Australia can host Cup: Yorke
Former Sydney FC star Dwight Yorke says Australia have a chance of successfully winning their bid to stage the 2022 Football World Cup - but they need to improve the A-League's standard.
The Trinidadian international and ex-Manchester United striker returns to Australia for a farewell appearance with Sydney FC in their July 10 friendly against English Premier League side Everton at ANZ Stadium.
Yorke, 38, had a successful stint as Sydney's marquee player, helping the club to win the inaugural A-League title.
The acclaimed forward said Australia's climate, multicultural populations, stadia and facilities gave it a chance of hosting the 2022 World Cup.
Yorke said the A-League was trying hard to match the established Australian sports like cricket, rugby league and the AFL and suggested a stronger domestic football competition would boost the World Cup bid.
"The need to emphasise a little bit more on domestic football in terms of getting the levels up and teams doing well in the Asian Champions League (will help)," Yorke told reporters.
"I'm sure there's progress being made, but you just need to have a league that is really challenging on all fronts to try and attract football to get there in 2022.
"You have a chance like everybody else. You've got the facilities and the stadiums, you have everything going for you."
Working as a media analyst at the current World Cup, Yorke said Australia deserved some credit after a rocky start to their campaign.
The Socceroos crashed 4-0 to Germany in their group opener and were eliminated on goal difference after much improved performances in a 1-1 draw with Ghana, and a 2-1 win over Serbia.
"The last two games, the draw and the win, towards the end showed that age is not really a factor, you just have to have the commitment from the players," Yorke said.
While admitting the World Cup had been disappointing from a technical perspective, Yorke felt some of the fancied teams, presumably France and England, had paid a price for internal dissension.
A big fan of Brazil, he felt they were the team to beat, with Argentina and Germany, who meet in a quarter-final this week, the only other major contenders.
Although he has played just a couple of charity matches in the last seven or eight months, Yorke said he felt in "pretty good nick" and hoped to play all of Sydney's game against Everton.
Yorke said he continued to get regular phone calls from friends in Australia, where he "felt the love again for football" after coming to Sydney at a low period in his career.