Thursday night, we joined the staff for our formal referee dinner at the FIFA headquarters. We were joined by the chairman of the WWC organizing committee, Mr. Worawi Makudi (Thailand). Everyone looked dapper in their formal FIFA suit. We indulged in a 4 course meal with the best part being the final course.
We finished dinner around 10pm and headed to the river front for a little sightseeing including one of the more recognizable buildings in the Shanghai skyline, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower (seen in the picture below).
As usual, we had a training session Friday morning. Since Thursday was light training, Friday was a bit more rigorous. Sunshine covered the sky and the heat continued to increase. We did not have practical training Friday morning as the instructors were meeting with the teams today to refresh and discuss match specifics for the tournament.
The training portion of the tournament is coming to a close and soon the matches will begin. We are all excited for the opening ceremonies on Monday.
Friday, the 7th started with some speed agility training on a hot and humid day; a great way to loosen the legs as we move from the fitness and test portion of this experience on to pure game preparation.
Following lunch, the big moment, the first round of assignments were announced for matches 1-8. The opening match will be officiated by a team from the Asian Football Federation, the Australian team. The 2nd match of the tournament, Japan vs. England will be officiated by the CONCACAF crew of Kari Seitz, Isabel Tovar (Mex), Rita Munoz (Mex) and Jen Bennett in Shanghai on Tuesday the 11th. We are looking forward to a fantastic match on Tuesday. For those interested in watching the match, refer to the link below for the broadcast schedule.
Following the much anticipated assignments, the referees headed off to Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium to receive our credentials.
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to grab a peak of the final preparations for the WWC opening ceremony. What a great treat! We were able to spend time with some very enthusiastic little girls ready to play “Mulan”, the WWC mascot. The girls soaked up the attention and gladly posed for numerous photos.
Following this inspiring and motivating visit we headed over to a dinner at the Convention Center hosted by the WWC Local Organizing committee, where we were treated to Chinese food and special Chinese entertainment.
All of the preparations are in place and China is ready to kick-off the WWC 2007.