FROM THE GRANDSTAND: Anzac spirit rises for World Cup bid
ALL the talk recently in the grandstand has been about Australia and New Zealand's successful bid to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. How good are the ANZACs?
I was a bit perturbed by the fact we had failed so miserably recently to attract much support to host the men's event. Can you remember that $40 million spent on attracting just one solitary vote when the decision was made to award it to Qatar? Politics and FIFA were something else in those days.
Things fell into place in recent weeks when nominees like Japan pulled out of the bidding process and the Asian vote would therefore go our way. NZ who were in a different body (Oceania) attracted their own support anyway.
England, however, with it's link to Europe (still) voted for Colombia would you believe. Still, we made it and it is a highlight of the sporting calendar just to win the right to stage the event. Heaven knows we need a positive story like that.
Some commentators are suggesting it is the biggest event for women on our sporting calendar EVER. Well I wouldn't go that far as Olympics cannot be ignored and when it is in your own country (Sydney 2000) you just have to acknowledge that when Cathy Freeman won the 400m then maybe that was indeed the biggest event. Now, if by chance we were to win it in 2023 then maybe opinions would change.
Listening to some of our current and past Matilda players you can just feel the excitement they all share. You just know they are going to perform at their best and given they will be rated in the top ten by that time anything is possible.
Soccer and its scoring is so fickle and frustrating. Anything can happen. We have already beaten the best (USA) in previous matches, so it's not out of the question it could happen again.
When our men went over to Europe for the 2006 World Cup we made the knockout stage for the first time. In our very next match we only lost to eventual champions Italy courtesy of a dubious penalty goal.
That 1-0 defeat was enough for Italy to go on and win the whole damned show. Enough said. The game owes us a trophy.
When the announcement was made I immediately went to the relevant website to see if there was a chance we could see a match in the 'local' area. I was thinking of Coffs Harbour of course as the venue and surface would be up to standard. However the best we can hope for is a minnows match at Newcastle or a finals match at Suncorp in Brisbane.
The event will begin in Auckland at Eden Park and thankfully we will not have to visit that graveyard (think Bledisloe Cup). Thankfully the final will not be at the MCG but Sydney and a rectangular stadium if all goes well.