scores, goalkickers and best players, for the fifth round of matches, i.e. the semi and qualifying finals. Spain withdrew due to injuries (and they travelled with a small squad), but intend playing in the final round of matches this Saturday.
In the big match between New Zealand and the USA the Americans were believed to have lodged a protest against the eligibility of at least one of the Kiwi players, James Bowden, who spent some time growing up in Australia. We believed having spoken with the New Zealand camp that the AFL investigation was continuing but the Kiwis were confident that he had been cleared on several previous occasions and there should be no issue. The AFL's Ed Biggs has now confirmed that the situation has been resolved in that the appeal will not be progressing further.
In the semi finals of the Australian Football International Cup played today at Murphy Reserve Port Melbourne, the New Zealand Falcons (10.4.64) defeated the American Revolution (5.2.32) and the PNG Mosquitoes (5.4.34) held out Ireland (3.7.25).
In other matches, Samoa (7.8.50) had a strong win over South Africa (3.3.21)
Great Britain (9.9.63) were convincing winners over Japan (3.5.23).
News just in suggests Spain will be back on Saturday, after forfeiting today's match against Canada due to their long injury list.
The Semi Final between the Falcons and the Revolution would see the winner go on to contest the Final at the MCG on Saturday. Both sides had impressed throughout the tournament but it was the undefeated Falcons who would go in favourite and come out of today unscathed. Pictured left is famous AFL personality Robert "Dipper" DiPierdomenico with New Zealand's Steve Froggatt.
We've had many requests from the public about when and how they can buy tickets for compromise rules series between Australia (represented by the AFL) and Ireland (by the GAA). The games are being held in Melbourne and Perth and tickets can now be purchased from Ticketmaster. Given the popularity last time, they may well sell out.
A quick note to say that Spain have withdrawn from Qualifying Final A, which was scheduled for 10am on Thursday 11th August 2005. They are a very new Aussie Rules nation and came to the Cup with a small squad. Having suffered several injuries they were reduced to 15 players on the field (instead of 18) in their last match, so the forfeit to Canada is no surprise. Although the Northwind will enjoy the rest, no doubt they had been looking forward to chalking up their first win in more fulfilling circumstances.
The decision to stage a round of the 2005 International Cup in a
country region has proven to be a great success. Round 4 was held in
Wangaratta, about 230km northeast of Melbourne. Organised in conjunction with
the Victorian Country Football League and V-Line trains, the trip
included an official welcome, matches at City Oval and Showgrounds, and a
dinner at the Town Hall. With local school children getting time off and
becoming involved in the multicultural event, there was a great
atmosphere at the two grounds. Country folk have a full appreciation for
grassroots footy, and many comments were heard noting just how committed
and hard at the ball the players were.
A sluggish looking Irish side came out to play an enthusiastic Samurai outfit at City Oval in Wangarrata today in the opening match of Round 4. The crowd came out in full support of their favourite team and there was a sea a green and red from the local school. Those in red put on a special traditional Japanese dance to give the Samurais some encouragement while those in Green used their strong voices.
Papua New Guinea held out a fast finishing USA outfit by the smallest of margins in the second match at City Oval in Wangaratta in an action packed display of International Australian Rules football. The crowd really got behind both sides as the USA fought back from a 15 point deficit with 3 minutes to go to get within 1 point at the final siren.
At the Wangaratta Showgrounds the New Zealand Falcons displayed a brand of football that may be the best yet seen in international footy, ruthlessly disposing of Samoa and sending a message to the other semi-finalists.