ALL THE colours of the world were on display in Inverell yesterday as the Joeys Mini World Cup kicked off.
The four- day carnival, now in its fourth year, has an even bigger global flavour to it as not only did the New Zealand women return to defend their title, but a team from Germany has spent 40 hours travelling to take part in the event.
The internationals got off to a mixed start, as the Kiwi contingent who were favourites to win the cup were upset in the opening game by Harristown (Japan), whilst the Germans put on a clinical second half to defeat the Demon Knights (Argentina), before almost going down to Muswellbrook (Brazil).
The Waikato (Kiwi) team is coached by Englishman Alan Witt who was disappointed by the first-up loss although pleased with the side after it turned it around to beat the hosts (Brazil) 4-nil in the second game.
“It is really well organised and the skill level has improved so I don’t mind losing to a good side,” Witt said.
Last year the Kiwis went through undefeated, although are fielding a slightly weaker team this time around, especially with the loss of Kiwi international Helen Collins who scored 25 goals last year.
“We love coming over here and being involved in an event like this,” Witt said.
“We get a bit of banter about being a Kiwi team with a Pommy coach but I like that.”
The German side is from a sports school in Frankfurt and showed that ruthless touch in the first game.
Whilst it took a while to crack the Armidale side’s defence, once they did they piled the goals in with a 5-nil win.
Demon Knights barely troubled the German keeper who is currently trialling for European giants Bayern Munich.
In their second encounter, the tourists found themselves down 2-nil at half time against the Brazilians from Muswellbrook, before turning it around to sneak away with a 2-2 draw.
The quality side thinks the tournament is a great idea, although is struggling with the pitch, as Inverell doesn’t boast a flat artificial surface like its home ground.
There is also a lot of concern in the tourists’ camp about a spider that is in the toilet at Copeton Dam, where the team is staying.
The World Cup has attracted 37 teams locally, interstate and international, with all of them getting their quest for the cup underway yesterday.
There will be another day of pool games today before a rest day on Wednesday with all four divisions finishing on Friday with a World Cup final, as well as shield and plate play-offs for the other sides.
The event has not only brought an international flavour to the sapphire city but has also brought over 2000 people, with accommodation booked out in the town, teams even staying as far away as Uralla and Guyra.