Sleepless Sydney football fans will be able to watch the Socceroos play their vital World Cup match against Denmark in the early hours at their local pub or club.
Licensed New South Wales venues will be allowed to stay open if they are broadcasting the do-or-die match from Qatar, which kicks off at 2am AEDT on Thursday.
The NSW government has extended trading hours from midnight on Wednesday to 5am on Thursday for the game.
Australia’s 1-0 win against Tunisia in Doha on the weekend has placed the nation on the brink of qualifying for the knockout phase of the cup for only the second time.
If the team beats or draws with Denmark, the coach, Graham Arnold, will join his Dutch-born mentor Guus Hiddink who in 2006 in steered the Socceroos out of their group.
“Every four years when the Socceroos make the World Cup the whole nation is behind them,” Arnold told Sydney radio station 2GB on Monday.
“Rugby league fans, and AFL fans, cricket fans they all become football fans for that tournament,” he said.
The NSW hospitality minister, Kevin Anderson, said the Fifa World Cup was one of the biggest global sporting events, with more than half the world tuning in for the last one in 2018.
“With these extended trading hours, fans will be able to gather at their local hotel or club to cheer the Socceroos to victory,” he said.
Trading hours will be extended for future Socceroos matches if Australia progresses beyond the group stage.
Extended trading will apply for the final, with venues able to open from 10pm on 18 December to 5am on 19 December.
Western Australia has also announced it would allow venues to remain open to show World Cup matches.
Venues have been able to apply for a “one-off extended trading permit” to show the games, and to trade until 30 minutes after the conclusion of the match.
The WA racing and gaming minister, Tony Buti, said it was an opportunity to share in one of the world’s biggest events. “Many of the games start outside of normal pub or bar hours, which is rarely a deterrent for a dedicated football fan, so we hope everyone makes the most of the opportunity,” he said.
“This is also great for tourists, as there’s nothing better than finding somewhere in a foreign city to tune in and watch your team.
Thursday’s match will also be shown at Federation Square in Melbourne, where the previous two group games were shown and attracted raucous crowds.