Dejected Socceroos after their loss to France

The Socceroos spoke a lot about self-belief before their World Cup opener with France — then reality stepped in

Belief is a powerful thing. It can spark wars, fuel revolutions and inspire religions.

It can be seen in masses of people marching across rivers and turned towards the Sun in prayer. It can be heard in a choir of voices singing from the same hymn sheet, and in a single one roaring through a megaphone. It can be touched in the smooth stones of cathedrals and the rough cobbles of castles built by many hands over time.

Over the past few weeks, as the Socceroos have prepared themselves for their opening World Cup game against France, that word – belief – had become the foundation upon which the team’s idea of itself was being constructed.

It wasn’t always in that arrangement of letters, but it was there. Whether it was the “Aussie DNA” or reference to the “spirit” or “identity” of the Socceroos, this intangible thing was there, laid down like mortar beneath the lines of every player and staff member who was asked about how Australia could surpass the potentially unsurpassable: the reigning World Cup champions.

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