FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy tours NZ's best locations
FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy tours New Zealand's best locations
28 May 2014
Like other visiting celebrities, the FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy has been on tour to some of New Zealand's most picturesque locations - including the alpine resort of Queenstown where it has just wrapped up the South Island leg of a nationwide tour.
Since the moving official welcome to the sacred shores of Waitangi - the birthplace of modern New Zealand - the trophy has been on a whirlwind tour of the North Island, visiting schools, football clubs and notable tourist destinations.
From the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, the trophy travelled to the South Island. The trophy tour made quite an impact during a stop at Christchurch, continuing to thrill and inspire football fans of all ages - along with New Zealand football international Ben Sigmund.
New Zealand is set to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015 (30 May - 20 June) with seven host cities - Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin - ready to enjoy a slice of the world-attention-grabbing football action.
After making a huge impression at Christchurch and Dunedin, the trophy headed even further south where it was snapped in front of Gore’s big brown trout - a statue celebrating the town's status as New Zealand's ‘Brown Trout Capital'.
From Gore, the trophy travelled to the alpine resort town of Queenstown where an early snowfall is already setting the scene for the 2014 winter ski season.
The football fanfare is likely to reach fever-pitch this week with events planned in Auckland and Wellington, celebrating the one-year-to-go mark before the start of the tournament on 30 May 2015.
"When organising a global event of this magnitude, a year is nothing. It will go by in a flash and with FIFA World Cup about to kick-off in Brazil, we are excited about the football fever that is kicking in across the country," said Dave Beeche, CEO of FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.
The Auckland event is set to carry on into the night during the New Zealand All Whites international friendly clash with South Africa at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium (30.05.2014).
Hailed as one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the FIFA U-20 World Cup will see 24 international teams take part in 52 matches, in seven host cities around New Zealand, looking to become the crowned champions.
Broadcast to more than 1000 countries, with a global reach of around 170 million people, the tournament has been a launching pad for some of the biggest names in the global game and an opportunity for spectators to experience their personal ‘I-was-there' moment.
It will also give international visitors the chance to explore New Zealand, with plenty of action and entertainment on and off the pitch. Public sales for tickets to the tournament open on 13 June, coinciding with the start of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Watch a clip of the FIFA U-20 Trophy Tour in action