World Cup 2018 qualifiers

Skipper Mile Jedinak’s hat-trick fires Australia into 2018 World Cup

Australia swept aside Honduras 3-1 on aggregate to book their spot in Russia.

Captain Mile Jedinak fired a second-half hat-trick as Australia swept into next year’s World Cup in Russia with a 3-1 aggregate playoff victory over Honduras in Sydney on Wednesday.

The Aston Villa midfielder’s free kick went in off Henry Figueroa on 54 minutes, and he then buried two penalties in the space of 13 minutes before Honduras scrambled a late consolation through Alberth Elis.

The final whistle heralded a massive roar from the 77,000 home crowd at the Sydney Olympic stadium as the Socceroos claimed the penultimate World Cup qualifying spot, following last week’s 0-0 first-leg draw.

It will be Australia’s fourth consecutive World Cup and fifth overall, and comes in the 22nd game of a mammoth, 29-month qualifying campaign criss-crossing Asia, the Middle East and Central America.

“It’s overwhelming to be honest. When you are coaching your own nation to burden of responsibility is even greater,” said Australia coach Ange Postecoglou.

“I’m delighted for everyone – the players, the staff and the organisation. We did it the hard way and it’s a credit to every one of them,” he added.

The game unravelled for the central Americans with the Socceroos scoring three times in the last 36 minutes stadium after a scoreless first half.

Goal chances were scarce in a cautious opening period, with the best chance falling in the 37th minute to Celtic’s Tom Rogic, whose shot was well saved by Donis Escober.

Argentine referee Nestor Pitana issued a total of three yellow cards, two to Australia’s Matt Jurman and Aaron Mooy and the other to Maynor Figueroa for a foul on Tim Cahill.

Honduras had to substitute injured Emilio Izaguirre nearing half-time with Henry Figueroa.

Australia were fielding four across the back, with deep-lying midfielder Jedinak adding to the rearguard, but the Honduras posed little threat in the first half.

Jedinak broke the deadlock in the 54th minute with free kick which deflected in off Figueroa, but was eventually credited to the skipper after initially being marked as an own goal.

The goal revved up the Socceroos and the capacity home crowd, and Cahill came close with a looping header but Escober scrambled it away off the woodwork.

Cahill’s night was over after 66 minutes, replaced by striker Tomi Juric to a standing ovation from the home crowd in salute to his courageous fightback from a recent ankle injury.

The Socceroos tightened their grip when Bryan Acosta was adjudged to have handballed and the referee pointed to the spot.

Jedinak stepped up and rammed home the spot-kick – his 17th goal in his 73rd international – and Australia were two-up with 18 minutes left.

Substitute Robbie Kruse was then brought down as he closed in on goal and again the referee blew for a penalty, allowing Jedinak to claim his brace with an identical finish.

Elis gave the Honduran fans something to cheer deep in stoppage time with his goal after a goalmouth melee.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.