Socceroo Bailey Wright’s World Cup elation has been followed by utter devastation after learning of the death of his mother-in-law.
Wright fought back tears as he revealed moments after Australia’s World Cup victory over Denmark his wife Alexandria had just informed about a serious health situation with his wife’s mother Tammy Burrow back in England.
“I’ve just come in from a message from my wife. I just want to dedicate this to my wife, bless her, and her mum,” Wright said less than an hour after full-time.
“I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if she’s still with us.”
Wright learned the morning after the match that Tammy had, sadly, passed away. Football Australia officials gave the update with Wright’s scheduled media appearance on Thursday morning in Doha having to be cancelled.
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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said Wright was “doing OK”.
“(We will rally around him) like we rally around everyone. (It’s) part of my way, my culture, my family culture,” Arnold said.
“He’s devastated and as I just said to him, it’s crazy these things in life – something special happens and something gets taken away … but Bailey he’s OK.
“The whole team and everyone is caring for his wife but Bailey is OK”
Teammate Milos Degenek said the players were devastated for Wright and his family.
“My condolences go out to his family and his wife’s family I think especially for his wife, with two kids. It’s something nobody wants to wish upon anyone,” Degenek said
“He knows we are his second family. We’re going to be behind him and if there’s anything we or the Federation can do … we will do it.
“… We’re all behind him and it shows you what we as footballers go throw at times and what our families go through.”
The centre back did not even tell his Socceroos teammates about the situation but still fronted up for post-match media duties.
“It’s something I’ve kept to myself, no-one knows,” he said. “We’ve all got a lot going on, just really proud.
“… It was, for them, a really tough time back home, but ultimately, it made this possible for me to be here and live one of my dreams so I dedicate that to Tammy. I hope she’s still with us.”
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Wright came on late in the second half against Denmark as Australia defended its 1-0 lead. It was the 31-year-old’s first World Cup appearance after he was part of the 2014 squad but didn’t get on the field.
“To get on is special,” Wright says.
“But even if I didn’t get on, to achieve what we’ve achieved, a lot of that performance and the reward you’re seeing now has been an effort over four years. A lot has been on this journey, and that’s for everyone who has made sacrifices over four years.”
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