As a FIFA World Cup “tourist” based in Europe, the truly global nature of this game and indeed this event becomes increasingly evident. How do I know this? Everywhere I look there are people dressed in their national colours, wearing their national team merchandise, discussing their pool and all potential outcomes as the march towards the finals begins.
In fact, as I write this from my hotel in Finland attending the IWG Women and Sport Conference in Helsinki for the weekend, I and many others are fixated on the television screens in our rooms and the hotel bar at the game just starting between the Netherlands and Spain.
Of course as a temporary resident of The Netherlands, I am supporting my “second team” but already it is more than just having something to chat about over coffee on Monday morning with my colleagues. Somehow, I have been swept up in the moment; feeling part of the football family.
What is it about this game and this event that captures our attention and engages our imagination? My fellow Australians are setting their alarms to awake in the next few hours to watch the first game against Chile, while I attempt to stay awake into the early hours of the morning.
Friends are posting photos on twitter and Instagram of their preparations for the Australian team’s first kick off - Socceroos jerseys laid out and babies dressed in their first green and gold finery.
Soccer may not be “our” football - but it engages the hearts and minds of many Australians and the global community as they engage, watch, support and cheer for their nation on the world’s largest stage.