THE boots are laced, the shin guards securely in place and a sense of anticipation hangs in the air as the coach delivers final instructions.
The dressing shed last Saturday as the Socceroos prepared to take to the pitch against Chile in Brazil? Probably, but it was also the scene across the Coffs Coast as matches in our own 'world cup' kicked off.
Every weekend in winter, kids suit up in Sharks, Tigers, Wolves, Dingoes and Dolphin jerseys and play in the North Coast Football competition.
With more than 4600 registered players in our local competition, the nationalities are as diverse as those represented at the World Cup.
A snapshot on the park at Polwarth Dr last Saturday morning showed a rainbow of nationalities including players of Japanese, Thai, Canadian, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Tongan, Burmese, Irish, American and Aussie origin all playing and trying to emulate their heroes from Cahill and Khedira to Ronaldo and Robin.
Playing a game that crosses continents and cultures, the one thing that unites players is a passion for the sport they call 'the beautiful game'.
And in the early hours of tomorrow, when the Socceroos take on the Netherlands in their second match of the World Cup in Brazil, you can bet there will be young supporters across the Coffs Coast glued to their screens hoping Cahill and the boys in green and gold find the back of the net and get those elusive three points.