Elvin wrote:Maybe she prefers to admire when other people aren't looking
Becks mania sweeps Sydney
Sports administrators in Australia would have said you were dreaming if you had suggested a few years ago that 80,000 people would turn up on an overcast Tuesday evening to watch a game of soccer.
In Sydney last night, a sell-out crowd attended what was an international club friendly. The enormous turn-out revealed the growing popularity of soccer, an insight into the minds of female fans, and the crowd-pulling ability of just one player.
They came from all around to watch a match that carried no competition points for either side. But this crowd was not rallying to support a team. Spectators said this match was all about David Beckham.
"Can you see my t-shirt? Beckham, Team Beckham. Oh my gosh," one said.
"He's hot and he is a good player, he's got skills bro, he's got skills."
"He is kind of in a way, my idol," another female supporter said.
Others still said Beckham's looks were the major attraction.
"I have never seen him play, but I've heard his is an absolute like, genius. So, it's nice to see those sort of people play. And maybe in the hope that he takes his shirt off half way through," a hopeful female fan said.
Hip pocket sting
It was not until the end of the match that Beckham removed his shirt. Although with the cost of entry, food and merchandise, it was clear some spectators felt like they would be shirtless by the end of the night.
One family in the crowd, who flew to Sydney from Queensland for the game, learned the cost of merchandise really added to the initial ticket price.
"We bought the boys a t-shirt each, and a hat and our two girls at home a hat each... [it cost] about $180," one mother said.
The game itself began at a cracking pace. Sydney FC scored the first three goals in quick succession.
It was nearly half-time before Beckham responded with the shot the entire crowd was waiting to see. He curled a 25-metre free kick into the top right corner of the net.
Television commentators likened the goal to a miracle.
"He moves in, there's the shot. Oh, it's in! Beckham! He does walk on water. What a goal!"
For a game described as "a friendly", it was a fiery clash.
By the end of the game, LA Galaxy had only 10 men left. Australian referee Mark Shield showed Galaxy defender Kevin Harmse his second yellow card in the 76th minute for stomping on the arm of Sydney forward Adam Biddle.
In the first half, Harmse had been at the centre of a shoving match between the two sides. And just 27 minutes into the game, Beckham was knocked over by Sydney midfielder, Brendon Santalab.
"I was worried at first because I felt as if I'd twisted my ankle again and thankfully it wasn't as bad," he said.
"It just got caught under the guy that slid in."
In the end, the LA Galaxy lost to Sydney FC 5 - 3.
"I knew that they had talent in their team, and I knew that their coach wanted them to play football. We knew it was going to be a difficult game and it proved [to be] that," Beckham said.
The big game is now over but the Beckham roadshow hasn't left town yet. He will launch a new Beckham brand fragrance today, before flying to New Zealand to play another exhibition match.
Soccer administrators here are hoping the Beckham brand will give the sport a much needed boost, long after he is gone.
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