Vienna Kangaroos in Zagreb
Zagreb Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
I had been training with an Aussie Rules team in Vienna, the Vienna Kangaroos, for a number of weeks and the first of the Central European Cup Tournament's had arrived. I travelled with another Aussie ex-pat, Jimmy, in his car from Vienna to Zagreb. The trip took us through the WeinStrasse near Graz and into Slovenia. Travelling through Slovenia was an amazing sight with clear skies, steep mountains, and green everywhere. This was probably the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. After four to five hours we finally arrived to destination Zagreb where we were playing 9-a-side football on a soccer pitch. A good concept to teach some of the Europeans the basics of the game and to allow a free-flowing game. The sky was clear, not a breath of wind in the air, and an excellent Aussie atmosphere with Khe Sahn pumping every second song and the smell of BBQ in the air.
First game we took on Croatia A who were strong, fit, and well trained. Their running game was too good for us and a lot of credit must go to their coaches who have transformed the sport into a popular off-season (from soccer) activity. In the end Croatia won comfortably.
Second game we again lost, against Czech Republic, but put up an excellent fight to have the closest game of the day. Finally we took on Croatia B where again we showed amazing fighting spirit to come from twenty points down to kick four unanswered goals and hit the lead at the major break.
Croatia were the winners of the tournament and their hospitality was excellent with some good music, cheap beers, and friendly nature. It was amazing to see all three nations sitting together and sharing some beers well into the night.
We made our way back to the hostel where the service was something different. One minute we were getting abused by the manager and the next he was buying us a shot. We went on a long walk that night to find calamari only to realise Zagreb wasn't as close to the coast as we thought. After a big dinner we were all fairly tired and made our way back to the hostel with coach Stuey entertaining us the entire way. After some burping and hiccuping from Max we finally got to sleep.
The trip back to Vienna was amazingly long with two hours needed to cross the Croatian-Slovenian border. Overall it was an amazing opportunity to play football in a different country and represent a nation. The style they play is very light-hearted but still very intense. I am looking forward to the Vienna Tournament on June 7th where I hope to get a big crowd and for Austria to win some matches.