Auckland City FC did the business and finished off the FIFA Club World Cup in style, sealing the third spot. How awesome is that? Salute everyone involved, especially Ivan Vicelich who acted as Kiwi as possible upon the podium alongside Sergio Ramos and Christiano Rondaldo ... that smirk, that 'holy cow, I'm next to these lads? Wait, nah fuck these guys we should have showed them what's up' type of smirk. It's beautiful and this image will become an iconic image in due time if it isn't already.
Auckland City could have won, they could have done this, they should have done this or whatever. Shut up, the Aucklanders finished the Club World Cup on an absolute high which is more than enough for me. We love a good old underdog story in Aotearoa, but this is the sort of story that should inspire many for years to come. Hearing the joy, the passion, the determination in Roman Tribulietx's voice should do wonders for football coaches around our land and it's a perfect example that the right style/game plan combined with a team that is all in it together can do whatever they please. It's not just the way Auckland City performed that made you take a step back and admire, but when football teams from New Zealand do crazy shit, we unite. Any time a whole community forms in behind those who represent them, with the highest level of support, it's pretty cool. The rest of the ASB Premiership will swiftly go back to strongly disliking the Jaffa's though, as they should.
Possibly equally as awesome is the news that Kiwi surfer Ricardo Christie has officially been welcomed in to the World Surfing League. In case you don't hang 10, the World Surfing League is the premier surfing tour/competition doing the rounds, so it's a big deal. It was a pretty dramatic wait for Christie, drama that matched the end prize with Alejo Muniz who, had he won would have made Christmas pretty shitty for Christie, finishing 5th - cue celebrations.
What's slightly more mental is that Muniz defeated Kelly Slater in his first heat - cue the widespread nervous poo in pants. Muniz then defeated Mick Fanning, another top dog but was then knocked out by Aussie Adrian Buchan, fair dinkum. To put this in to perspective, the last Kiwi male to compete with the world's best was Maz Quinn who was on the tour for a year. We now have Christie to rally behind, which we shall.
The Big Bash is well and truly under way across the ditch and firstly would you rather smash a whole bunch of KFC or a whole bunch of Georgie Pie pies? I could probably only have one Georgie Pie pie and nor would I want more than one, but could demolish a bucket of KFC which serves as a metaphor about how I feel about the two tournaments. The Big Bash is much closer to must watch cricket, the level of play, the imports, the commentators, the gadgets, it's all infinitely better than the Super Smash. It's easy to say that when Jacques Kallis and Mike Hussy are opening an innings together, against Freddie Flintoff after Kevin Pietersen played the night before against Darren Sammy, but the local talent is so much higher and they know 20/20 cricket so much better than the Kiwis.
But, Dan Vettori is playing once again for the Brisbane Heat. Which is awesome and the fact that he's the only Kiwi currently playing should serve as an exclamation point to the above opinion. I've said it before, Vettori looks the fittest he has ever looked and is bowling as well as he has previously. I reckon Vettori will be a key member of the World Cup squad, so it's going to be interesting to see how he performs in the Big Bash. His first up game was against the Sydney Thunder, who have Kallis and Hussey who smacked it to all parts - Kallis hit 97, Hussey hit 96 but Vettori had the lowest economy rate - 9.25. No wickets but the lowest economy rate, not bad Danny.