Bid boss Frank Lowy believes Australia’s prospects of staging the World Cup may have increased on the eve of the hosting announcement in Zurich.
Lowy was pleased with Australia’s 25-minute performance as bidders for the 2022 tournament delivered their final presentations to the 22-strong FIFA ruling panel who will make the decision on Thursday (early Friday AEDT).
SBS will broadcast LIVE the announcement of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups at 1.55am AEDT on Friday 3 December on SBS ONE and online at 深圳夜生活,sbs深圳夜生活会所,深圳桑拿网,/theworldgame.
When asked on about Australia’s chances of winning enough votes, he said: “I think if anything, they have increased.”
Lowy then set off to continue his efforts on Wednesday night to shore up support in the final hours of the campaign.
How does the bidding process work?
Australia opened the presentations in a light-hearted manner with a film pulling out larrikin actor Paul Hogan, who pursued a World Cup-snatching cartoon kangaroo across the wide brown land.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard opened the chase scene by swinging around in her chair and saying: “We want the World Cup but not that way.”
Crocodile Dundee star Hogan, clad in a Mad Max-type outfit, finally catches up with the light-fingered marsupial with the World Cup in her pouch at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.
After lifting off his helmet to show his face, he says: “Come on, hand it over, you have had your fun. I am taking it back to FIFA.”
Lowy made a passionate plea to FIFA powerbrokers to hand Australia the quadrennial event, drawing on the nation’s strengths and his own rags to riches story since arriving in Australia nearly 60 years ago.
“One thing that cannot be put on paper, it is emotions,” he said.
“You can see how emotional I am about the game, you will see how emotional Australia is about the game.”
“Human emotions and those emotions in Australia … nothing will demonstrate that more if we see that beautiful round ball kicked around (in the World Cup in Australia).”
He felt he received a warm reception from the FIFA delegates and he appeared to command the room as well as any other speaker on the day.
“As I was walking off some of the executive committee members got up and shook my hand,” he said.
“I felt they were impressed with the presentation. It would be difficult not to be even if I say so myself.”
Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley and Governor-General Quentin Bryce opened the Phillip Noyce-directed show that included cameos from Hugh Jackman, Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe.
Supermodel Elle Macpherson made a brief appearance on stage after managing to get a flight out of snow-bound London on Wednesday morning.
If she did not impress the exclusively male FIFA executive committee with an average age of more than 60, then Lowy must have as the towering Macpherson hugged him tightly and said what a “hero” he was in Australia.
“This is my first prize,” he said gesturing towards Macpherson, dressed in a demure black dress.
“Second prize, we win the World Cup in 22.”
Lowy believed the presence of Macpherson, whose mother used to work for Lowy’s company Westfield, had lifted the mood of FIFA powerbrokers.
Asked if they were smiling, he said: “I think so but can you be cranky and look at her.”