there are any sports fans who still think that the internet hasn’t
really “arrived” as a pivotal medium in this country, then today’s mad
scramble for
World Cup soccer tickets should have changed their minds.

Tickets were sold on a first-come, first-serve basis from 9
this morning. You could – at least in theory – email, fax or mail in your
application form. But if you chose either of the latter two modes of delivery,
odds are you were going to miss out.

No, for all intents and purposes, this was an email-only process. With only
around 8,500 tickets on offer in total
for Australia’s three matches (that’s around 2,500-2,800 at most per match), and
with well over 30,000 people having downloaded the application form yesterday,
anyone relying on “old” methods of communication wouldn’t have had a hope.

If you posted the application yesterday, all tickets would have been well and
truly gone by the time the mail arrived. The first few people to fax might have
had success, but the delays of phone lines and the time physically needed for a
fax to go through would have cost valuable seconds in a race where time was

There were no phone bookings taken. No in-person queuing, either. Only email
could allow you to send your application pretty much on the dot of 9am.

That’s what I did this morning, my application shooting out into cyberspace (at
9.00.04am) after an impossibly tense wait for the clock to tick over that
caused almost as many stomach knots as that
penalty shoot-out a month ago.

Now, like thousands of other Australian soccer fans today, I just have to sit
and wait. And try not to fret too much about the fact that I was four seconds
late. Four seconds? When success or
failure comes down to that kind of fine measurement, fax and snail mail don’t
stand a chance.