|For current information on this topic, see Australia national football team season 2010.|
|Association||Football Federation Australia|
|Head coach||Pim Verbeek|
|Most caps||Alex Tobin (87)|
|Top scorer||Damian Mori (29)|
|Highest FIFA ranking||14 (September 2009)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||92 (June 2000)|
|Highest Elo ranking||9 (November 2001)|
|Lowest Elo ranking||75 (November 1965)|
| New Zealand 3 - 1 Australia
(Dunedin, New Zealand; 17 June 1922)
| Australia 31 – 0 American Samoa
(Coffs Harbour, Australia; 11 April 2001)
(World Record for international matches)
| Australia 0 - 8 South Africa
(Adelaide, Australia; 17 September 1955)
|Appearances||3 (First in 1974)|
|Best result||Round of 16, 2006|
|AFC Asian Cup|
|Appearances||1 (First in 2007)|
|Best result||Quarterfinals, 2007|
|OFC Nations Cup|
|Appearances||6 (First in 1980)|
|Best result||Champions, 1980, 1996,
|Appearances||3 (First in 1997)|
|Best result||Runners-Up, 1997|
The Australia national football team represents Australia in international association football competitions. Its official nickname is the "Socceroos". The team is controlled by Football Federation Australia (FFA), which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation and also an invitee member of the ASEAN Football Federation since 2006.
Australia is a four-time Oceania Football Confederation champion and has been represented at two FIFA World Cup tournaments, in 1974 and 2006. 14th is Australia's highest ever FIFA World Ranking since the rankings were introduced in 1992. Australia topped their group in the 2010 World Cup qualification and became one of the first nations to qualify for the finals tournament without losing a match and only conceding one goal.
The late 2000s has seen Australian association football increase considerably in domestic popularity and in international competitiveness.
The first Australian national team was constituted in 1922 for a tour of New Zealand. During the tour, Australia suffered two defeats and scraped a draw. Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa became regular opponents in "Test" or "Friendly" matches for the next 25 years. With the advent of cheap air travel, Australia diversified its range of opponents. However, its geographical isolation continued to play a role in its destiny for the next 80 years.
The road to the 1974 World Cup began with a series of home and away matches against Iraq, New Zealand, and Indonesia. The Socceroos, having won this tournament, then played and won a two-legged fixture against one of the Socceroos' biggest rivals Iran, managing to hold on to a slim overall lead in front of 120,000 Iranian fans in the Azadi Stadium, Tehran, during the second leg. South Korea, having itself knocked out Israel at the equivalent stage, was then drawn as Australia's final hurdle. Over the course of another two-legged playoff the scores remained even, and so a deciding match was played in Hong Kong. Australia won this match, through a Jimmy Mackay goal, scored off a free kick.
The team performed with honour at the 1974 World Cup, and although unable to overcome the professional teams from host nations East and West Germany, the Socceroos, captained by local amateur Peter Wilson, did manage a scoreless draw against Chile. It was to be the last appearance for the Australian team until the World Cup tournament returned to Germany more than three decades later. Over that 32 year time span, the Australian team was known for its near misses in its attempts to qualify for the World Cup, most notably 1998 against Iran and 2002 against Uruguay.
Also they have lost the play-offs of 1966 (North Korea), 1970 (Israel), 1986 (Scotland), 1994 (Argentina), 1998 (Iran) and 2002 (Uruguay).
Australia's road to USA 94 is an example of the difficult qualifying path which members of the Oceania confederation have had to endure. In order to qualify for USA 94, Australia had to endure 3 playoff stages. The first stage was the Oceania playoff. Australia finished on top of Group 1 in Oceania going undefeated in four games against weaker sides Tahiti and the Solomon Islands and scoring thirteen goals over the four games. Australia played New Zealand in the Oceania playoff. The first leg was played in New Zealand on 30 May 1993, with Australia winning the game 1-0. Australia won the return leg 3-0 to win the playoff stage with a 4-0 aggregate score. Having won the Oceania playoff, Australia now had to win a 2-leg playoff against Canada, the CONCACAF runner up. The first leg was played in Canada on 31 July 1993, with the Canadians winning the 1st leg 2-1. In the second leg, which was played on 15 August 1993 in Sydney, Australia managed a 2-1 win which saw the game go into extra time after a 3-3 aggregate scoreline. The game went into a penalty shootout which was won by Australia 4-1. Australia then qualified for the 2-leg playoff against the South American group 1 runner up, Argentina. The first leg was played in Sydney on 31 October 1993. The 1st leg ended with a 1-1 draw. On 17 November 1993, the second leg was played in Argentina, with Argentina winning 1-0 and denying Australia a place at the 1994 World Cup in the United States. After the game Argentine legend Diego Maradona was so impressed with the Socceroos performance that he said to then captain Paul Wade "Your tears of pain, will one day be tears of joy". Just to qualify for the 1994 World Cup Australia would have had to beat Argentina, the runners-up from the 1990 World Cup, and ranked 9th in the world at that time.
In 1997, after winning the OFC qualifying tournament, Australia had to play Iran over two legs in one week, with the winner progressing to the World Cup finals to be held in France. Australia, under coach Terry Venables, tied the away leg 1-1 and looked like they were going to proceed to the finals in France, initially leading 2-0 in the home game in Melbourne, until Iran managed to score two late goals. This match has been named one of the most memorable matches by many of the retired Australian and Iranian football players. The atmosphere at the MCG after the game was described as "like that of a graveyard" by many fans - At the time the crowd that packed the MCG was the highest ever for a football match in Australia, and after being very confident of progressing to the FIFA World Cup with only 30 minutes to go - suddenly being eliminated was devastating.
