Socceroos – Australian men’s national football team

Matthew Leckie Australia Socceroos 2016 FootballThe Socceroos’ history stems from the first Australian national football team which was convened in 1922. The nickname ‘Socceroos’ was coined by journalist Tony Horstead in 1967, but it wasn’t until reaching the 1974 World Cup finals that the side came to prominence.

After switching to the Asian Football Confederation in 2005, the Socceroos confirmed their second World Cup finals appearance the same year thanks to an aggregate win over South American powerhouses Uruguay on penalties in their final round of qualifiers. John Aloisi’s match-winning penalty kick will remain as one of the most iconic moments in Australian sporting history for quite some time yet.

A respectable Round of 26 finish at the World Cup in 2006 – in which Italy only just scraped past the Socceroos thanks to a contentious last-minute penalty – was followed by a less impressive Asian Cup debut in 2007. In sweltering conditions in south-east Asia, Australia crashed out on penalties in the quarter-finals against fierce rivals Japan.

The Socceroos sealed qualification for their second consecutive World Cup appearance in 2009, and went into the 2010 tournament with high expectations for an experienced squad under the instruction of Dutch coach Pim Verbeek. However, the tournament began disastrously with a 4-0 loss to Germany, and the Socceroos were bundled out in the first round.

Under new coach Holger Osieck, the Socceroos enjoyed a far more successful 2011 Asian Cup, making it all the way to the final before losing in extra-time to Japan.

Osieck did guide the side to the third-straight World Cup qualification, but with less than a year to go to the tournament, the German coach was sacked after overseeing two 6-0 losses – one against Brazil, the other against France – within the space of a month.

Osieck’s departure paved the way for Ange Postecoglou to take the reigns of the national side, and while the Socceroos didn’t win a game in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the tournament was still considered something of a success. Placed in the toughest group, Australia pushed Chile all the way before eventually going down 3-1, and gave the Netherlands a mighty fright in one of the games of the tournament.

After going behind early, Tim Cahill equalised with a sublime left-foot volley seconds later, and Mile Jedinak had Socceroos fans dreaming of the impossible when he put Australia in front from the penalty spot. Unfortunately, the Netherlands struck back soon after, before Memphis Depay’s winner condemned the Socceroos to a 3-2 loss.

Australia could only put up a meek performance in their final game against Spain, and lost 3-0.

The building blocks for the 2015 Asian Cup had been laid in 2014, and Postecoglou would oversee the biggest success in Australian football history in the home tournament.

It has been a mixed year for Aussie football fans. (Photo: AFC Asian Cup)

A loss to South Korea in the group stage placed Australia on the same side of the draw as Japan, but when the Blue Samurai lost to the United Arab Emirates in the quarter-finals, the Socceroos’ path to the final was clear.

Waiting for them in the decider was South Korea but, unlike in the teams’ first meeting of the tournament, it would be Australia who emerged victorious. The Socceroos took the lead through Massimo Luongo in the first half, before Son Heung-min sent the game into extra-time with a last-gasp equaliser. Australia would not be denied, though, with James Troisi striking midway through extra-time to give the Socceroos a 2-1 win and their maiden Asian Cup title.

Currently, the Socceroos are into the last phase of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, sitting third in their group just a point behind joint-leaders Saudi Arabia and Japan. The top two nations progress directly through to the World Cup in Russia, while the third-placed side has to go through a series of playoff ties to progress to the tournament.

Socceroos Articles

The 48-team FIFA World Cup will be a good thing

The 48-team FIFA World Cup will be a good thing

by , 12 Jan 2017

To say FIFA made some folks angry this week would be an understatement. The decision to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams prompted a seething response.

The Socceroos’ qualification campaign will be a walk in the park

The Socceroos’ qualification campaign will be a walk in the park

by , 2 Jan 2017

At the time of writing, there are eighty-two days remaining until the return fixtures, in round three of qualifying, for Russia 2018.

The new A-League deal is good, but might be the last of its kind

The new A-League deal is good, but might be the last of its kind

by , 27 Dec 2016

I was chuffed with the recent announcement of the new broadcast rights deal for football in Australia. As a Foxtel customer, I was hoping things would stay the same.

FFA announces bumper six-year, $346 million A-League broadcast deal

FFA announces bumper six-year, $346 million A-League broadcast deal

by , 20 Dec 2016

The FFA has pulled off a major coup with its new broadcasting deal, with a six-year, $346 million agreement which will see Fox Sports remain as the competition’s pay TV provider.

Kewell set on a return to Liverpool

Kewell set on a return to Liverpool

by , 7 Dec 2016

Socceroo great Harry Kewell has revealed his coaching aspirations, and he’s thinking big.

Adelaide Oval set to host Socceroos World Cup qualifier

Adelaide Oval set to host Socceroos World Cup qualifier

by , 29 Nov 2016

The Socceroos will host next year’s vital World Cup qualifier with Saudi Arabia at Adelaide Oval.

Postecoglou preparing for busy January

Postecoglou preparing for busy January

by , 28 Nov 2016

With key internationals facing make-or-break decisions over their club future, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says he’s ready to help them find new homes.

Germany, Chile for Australia at Confederations Cup

Germany, Chile for Australia at Confederations Cup

by , 27 Nov 2016

The tough matches keep coming for Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos, pitted against world champions Germany and 2014 World Cup nemesis Chile in the draw for the 2017 Confederations Cup on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Thai Test underscores how far the Socceroos still have to go

Thai Test underscores how far the Socceroos still have to go

by , 17 Nov 2016

Whisper it quietly, but it could have been worse. Australia absolutely could have lost to Thailand, ranked 146 in the world, and indeed they deserved to.

Robbie Kruse remains Australia’s most frustrating player

Robbie Kruse remains Australia’s most frustrating player

by , 17 Nov 2016

On a night where the shrieks of the vivacious home crowd skittered through the balmy Bangkok air, and when the playing surface resembled a drizzled-on Christmas pavlova being plum-struck spectacularly by a mis-hit tennis ball from a neighbouring game of French cricket, the Socceroos’ 2-2 draw with Thailand was indeed a feast of frustration.


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