The momentum generated by Australia’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup and the upcoming sold-out friendlies involving Manchester United and Liverpool can be captured and transferred to the A-League, according to FFA chief executive David Gallop.

Having just seen over 80,000 attend the final World Cup qualifier in Sydney against Iraq, some 100,000 are set to pack into the MCG for the match between Liverpool and Melbourne Victory on July 24, just four days after ANZ Stadium hosts the A-League All-Stars clash against Manchester United.

Another 80,000-plus crowd is expected for that game, with the match against the reigning English Premier League champions also being broadcast on Channel Seven – the first live football match on the network, outside the Olympics, in over a decade.

With the sport already riding a huge wave after the most successful A-League season on record, Gallop – speaking at the kit launch for the All-Stars – said the tide of goodwill needed funnelling into the next year and beyond.

“The momentum is great to see but the task for us now is to maximise this very unique opportunity. There’s still hard work that needs to be done to make sure that we come out of this period with the game in a better position,” he told Fairfax Media.

“That goes for all that lies ahead – the A-League season in particular, but also the Asian Cup and, obviously Brazil. The opportunities are ahead of us, and they are considerable, but we can’t become complacent about the current state.”

Gallop described World Cup qualification as putting a “halo” around football that would glow for the next year. “I definitely think there’s a halo around the game and there’s something magical about making it to a World Cup in Brazil,” he said.

“It’s a country with a certain mystique about it, not just for football fans, but as a destination. It’s not somewhere Australians normally travel to when compared to Europe, Asia or the US. There’s a magic around this next 12 months and it’s putting a halo around the whole game and the A-League is included in that.”

There were more than a few nervous moments on the final night against Iraq, however, as the Socceroos battled to overcome an opponent determined to spoil what proved to be a national celebration.

“The period between the 70th and the 80th minute was pretty agonising. We were certainly starting to contemplate cancelling some of the things we had planned,” Gallop said. “You can only imagine the sense of elation we had when Josh’s [Kennedy] header hit the back of the next. It was quite something to be a part of and being in the dressing room afterwards was an unbelievable experience.”

Yet despite the overwhelming emotions on the night, Gallop still wouldn’t back away from his suggestion made prior to the match that World Cup qualification was more a luxury than a necessity. “The point is still valid and I still believe it,” he said.

“World Cup qualification is not boom or bust for the game in this country. It’s still a massive achievement to be going to Brazil and this is the world’s biggest event. I just think the game is now standing on its own two feet.”

In the lead-up to the final three matches of qualifying this month, there was major internal concern that the Socceroos had fallen out of favour with the public.

However, Gallop believes they’ve now won back the trust of the masses. “We’ve talked a lot in the past few months about reinvigorating the mojo of the Socceroos and they’ve gone a long way to doing that with the way they’ve conducted themselves,” he said.

‘‘Clearly, winning is a huge part of that but it’s about more than the 90 minutes on the pitch. It’s about engaging in a meaningful way. It’s a credit to the players for the way they did that.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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