In just over 60 days, Australia will face their first opponent at this year’s World Cup, France. Whilst nobody is shying away from the obvious challenge ahead, the very fact that Australia has featured in the past four World Cups is a testament to our proud tradition of performing on the world stage.
As we look forward to this year’s World Cup in Russia, we thought we’d quickly take a look back on some of the moments and kits that defined the Socceroos over the past two decades.
2002 FIFA World Cup Qualifications
During the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification match against American Samoa, Australia broke the world record for the largest win and the most goals scored by a player with the final score being 31 – 0 and Archie Thompson with 13 goals to his name.
2006 FIFA World Cup
Back among the World Cup elite after 32 years, this was the year where Tim Cahill wrote his place in history as the first player to score a goal for Australia at a World Cup. On 89 minutes, Cahill scored a stunning comeback against Japan.
The match against Italy for the final sixteen is possibly the most infamous match in the history of the Socceroos. With the match at a nail biting stalemate, fate dealt Australia a cruel hand in the final minute of normal time when Lucas Neill and Fabio Gross came head to head in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Francesco Totti would score the penalty which brought heartbreak for the Socceroos and Aussie fans in Germany and at home. Italy would go on to win the final.
2010 FIFA World Cup
The Socceroos World Cup 2010 campaign had a rocky start with Tim Cahill sent off as Joachim Löw’s vibrant young side put four past Mark Scherzer, leaving Australia with a challenging start to come on top of goal difference in its final two group matches.
An early Brett Holman goal in the second match against Ghana was shadowed by a controversial Harry Kewell send off that changed the balance of the game. Asamoah Gyan scored a penalty and the game finished at 1-1.
The Socceroos were however not discouraged and went on to give a brave and thrilling performance against Serbia. Unfortunately, goals from Tim Cahill and Brett Holman weren’t enough, and Australia was knocked out of the World Cup on goal difference.
2014 FIFA World Cup
The Socceroos faced a huge fight on their hands being handed a horror draw with Spain, Netherlands and Chile in Group B…
In the first match against the Netherlands, the Socceroos created some golden chances and put up an epic fight containing one of the best teams in the world. However this wasn’t enough as the Dutch tried their luck from a distance and got lucky when Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan conceded with the final score at 3-2.
The Socceroos continued to show real and gutsy character in their second match against Chile with Tim Cahill heading home an excellent Ivan Frantic cross from the right for his record-extending 33rd international Goal. The Aussies however fell agonisingly short in the second half losing to Chile 3-1.
With both Spain and Australia already eliminated for their final match against each other, this was a tremendous opportunity for Ange Postecoglou’s young squad to test out their strength against a side crammed full of players who earn their living from the biggest club sides in the world. The Socceroos almost unlocked the Spanish defence with some good combinations but the Spaniards ultimately took the match.
2018 FIFA World Cup
This year, the Socceroos will proudly sport a Nike designed home kit paying homage to the epic coming of age football game for Australia in November 2005, when the Socceroos beat Uruguay to qualify for 2006’s tournament in Germany, the first time in 32 years. hen team’s captain called on the support of every Australian fan, inside and outside of the stadium, to create a sea of gold during the pivotal match.
“It’s always an honour to represent my country and, if selected, I’ll be incredibly proud to step on the pitch for the first time wearing the new Australian National Team Kit,” said Josh Brillante at the Nike National Team collection launch event in Sydney.