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Socceroos qualify for 2010 World Cup

AUSTRALIA have booked a ticket to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa with a scoreless draw against a determined Qatar at the Al Sadd Club in Doha.

Needing only a point to officially seal qualification, the Socceroos got the job done against a youthful Qatar side to ensure back-to-back World Cup appearances for the first time.

The home side proved tougher opposition than they had in three previous losses, but Australia could feel unlucky not to have won after Tim Cahill struck the post with a spectacular bicycle kick in the first half and Qatari keeper Qasem Burhan made several brilliant saves in the second.                                      world cup 2010
 
The win means the Socceroos cannot finish any lower than second in Asia’s Group A, with the top two teams earning qualification.

They joined Asian rivals Japan as the first two sides to qualify for next year’s tournament, after the Blue Samurai sealed their spot with a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan earlier on Saturday.

Hosts South Africa are exempt from qualifying.

Both sides made a tentative start in front of a small but vocal  Doha crowd, with the Socceroos content to keep possession in the hot and humid conditions.

Qatar’s star striker Sebastian Soria Quintana looked dangerous early on and had the first real chance of the half after getting in behind Chris Coyne, but he flashed his shot across the face of goal.

The Socceroos muscled their way back into the game before Cahill was denied one of the great goals by the woodwork in the 27th minute.

Josh Kennedy, who impressed up front, flicked on a Mark Bresciano free kick with his head, before Cahill found himself in space, controlled with his chest and drilled an overhead kick into the right upright.

Harry Kewell became increasingly menacing after switching to the right win, going close to scoring himself before creating another move which led to Vince Grella firing a volley just over the bar in the 33rd minute.

Qatar had two chances late in the half with Cahill blocking Quintana’s effort and Mark Schwarzer punching away an ambitions long shot from Ahmed Faris.

Australia stepped up their game early in the second half with a flash of chances within a 10-minute period.

The first came to an unlikely source in defender Chris Coyne, who had his shot cleared off the line after attempting to turn in a headed Cahill effort.

The impressive Everton midfielder was again another stunner when his powerful drive was brilliantly saved in the 57th minute by Burhan.

Burhan was called into action again to tip over a Kennedy shot from out wide and once more in the 63rd minute when Kewell collected a brilliant Grella ball, cut inside Ibrahim Majed and forced another great save by Burhan with his right foot.

Continued to threaten and fired across the face of goal in the 80th and although they didn’t get the goal they perhaps deserved, it meant little when the whistle blew to ensure another historic World Cup appearance.

The Socceroos now have matches against Bahrain and Japan at home to celebrate.

Source www.news.com.au

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Colin Barnett is on the brink of caving in to worried Liberal backbenchers and accepting an 8pm closing for weeknight shopping rather than the 9pm time he took to the election last year.
  
The Premier has been softening the public up for an 8pm closing time in recent days and again said yesterday that it was an acceptable alternative. 
  
The West Australian understands that most Liberals don’t want 9pm and would prefer a 7pm closing time but are prepared to accept 8pm to save the Premier the embarrassment of being rolled by his own party.
  
Mr Barnett has been canvassing his MPs one-on-one in recent days and knows that 9pm is beyond his reach.

The Nationals say they will not support changes to shopping hours, which they fear would deliver a crucial blow to WA producers because it would increase the market share of big supermarkets
   
The Government will rely on Labor to get legislation on later weeknight shopping hours through Parliament but the ALP took a position of 7pm to the election and is not guaranteed to support a later closing time. A Labor spokeswoman said yesterday that shadow Cabinet and caucus would discuss the party’s position once the Government’s preference was known.
 
Cabinet discussed the shopping hours issue last Monday and Mr Barnett is expected to take his preferred position to the party room on Tuesday, but the Upper House is not sitting, and the meeting will be only for Assembly MPs, meaning that a vote on the issue will probably be delayed a week.
  
Mr Barnett said yesterday that most people in the retail industry, including the unions, favoured a 9pm closing time from Monday to Friday to bring all weeknights into line with existing late-night shopping.
  
