Fifa World Cup
An irate Serbian fan hurled a bottle at World Cup star Jeremy Brockie as the All Whites clinched the greatest win in New Zealand football history in Austria yesterday.
Brockie – a second-half substitute in the All Whites' 1-0 win over a Serbian side ranked 15th in the world – had just taken a shot at goal in the 61st minute when a missile came flying onto the Klagenfurt stadium pitch.
The 22-year-old former Nelson Suburbs player said from Austria this morning that he got "a nice little surprise" in the form of a "Jim Beam glass bottle which came out of the crowd and landed in front of me".
"There was a big net behind the goal and it must have been thrown up and over it."
Brockie said he was not scared "because I didn't really notice it till it landed on the ground in front of me and I thought, `whoa, that was aimed at me'."
"You can't let those things affect you. We had a 1-0 lead and we just had to concentrate on holding that lead."
The flying bottle did not distract him from the job at hand, although 'if it had hit me it would have been a different story".
Brockie said the match officials "went over and picked the bottle up and chucked it off the pitch".
The Serbian supporters were clearly frustrated at watching their side, led by Manchester United star Nemanja Vidic and full of players from the English, Italian, Spanish, German and Russian premier leagues, slide to defeat against a New Zealand team ranked 78th in the world.
Smoke flares were flung onto the field and Brockie said several Serbian fans "jumped the fence" and ran onto the pitch.
The Austrian referee called a halt to the game in the 85th minute until the pitch was cleared and the crowd settled down.
Vidic grabbed a microphone and walked over to the Serbian supporters' stand to appeal for calm. Brockie said "whatever words he used must have worked because it didn't happen again". Play resumed and the All Whites closed out a deserved victory.
Brockie - showing no ill effects from the broken leg he sustained in an A-League game in January - had a great chance to double New Zealand's lead when he was put clear in on goal but fired his shot just past the near post.
"It would have been nice [to score], it was a good opportunity. I probably needed to go far post if it was going to go in because the keeper had the near post covered. But on another day, it could have ended up in the back of the net."
Brockie said confidence was high in the All Whites camp after a strong performance against Australia in Melbourne last Monday and the historic win over Serbia. "We took the positives from Australia into the Serbia game and kept playing football and kept battling till the 90 minutes were up. We fully deserved it. The boys are pretty happy with the win."
The attacking midfielder made a good impression in a super-sub role in both matches and said he was feeling sharper with every outing. "It was good to get 30 minutes or so against Australia and another 30 minutes yesterday was good as well. The only thing I'm lacking is match fitness But there are still a lot of training sessions and a couple of games to go before the World Cup so there's plenty of time to be at my peak."
Brockie said he had had many messages of support from family, friends and well wishers in Nelson, including an email from his former school, Nayland College.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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