Ten nations had sent representatives, made videos and printed t-shirts in a bid to promote their bids for the 2018 and/or the 2022 World Cups.
Five of them came from the Asian Football Confederation and Goal.com Asia was on hand to collect the goodies and take a look at what the quintet were telling the rest of the world.
In alphabetical order...
Star Power – Nicole Kidman presented the video at the Expo but, unfortunately, wasn’t there in person, FFA CEO Ben Buckley was however.
Nicole Kidman Batting For Australia
Video – Pretty good, fresh and informative. The beaches, the cities, probably a Koala bear or two and the nation’s experience with past sporting events all played a part. The film also earned points for trying to position Australia’s remote location, seen by many as a negative, as a positive – a bridge between Asia and Oceania. Kidman emphasised safety, Australia’s safe pair of hands and promised that it would be the ‘No worries World Cup’.
Pros – After South Africa and Brazil, having no worries may appeal to FIFA. A sporting nation that will do a very good job, never had the tournament before and would help football in a fiercely competitive market. The relaxed folk of Australia would welcome the world.
Cons – That competition is causing domestic infighting between the different sporting codes. The World Cup will need to borrow stadiums from other sports (not always desirable in football) but support from Aussie Rules et al is not yet certain.
Indonesia (2022 only)
Star Power – As yet nothing. FA chief Nurdin Halin was busy in Jakarta, in the words of the bid team, helping the government with its plan to increase exports.
Video – Good and focused on Indonesia’s strengths such as the beauty of the country, the location within South-East Asia, the hospitality of the people and the passion for the beautiful game.
The Indonesians Love Their Football
Pros – The friendliest bid. Also, taking the biggest sporting event in the world to the biggest Muslim nation has its appeal and does the fact that south-east Asia as a whole is crazy about football. It would also do wonders for the country’s standing.
Cons – Infrastructure, football and otherwise, would need serious investment and it is hard to see a mention of Indonesia and 2022 without the word terrorism – the smoke from the July bombings will take time to fade.
Star Power – Not yet. JFA officials are constantly promising big names to promote the big bid but so far, nothing.
Big Names Absent So Far
Video – The worst of the ten (and given England’s effort, that is saying something), not what you would expect from the home of Manga. Japan’s offering was flat and then, to the surprise of journalists, suddenly ended halfway through the allotted four minutes, just after promising to take the World Cup to another dimension.
Pros – Would do a good job. World-class Stadiums, transport, communications and infrastructure are already in place.
Cons – A lack of passion and focus is disappointing but the main problem is the fact that it is not yet eight years since 2002. There also seems to be lukewarm support from the people that matter inside the country.
South Korea (2022 only)
Star Power – Not yet though big names are promised. The Korean FA chief was present for a short time however.
Video – Professional and everything you would expect from a South Korea promotional video: Footage of 2002, Park Ji-sung, cutting-edge technology and the prospect of helping bring peace with North Korea.
FIFA Could Promote Peace On The Peninsula
Pros – Like Japan, could host the competition tomorrow. Fastest internet in the world, great public transport and modern stadia. Games in Pyongyang would also be attractive.
Cons – 2002 is still fresh in the memory, a lack of energy from the Korean FA.
Star Power – Lots. They started by recruiting Saudi Arabian legend Sami Al Jaber then came the worldwide names of Ronald De Boer and Gabriel Batistuta. De Boer was present and happy to talk up the nation's chances.
De Boer Likes Qatar's Chances
Video – Good and talked of dreams and the middle east as a region. Viewers were left with no doubt that a Qatar World Cup would be a very different and interesting prospect
Pros – Would be first ever Middle East World Cup, an idea that FIFA is very interested in, a first opportunity to connect the region with the rest of the world via such a sporting event. Stadiums would be state-of-the-art and probably air-conditioned.
Cons – Weather would still be an issue and questions remains as to whether such a small nation can host such a big event.