World Cup Anticipation Has Arrived Whether You Like It Or Not

World Cup is around the corner, literally days away yet I can’t help but feel no excitement what so ever, maybe because I’m writing this from a cafe in Leichhardt, the Italian capital of Sydney…too soon?

I shouldn’t talk, last time my beloved Macedonia was part of the World Cup was when Yugoslavia was still a thing, good times. Now I resort to cheering on our other Balkan countries who have qualified because why the hell not, “Brotherhood”. But we’ll return one day…DON’T LAUGH!

But in all honesty, it really does not feel like we’re going to the World Cup, does it? Can’t tell if I’m right, is there really no advertisement or am I just blind? Our nation is going to the World Cup, Yes; let me say it again but this time a little louder for the people in the back…

WE’RE GOING TO THE FIFA WORLD CUP!

One of our greatest achievements in sporting for Australia and no one knows nor cares outside the white lines of a football pitch. Once again, advertisement for the beautiful game has been shoved aside so much, that our entire country still may only know ONE Socceroo off by heart and that is our lord and saviour, Tim ’scores more with his forehead than his foot’ Cahill.

Our country is on the world stage, up against European powerhouses, world class superstars, God’s of football such as Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, or in our case, in our own group, “FRANCE”! Faces of elite clubs like Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud! These are BIG NAMES in football and France is one hell of a country (for food and football). Not only that, worthy opponents, Denmark and Peru are also ready for war.

Qualifying and being able to play in a competition this big, to play against players such as ones listed above and many more is an honour, yet no one knows unless you watch football religiously. Flyers are no where to be seen, billboards are rare or non-existent, you get a commercial once in a blue moon if you’re LUCKY (or if you’re watching SBS), LIVE sights are JUST starting to pop up in a few places around the city and we’re STILL WAITING FOR A RESPONSE VIDEO TO PERU FROM THE FFA!

Where is the passion, where is the drive!? WHERE IS MY FREE SOCCEROOS CAR FLAG AND SCARF THAT COMES WITH THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD LIKE IT DID BACK IN 2010!? Point is, I’m still excited…but mildly. It probably won’t kick in until Mathew Leckie scores one against France, giving us the lead which will result in me running around The Sports Bar, cheering and quoting the words “F***ing fight me c***” and then being asked to leave the establishment. But here’s hoping our community pumps each other up, we sing as one and make ourselves known because no one else is going to do it for us *cough*FFA*cough*.

So Saturday night at 8pm, throw on your jersey, throw on your scarf, the boys in green and gold need us as much as we need them. This is our country, and we’ve worked way too hard to let it all go by like it doesn’t matter. This game we play in the rain and on cold mornings where the frost still clings to the grass or on heated afternoons when the sun goes down gradually and the sun sets on the field, the football gods smiling down on the next generation.

We play it on our beaches and our countryside’s, From West to East, North to South. From Synthetic fields to dirt and dust, from the streets to the stadiums, metal goalposts or bunched up hoodies and school bags placed on either side to make do with whatever you could. And to the young kid from the West of Sydney who practices his penalties even after the sunsets, dreaming of one day sending his nation to the World Cup like John Aloisi did …This game of football is ours too, we need to own it. Shall we show France how the green and gold dance? …. (And pray we don’t have 2 left feet) And may Johnny, Les and the football gods bless us as we eagerly wait for another ‘I told you so’ moment to write into our history books.

by Christina Trajceska

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