“That’s a position I think is logical, however a number of people are saying 8pm might be better. I don’t think there’s a big difference between the two,” he said.
  
“To simply extend it to 7pm would be pointless.
  
“So, 8pm, yeah that’s OK, 9pm might be better but at least either of those would be a significant extension to weeknight shopping.”

But backbenchers are under pressure from small businesses to wind back the closing time, believing that the later hour is supported only by Coles and Woolworths.
  
Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson urged politicians from both sides to “stand up to vested interest groups, which are determined to deny West Australians more choice and lower prices when they shop”.  

ROBERT TAYLOR, PETER KERR and AMANDA BANKS

Source www.thewest.com.au

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sharksA Navy diver who lost a hand and a leg in a Sydney Harbour shark attack is back diving and walking, and says he wants to return to work at the scene of the attack.

Doctors said navy clearance diver Paul de Gelder was lucky to survive the mauling by a 2.7-metre bull shark off Garden Island Naval Base on February 11.

After seven weeks in hospital, Mr de Gelder has told 60 Minutes he is determined to put the experience behind him.

He is already walking with a prosthetic leg, driving high performance cars and confronting his fears head-on by swimming with sharks at an Manly’s Oceanarium.

The extremely fit 31-year-old appeared comfortable examining graphic medical photographs of his injuries taken just before doctors decided to amputate his leg and hand.

Asked whether he planned on being a Navy clearance diver again, he said: “I do, I’ve never stopped”.

After five years as a clearance diver and working on peacekeeping mission in East Timor, he said his goal was to get back to working exactly where he was before the incident.

“That will be something that I’ll have to do,” he told the Nine Network.

“It’s going to be a tough bridge to vivid savagcross, but you can’t show weakness.”

Mr de Gelder gave an account of the e 6.30am (AEDT) attack while visiting the scene north of the Garden Island docks.

“It’s all a little bit nerve-wracking really,” he said.

“I kind-of wish I didn’t come out that day but you can’t change the past. You have to look to the future.”

He said that during equipment testing sharks were “everywhere” off Garden Island and the thought of the predators circling came into his mind “every time”.

“You just put it to the back of your mind and try not to worry about it.

“You have an obligation, a role and a job that you have to get on with so you don’t let the things that scare you stop you from doing that.”

He said sharks were in his mind on the morning the attack.

“Then it was in my leg,” he joked.

“I remember it all.”

Mr de Gelder was on the surface when the shark began mauling his leg and hand.

“I was swimming on my back. I had my fins on and a wetsuit on, and I was just checking my direction and when I got halfway back from turning around I got hit in the leg and looked down and there was a big toothy grin.

“(It was) grey, white, toothy and beady.

“I’d never seen a shark up close before. To see it like that was not something you expect.

“You look down and there’s a big monster attached to you and your mind goes into panic mode.”

At one point, the shark’s head was just 50cm away from Mr de Gelder’s face.

“We were pretty much staring eye to eye for about three or four seconds.”

In one bite it took his “whole hand and the whole of the back of my leg”.

“It just felt like getting hit in the leg with a plank of wood, you don’t feel the teeth go in or anything.

“I think the adrenalin, the panic, probably puts a numb on the pain and you don’t feel it.”

Four navy colleagues dragged him onto a boat and got him to shore before he was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital in a critical condition.

“I thought he was dead,” Navy colleague Lane Patterson said.

Doctors said he most probably would have died in the water if the main artery in his leg had been severed.

He is now living with his girlfriend in an apartment paid for by the Navy and is being helped by his life-long friend Brock who quit his job to care for him.

But he is still getting used to the new hi-tech leg and will soon have a bionic hand fitted.

I get out of bed and it’s a bit of a struggle,” he said.

“It takes all your strength to sort of roll yourself out and get going in the mornings, physically.

“Mentally, I just want to bound out of bed, go and have breakfast and run down to the water and go for a swim but … baby steps.”

http://www.ninemsn.com.au

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