WWC Fan Diary: Beers with the best of them

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To be honest it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll ever have a beer with a founding father of the United States of America, so sharing a cold one with a West Texas petrol engineer decked out in full Samuel Adams regalia is very likely the closest I will get.

Part three of Tom Bell’s tour diary

This, for me, has been one of the best things about the Women’s World Cup.

Meeting people from all over the world in Winnipeg has been unique, eye opening and all kinds of fun. So far the hit list includes democrat supporting Celtic fans from Alabama, long haul driving importers from Germany, Adidas representatives from Stockholm, London sports journalists and, of course, those incredibly humble and earnest Winnipeg locals.

As far as I’m concerned, there are precious few things in life quite as enjoyable as hearing a new story from a new perspective and a new part of the world. Football really can bring together people you would never expect.

Away from that, the few days before Kyah Simon’s finishing master class against Nigeria were spent exploring Winnipeg, taking in the Manitoba legislative building, Assiniboine Park and other sites in a city which seems excessively big for its 663,000 people. I must confess however, that there certainly is beauty in the place where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet, it just takes a little bit of work to find it.

Game day number two was a raucous affair. Beginning again at the excellent Stella’s café – a must if you ever find yourself between west of Ontario – we headed to a pre-game function at a local pub mixing with the players’ families and friends. Special shout outs to the Alleway family and a particularly boisterous NSL championship winning footballer who were all excellent value sharing beers, jokes and the stories of the trials and tribulations that fans of women’s football know only too well.

The nerves were certainly abundant before Lisa De Vanna went and decided she’d had enough of it, driving past a pair of Nigerian defenders before sending through Kyah Simon. Cue relief and then, as we went on to dominate the game, a bit of a celebratory atmosphere.

Special kudos to Alanna Kennedy and Elise Kellond-Knight who might have some work to do to remove some of those Nigerian defenders from their pockets. But really, the effort from all the players was immense.

For now though it’s off to Edmonton, Alberta and that critical final game against Sweden and everything success in that game can bring.

Until next time, Go Matildas!

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