Newly-married Australian defender Josh Risdon swopping honeymoon for World Cup duties
Kazan (Russia) (AFP) - There’s only one thing better than the post-wedding bliss of a relaxing honeymoon: playing at the World Cup, says Australia defender Josh Risdon.
“I guess there’s no better place to be, except for the honeymoon, after a wedding,” Risdon told media on Tuesday at the Socceroos’ training camp in Kazan on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s World Cup opener against France.
The 25-year-old was still unsure of being named in Bert van Marwijk’s final 23-man squad for Russia when he left his wife the day after their wedding for a pre-World Cup training camp.
Having previously admitted he “didn’t think it would be so hard to leave my wife that soon after”, Risdon made sure his “sacrifice” wasn’t all for nothing.
The Western Sydney Wanderers defender impressed Dutch coach van Marwijk during the Socceroos’ camp in Turkey, and played in both of their pre-World Cup friendlies against the Czech Republic (4-0) and Hungary (2-1).
But it meant Risdon and his wife had to make a late change of plans.
“Obviously that was always in the back of my mind, when we planned our wedding, that it was going to come around the time of the World Cup,” he explained.
“We were fully prepared that we might have to wait to have our honeymoon.
“My wife was fully supportive and knew the sacrifice that I was willing to make, and she was as well.
“So the honeymoon’s on hold, but after this is all done or dusted I’m sure we can have a couple of weeks to celebrate that.”
Australia are seeking to show the world that under van Marwijk, who led the Netherlands to the final in 2010, they can punch above their weight in a Group C that also includes Peru and Denmark.
Vying to play at right-back against Euro 2016 finalists France at Kazan Arena on Saturday, Risdon admitted: “It’s going to be a tough one to kick off our campaign.”
But newly-married and set to make his World Cup debut, he added: “It’s an exciting time for myself, obviously getting married and now the World Cup.
“It’s been a big six weeks for me. I’m just trying to soak it in… because it’s a fantastic time in my life and I’m just trying to enjoy it.”