While the University of the Republic might have triumphed in the KELME 2019 FISU University World Cup – Football men’s final by scoring the go-ahead goal in extra time, no team captivated and animated the tournament like the boys from the University of Wollongong.
FISU Media caught up with head coach Luke Wilkshire in the locker room immediately after the game. While the 2-1 loss, with the deciding goal coming in the 114th minute of the tightly-contested game, Wilkshire shared his thoughts on the men’s final, Wollongong’s run to the title game, and the future of this inaugural football tournament.
FISU: It took the full measure, it took 120 minutes to decide the game. From your vantage point, how did it all play out?
Wilkshire: Yeah, look its a tough place to be (losing 2-1 in the title game) after having played six games in such a short amount of time. But Uruguay really played the game tonight to their strengths. They took their opportunities.
It was a really tight game. The game could have gone either way. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way today.
FISU: You take home a couple of individual honors, one of these being the FISU Fair Play Award.
Wilkshire: Yeah, look its always nice to get awards. I think, obviously, you want to win it (the entire tournament). That would have been the best award, but obviously it’s nice to get some recognition for the top goalscorer and fair play awards.
Can you tell us a little bit about (team captain and tournament top scorer) Marcus Beattie’s play? What does he mean to this team; what makes Marcus such a special player?
Wilkshire: Look, he’s got a nose for the goal. He’s got energy. His pace, just an all-around great player on a team full of great players. I think having dominated possession in pretty much all our games I think we played some decent football.
How was it knowing you had this event to aim for this year? You’ve known since your continental qualifiers in 2018 that you’d be competing in this tournament.
Wilkshire: We did. We held trials, we had a ten-week preparation leading into this to get the team in peak physical condition and playing the way that we want to play. You know, its been an amazing time. The boys have worked extremely hard and I think they’re just disappointed that they didn’t get the win in the end.
What’s is it about university sports that’s so special? This is the first time we’ve had a global competition of just university football teams going up against fellow university teams.
Wilkshire: Yeah, I think its fantastic. I think its been an amazing tournament. I think it’s been a huge opportunity for these students to play against international teams. I’m sure they’re going to take a lot from this.
Will we see you here in two years?
Wilkshire: Yeah, that’s the plan. We expect to be here overtime the University World Cup is on.