KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - Given that David Kuhn proposed to his wife Sandra amidst the euphoria that followed Australia’s qualification for the 2006 tournament, it is perhaps not too surprising the couple wanted to give their daughter an early taste of World Cup fever.
And so it was on Saturday that toddler Emmy was dressed up in a tiny green and gold replica shirt and joined some 10,000 fans from Down Under cheering on the Socceroos in their Group C opener against France.
At 15 months old, Emmy made little contribution to the wall of noise created by the passionate Australians as their team went down 2-1 to the French at Kazan Arena, but that suited mum just fine.
“She slept during half of it so that was good for me. I got to relax and watch the game,” Sandra Kuhn told Reuters.
“And then the second half she was just flirting with everyone around her, she was so good with all the noise and everything.”
Emmy’s parents are hoping they will have a similar experience in Australia’s last two group matches against Denmark and Peru before they make the 13,000 km trip back to their home in Sydney’s beachside suburbs.
The two Socceroos fanatics will also be hoping for a couple of wins for their team as Australia look to get into the knockout stages of the World Cup for only the second time in five attempts.
The second of those five appearances at the finals came 32 years after the first and was secured in 2005 with a win over Uruguay in a penalty shootout at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, a result which was to have lasting consequences for the Kuhns.
“When John Aloisi got his goal to make it to the World Cup, which I never thought would happen, yeah, I proposed to Sandra,” David recalled.
“It all began there, that was our falling in love with the World Cup.”
Sandra remains convinced that the proposal might not have come but for Australia’s win.
“I think he was on such a high, he didn’t realise what he was doing at the time,” she said laughing. “And by the next day he was thinking, ‘Oh God! what have I done?’.”
Writing by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ken Ferris