After following international footy for some time, and reporting on it in detail for over a year, it was a pleasure to meet so many people I have dealt with by email, online forums and phone. It was also great to see the Cup in the flesh having been unable to attend the inaugural 2002 event.
So many people have expressed opinions, mostly positive but some negative, about the Cup and its role in football and whether the AFL should do more. Having read such comments here and elsewhere, and seen the tournament first hand, and debated and discussed the issues for some time now, including during the event with many other international footy supporters, I thought it would be a good opportunity to offer my own opinions about the 2005 Cup - hopefully well-founded thoughts but nevertheless just personal opinions.
The Samoan Bulldogs overcame inaccurate kicking and a committed Great Britain Bulldogs outfit to finish the tournament on a high note and secure fifth place in their final match of the 2005 International Cup (on August 13th).
In their final seeding match of the 2005 International Cup, at Optus Oval last Saturday 13th August, the Samurai were finally able to get their running game going to find space and use precision passing to cut a swathe through the embattled Spanish side.
World Footy News hopes you've enjoyed our coverage of the 2005 Australian Football International Cup. What we have provided would not have been possible without the assistance of many people from around the world. We would like to encourage all our readers to visit the primary websites of the other countries involved in the Cup. The sites will vary in coverage depth, depending on the resources available to them, e.g. Ireland's prime mover is in fact a player, so he obviously had his hands full during the tournament and had more to worry about than a website. Here we list all country sites of the participating nations. And visit our Links section for other countries too.
Team Canada broke their 2005 International Cup drought with a comfortable win over the much improved South Africans, although not without a scare in the third quarter. This was despite resting some of their better players such as gutsy midfielder Jason Robinson to give everyone a fair run in the series.
The following are the official AFL scores, best players and goalkickers for the final round of matches at the 2005 International Cup. Also listed are the final rankings for each country. Later we'll do an indepth analysis of how the countries have gone compared with 2002 and look at where the tournament may go in future.
New Zealand held off Papua New Guinea to win the 2005 Australian Football International Cup this evening, running out 7.8.50 to 5.2.32 winners.
With a crowd of international footy diehards and earlybirds starting to filter in for the Carlton-Collingwood match, New Zealand and PNG lined up with their respective war dances, then hit the ground with some very tough, physical football in the first ten minutes.
New Zealand kept the ball in their forward line for most of the start of the match, but pressure from PNG left the Falcons unable to get clean posessions and the Mozzies eventually broke through for the first goal of the game when after a quick break down the ground Dominic Livuana received a handpass out of the pack in close and converted.
News in today is that pay TV station FOXFooty will record tonight's International Cup Grand Final between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, and it will air in Australia in the coming weeks. This also means the footage should be available to the wider footy community, possibly on DVD or the AFL website, in future.