A HUGE NIGHT of football festivity is expected this Saturday when fans across TWT Territory converge at ELS Hall Park ‘Live Site’ in North Ryde to cheer on the Socceroos as they kick-off their FIFA World Cup finals campaign in Russia.
City of Ryde Mayor, Jerome Laxale, said he was delighted the Ryde community had a chance to come together and cheer on Australia in the biggest sporting tournament in the world.
“The growth in popularity of football throughout Ryde is clear for all to see, so it’s only fitting that Council can put on this live site and provide people of all ages the chance to watch Australia begin their World Cup campaign,” Clr Laxale said.
“There will be fun activities for the kids, great food for everyone and of course some great football to witness, so I encourage everyone to get down to ELS Hall Park on Saturday.”
Australia faces a formidable challenge in its first-up encounter with world football powerhouse, France, kicking off at 8pm (AEST) with all the action to be showcased on a huge screen.
But the festivities will get underway at 6pm at ELS Hall Park, with family-friendly activities taking place to complement the sporting action.
After initial fears that weather would jeopardise the event, the planets have aligned for the City of Ryde with forecasts all but eliminating the chance of rain and controversy over ticketing costs at another outdoor World Cup event in Parramatta providing a much-needed boost for Ryde’s free event.
City of Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale and members of the local football community get a feel for ELS Hall Park ahead of this Saturday’s World Cup ‘Live Site’ event to mark the start of the Socceroos’ campaign -a showdown with global football powerhouse France, kicking off at 8pm.
A range of fun activities for the children will include Dart Ball, Snooker Feet and face painting, while there will also be food trucks, including Brades Burgers, Pizza Event and the Salvation Army Community Coffee Van.
Patrons are also being encouraged by the City of Ryde to bring their own drink bottle to take advantage of the filtered water stations that will be on-hand.
“In addition, a number of heaters will be on-site at the venue to ensure patrons can stay warm throughout the match,” the City of Ryde said.
“There is a contingency plan in place in the event of rain, with the live site to move into the indoor sporting complex, which is adjacent to the outdoor sporting field at ELS Hall Park.”
The late kick-off times had forced the City of Ryde to abandon initial plans to screen all three matches at its live site.
Football’s rapidly-growing local community and new fans of the game can expect an unprecedented number of options to watch the 64 matches across 12 venues in 11 cities, while also supporting local businesses and clubs.
Event Cinemas across Australia – including Top Ryde – will be screening all of Australia’s games, including the two other group stage matches, against Denmark (June 21, 10pm) and Peru (June 26, midnight), with cinema entry an hour before kick-off.
Gladesville Sporties is another option, with its sports bar to screen “all the 2018 World Cup action”, while Eastwood St Andrews FC is promoting Club Eastwood as the go-to venue for the Socceroos’ opener against France.
And The Ranch Hotel in North Ryde is cheekily promoting itself a “live site” to catch all of the tournament’s matches.
Australia will need to be in the top two of its group of four to proceed to the knockout phase, with the final set down for July 14 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium (July 15, 1am AEST)
The FIFA World Cup in Russia officially gets underway on June 14 with hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia (June 15, 1am AEST).
Meanwhile, with unprecedented growth in player numbers across Gladesville Hornsby Football Association’s clubs, there are other signs that TWT Territory’s youth are preparing for the football bonanza with local Caltex stations – including North Ryde’s ‘Cahilltex’ – regularly selling out of Socceroo swap cards.
And there are reports that local school children are actively engaged in collecting and swapping the iconic Panini World Cup stickers.