The NSW government has announced that pubs and clubs will be allowed to stay open until the early hours of Thursday morning to allow fans to watch the Socceroos take on Denmark at the World Cup. Australia will take to the pitch at 2am AEDT on Thursday morning, only needing a draw to advance to the knockout stages.
And football fans in Sydney will be able to watch the action at their local pub or club into the wee hours of the morning. Licensed NSW venues will be allowed to stay open if they are broadcasting the do-or-die match from Qatar.
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The NSW government announced on Monday that is has extended trading hours from midnight on Wednesday to 5am on Thursday for the do-or-die game that will decide who will progress to the next round alongside France. If Australia secure a win or a draw they will advance out of the group stage for just the second time in history, but a loss to Denmark will send them home.
NSW Hospitality Minister Kevin Anderson said the FIFA World Cup was one of the biggest global sporting events, with more than half the world tuning in for the last one in 2018. "With these extended trading hours, fans will be able to gather at their local hotel or club to cheer the Socceroos to victory," he said on Monday.
Trading hours will also be extended for future Socceroos' matches if Australia manage to progress beyond the group stage. Extended trading will also apply for the final, with venues able to open from 10pm on December 18 to 5am on December 19.
The Socceroos are currently in second place in their group on three points, with France already qualifying for the next round on six points. Denmark and Tunisia are behind on one. If Australia win or draw against Denmark, they would join the 2006 team as the only Socceroos sides to progress to the knockout portion of a World Cup.
"Every four years when the Socceroos make the World Cup the whole nation is behind them," coach Graham Arnold told Sydney radio station 2GB on Monday. "Rugby league fans, and AFL fans, cricket fans they all become football fans for that tournament."
This shouldn’t come as a surprise for one of Australia’s most popular national sporting teams the @socceroos. Almost 2 million people tuned in and not counting the thousands of watch parties & gatherings at pubs / venues @sophieelsworth #Socceroos #AllForTheSocceroos #GiveIt100 https://t.co/YJnQfZzRHU
— Peter Filopoulos (@peterfilopoulos) November 27, 2022
Including all the pubs, screenings, not to mention the numbers at Fed Square. Way more than the number on the post.
— Not Enough Money FC (@nomoneyfc) November 27, 2022
Socceroos not getting carried away before Denmark clash
Speaking after Australia's 1-0 win over Tunisia, Arnold said his side had achieved nothing yet. The coach reminded his players that the biggest task was yet to come.
"It's a moment they'll remember for the rest of their lives," Arnold said about his players. "I just want them to enjoy. That is what I said to the boys before the game: let's put a smile on the nation's face.
"There's one or two teams that bring the nation together and that's the Socceroos and the Matildas. When the Socceroos play at the World Cups, AFL fans, rugby league fans, they will become football fans. I can imagine the celebrations going on back home ... there will be a few hangovers in the morning."
But he added: "When I got the boys in a circle after the game, I told them: 'I'm very proud but we have achieved nothing at the moment'. We can talk after about a win that hasn't been done for 12 years, but we're here to go as far as we can go.
"That one game is done and I don't want any notion from the players. I don't want them sitting up all night looking at social media and all that stuff. It's about sleeping well, recovering well and getting the mindset ready for Denmark."
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