Sydney is abuzz with excitement as thousands of England football fans pour through the city’s airport and pack into hotel lobbies, pubs and outdoor screens to cheer the Lionesses in the Women’s World Cup final.
Sinead Disney, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, secured tickets to the final a couple of months ago not knowing if the Lionesses would be dealt a dream draw and deliver on a top two finish.
“It couldn’t have gone any better for me,” said the Liverpool FC fan, who flew Down Under solely for the 2023 World Cup.
“I have friends who live in Sydney, so this was a great opportunity to visit while witnessing the finals stage of the biggest women’s football event in the world,” she added.
Joining the 82,500 strong sold-out crowd among what is expected to be a largely parochial English crowd is the ultimate way for Ms Disney to spend her final night in Australia.
Having already ticked off Sydney’s most iconic attractions – the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, not to mention an English pub or two – Ms Disney and her football mad crew will be celebrating tonight before, during and after the game on Sunday.
“I’m flying home tomorrow, so I can’t party too hard tonight, but I’ll definitely make up for it when I get back to the UK,” she added.
“It’s also my birthday, what a great present it would be to see our girls claim the trophy.”
Despite the rivalry the host nation and England are renowned for when it comes to sport, the sentiment ahead of the final is mostly one of respect.
British expat Daniel Scott, who has lived in Australia on and off for 26 years, said he will be more comfortable cheering on the Lionesses tonight than he was when England and Australia squared off in the semi-final on Wednesday.
“I’m sorry to say this, but it’s this kind of Dingo-ism as I call it that I’ve experienced in Australia that made me get rid of my Aussie sporting allegiance,” he said.
“I just feel like there is a bit of xenophobia attached to the sport and unfortunately, it’s one of the negative aspects of Australia.
“That aside, I am so proud of the Lionesses… to do what they’ve done is just extraordinary.”
Such is his passion for the world game, Mr Scott sat on the Fifa website for 10 hours in a bid to secure tickets to the final.
“It’s going to be a huge night, and I get emotional just thinking about it,” said the father-of-two, whose daughters are heavily involved in football.
“The thing that gladdens my heart the most as an absolute football tragic is the effect the World Cup has had on football especially in Australia.”