Australia bid to charm FIFA with cartoon kangaroo

ZURICH - Australia used a cartoon kangaroo to try to convince FIFA's executive committee to award them the 2022 World Cup as they boldly veered away from the more staid format of typical presentations on Wednesday.

The light-hearted film took up roughly one third of Australia's presentation which lasted four minutes under the maximum permitted half-hour.

The film started with the kangaroo sneaking into FIFA headquarters in the dead of night and stealing the World Cup trophy.

It then reappeared in Australia, parading the trophy around the country's top tourists spots, gathering followers on the way in the style of film character Forrest Gump.

At one stage, the kangaroo raced Australian Olympic 400 metres champion Cathy Freeman along a highway before it was finally apprehended by a motorcyclist played by comedian Paul Hogan.

The presentation included a cameo appearance by supermodel and actress Elle Macpherson, having begun with a short speech by Governer-General Quentin Bryce.

It also included a speech by Frank Lowy, who arrived in the country with one suitcase in the 1950s to become one of the country's richest men. He heads the Australian bid.

In a more orthodox vein, Australian FA chief Ben Buckley told FIFA they would be giving the World Cup to a safe pair of hands. "Australia has served a lengthy apprenticeship and is ready to host the world's biggest event... beyond your expectations and beyond your imagination," he said.