Australia’s first World Cup in 32 years was a remarkable experience that no one wanted to end. We’re accustomed to matching it with the best, and we want more, such as hosting the 2014 or 2018 World Cup. I wish the A-League success, but I’m not sure derbies between Newcastle and the Central Coast are going to cut it.
The best reason to host the World Cup is that we’d automatically qualify, a rule brilliantly exploited by the hosts of next year’s Asian Cup: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam which have grabbed an unprecedented quarter of the spots. Anyone who’s suffered through the agony of 32 years of unsuccessful qualification campaigns wont begrudge the Socceroos one free ride.
Perhaps our old pals the South Africans might even let us host a token game here and sneak in for 2010? It’d be nice, too, if the games didnt stretch beyond midnight to give the Europeans a taste of their own time-zone medicine.
They talk about about how Aussies aren’t real football fans, but throughout the cup, millions of us showed our commitment by waking up at painful hours of the morning. And I’m tired of reading about how England fans have the most spirit. (Which seems to simply reflect that England fans drink the most.) Let’s see how many of them wake at 4am to watch their team flop out in a penalty shoot-out.
Then there’s the home-crowd advantage that propelled the South Koreans to a semifinal in 2002. Many World Cups have been won by host nations and Germany’s third place win – where Portugal (ironically) couldnt buy a free kick – showed why. After our treatment by officials this year, FIFA owes us a bit of biased refereeing.
There is one potential problem with the 2014 bid, which is that, so far, it’s been spearheaded by the South Australian Premier, Mike Rann. Frankly, if were hosting the World Cup, Adelaide’s not getting more than a quarter-final. It’s got to be Homebush, or, begrudgingly, the MCG.
Then again, the event requires at least 10 stadiums, so Wollongong, Newcastle and even Canberra would probably get a crack.
Next to Kaiserslautern, a town of less than 100,000, Adelaide is a bustling metropolis. So come on, FIFA, bring the World Cup down under to build the game in Oceania and Asia. We might even give a match or two to New Zealand. If we have to.
Read more of Dominic Knight on the Radar blog, www.radar.smh.com.au.