Australia National Football Team
Although the country seemingly has an interest in a wide variety of sports, the Australian love for football has played a crucial role in the country’s regular World Cup appearances in the 21st century.
With a number of regional trophies to their name, the Australia national football team, or the Socceroos, as they’re affectionately known, go into the World Cup placed 39th in the FIFA world rankings.
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Tuesday November 22 – France vs Australia (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 8pm).
Saturday November 26 – Tunisia vs Australia (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 11am).
Wednesday November 30 – Australia vs Denmark (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 4pm).
Australia National Football Early Years
The Australian National Football team came into being when the New Zealand team sent an invitation to go on a world tour in 1922, which was a far more common practice at the time.
Similar to many countries in Asia, the initial Australian teams consisted of players chosen from the top local clubs. The New South Wales and Queensland teams were the two sides that made up the initial Australia line-up.
The first game of the tour and, therefore, the first in Australia’s history was a 3-1 victory over New Zealand.
Back then, the team played in a light blue kit, a far cry from the bold yellow that the players run out in today. The change between the two was implemented in 1924.
For the first 30 years, Australian international football primarily comprised of test matches and friendlies against other less prestigious footballing countries such as Canada.
That all changed in 1956 when Australia got its first taste of competitive football in the Olympic Games. Despite winning their opener, the team went home empty-handed after being knocked out by India in the quarter-finals.
World Cup Qualification
Australia National football’s first attempt at qualifying for the most prestigious trophy in football was in 1965, but they failed to get past North Korea, who, against all expectations, ended up fighting their way to the quarter-finals of that 1966 World Cup.
The Australia National Football Team would have to wait until 1974 until their first successful qualification campaign earned them a spot at the World Cup finals. Jimmy McKay’s goal against South Korea to book Australia’s place in the tournament will forever be marked in the history of Australian football.
Unfortunately, the World Cup itself didn’t turn out quite well, and the only goal scored by an Australian player was Col Curran’s own goal in a 2-0 loss to West Germany. The side went out of the group stage with one point to their name.
The late 1990s saw a sweep of talented players come through the Australian team and the side made the most of it by winning three OFC Nations cups between 1996 and 2004.
Until then, World Cup qualifications had been irregular. But around this time, the Socceroos started making a habit of earning a place in the finals. Their best performance in the tournament so far came in 2006 when they fought hard to progress to the round of 16, where they were beaten by eventual champions Italy 1-0.
Around this time, the Australia National Football team was placing higher than ever before in the FIFA world rankings, and in 2009 they reached their peak when they were deemed the 14th best side in the world.
In 2015 the team won its first Asian Cup, having only appeared for the first time in 2007. They go into the Qatar World Cup in good shape.
Australia Nationall Football Team Trivia
- Australia’s record goalscorer is very unique as he is a midfielder, not a forward. Tim Cahill is a name known well to many football fans in England as well as Australia. Fans in both countries will fondly remember his countless trademark lethal headers.
- Australia’s record largest win is also the record for the sport globally. No team has ever matched Australia’s 31-0 hammering of America Samoa in 2001.