From: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
David Beckham scored a classic goal from a swerving free kick but it wasn't enough to prevent the L.A. Galaxy going down 5-3 to Sydney F.C. in front of 80,000 people at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney tonight.
It was an exhibition game but Beckham won respect by playing out the whole 90 minutes despite taking a knock to the ankle in the first half which left him looking injured for some time. The game and associated Beckham-based media frenzy generated a fair bit of cynicism here but turned out to be a huge financial and marketing success for Football Federation Australia.
After decades of incompetent leadership, riven by ethnic tensions, the administration of soccer in Australia was put on a professional basis several years ago and the revamped national competition, the A League, is rapidly improving, generating growing revenues and attracting overseas players (including Australians wanting to finish their careers at home). The new administration is credited with helping Australia to qualify for the last World Cup where we were only denied a semi-final against Germany by a last gasp penalty against Italy.