In 2001 Australia again won the Oceania Confederation qualifying tournament for 2002 FIFA World Cup. Second and third-string lineups thrashed a number of tiny island nations in a competition that made a mockery of the Confederation, including a world-record 22–0 win against Tonga, then smashed that record with a 31–0 win over American Samoa only two days later. Still missing Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, Australia comfortably beat New Zealand, their only real threat in the Oceania confederation. Australia then once again had to win a two leg playoff in November, in order to advance to the World Cup finals to be held in South Korea and Japan.
On this occasion the opposition was the 5th placed South American team, Uruguay. In the preceding four months Uruguay's preparation had been six World Cup qualifying matches, as follows: beat #2 ranked Brazil 1:0; drew 1:1 with #8 ranked Colombia; drew 1:1 with #2 ranked Argentina. In contrast, Australia's preparation had included no qualifying games since two matches in 4 days in June, against #81 ranked New Zealand, although had played two friendly matches - a loss to Japan in August and a 1:1 draw with France in November.
In the first leg in Melbourne, Australia won 1-0 after Kevin Muscat scored from a penalty kick; however, Australia's qualification campaign ended unsuccessfully as they lost 3-0 in the away leg in Montevideo just five days later with the South Americans proving too strong.
The team's previously miserable record in World Cup competition was not reflected in their reasonable performances against strong European and South American sides, with victories in the 2001 Confederations Cup against France and Brazil. Australia finished the competition in 3rd place after a 3rd place play-off win against Brazil.
Australia also drew with France 1-1 in Melbourne in November 2001. A particular highlight for Australian football, and the one that attracted most public attention, was the 3-1 victory over traditional sporting rivals England in a friendly in London in 2003. The importance of the result within the wider football fraternity led to the match being remembered as the most meaningless friendly in the history of the game.
In 2004, the team took the first steps towards qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup by topping the round-robin stage of the Oceania Football Confederation World Cup qualification tournament. The team drew 2-2 with the Solomon Islands, which combined with other results put that team ahead of New Zealand in the standings and meaning that the Solomon Islands qualified for the final playoff rather than the expected New Zealand.
Coach Frank Farina stood down from the position by "mutual consent" on 29 June 2005 after Australia failed to win a game at the 2005 Confederations Cup, citing ever increasing speculation over his position. On 22 July, Guus Hiddink was announced by FIFA as the new national coach. This announcement came after intense speculation by the Australian media over potential candidates and even a premature announcement from Hiddink himself. Hiddink combined his roles as manager of Dutch club PSV Eindhoven with that of Australia, and remained the coach of Australia until the end of the Australian team's 2006 World Cup campaign, after which he accepted a position coaching Russia.
After some initial training sessions with the Australian team in the Netherlands, his first campaign as national coach resulted in a 11-1 aggregate win over the Solomon Islands in the OFC Qualifying Tournament Final. The remaining task for Hiddink and Australia was the Oceania-South America playoff against the fifth placed team from the CONMEBOL Qualifying Tournament for a place in the World Cup.
In October 2005, Australia beat Jamaica 5-0 in a friendly in London. The win was the Socceroos' biggest win against a team ranked higher than them in the FIFA World Rankings list and also Australia's biggest win against a country which has participated in the World Cup.
Australia, ranked #49, then moved on to play 18th ranked Uruguay in a rematch of the qualifying matches in 2001. Again, there was a huge contrast in preparation. Australia had only two recent qualifying matches, against #138 Solomon Islands, only three days apart. Uruguay's preparation had included four qualifying matches, in the previous two months, including: beaten #26 Colombia, drawn with #33 Ecuador, and beaten #4 Argentina.
Fearing a repeat of security problems which occurred in Montevideo in 2001, Australia announced that they would hold their training sessions in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and would only stay in Montevideo for the game. Uruguay called for the first leg to be moved a day earlier, to 11 November. This idea was rejected by Australia. As a result, Uruguay had announced that they had moved the kick off time back five hours to 9:00 p.m. local time on 12 November. This meant that Australia would miss their direct flight back to Sydney for the second leg. This would also mean that Uruguay would have an extra day of preparation for the second leg.
However, this plan backfired on the Uruguayans. Their plans to charter a plane for a direct flight to Sydney fell through (they ended up flying over in "economy" class seating on a regular commercial flight). When Uruguay asked to move the kickoff back, Australia, which by that time had arranged, with their sponsor Qantas, a specially fitted out 767 (which included massage tables, and much room and space) for immediately after the game, refused. Eventually, FIFA stepped in and ordered the kickoff moved back to 6:00 p.m. local time.
Uruguay defeated Australia 1-0 in Montevideo on 12 November 2005, after a header from Dario Rodriguez. Australia had the better of their Uruguayan opponents for a lot of the match, but they could not capitalise on their opportunities. In Sydney, on 16 November for the second leg of the qualifying series and in front of 83,000 fans at Telstra Stadium, and 3.4 million more watching the televised broadcast, and an estimated 4 million more watching in pubs and clubs, Australia led Uruguay 1-0 after 90 minutes following a goal by Mark Bresciano in the first half. The aggregate was tied, and extra time was played. Neither team scored after two periods of extra time, bringing the game to a penalty shootout. Australia won the penalty shootout 4-2, making Australia the only team to ever qualify for a World Cup via a penalty shootout. Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer made two saves and John Aloisi scored the winning penalty.
The resulting win led to scenes of wild jubilation across the country, as fans rejoiced at the Socceroos qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, their first qualification in 32 years.
Germany were also the hosts the last time Australia qualified for the World Cup back in 1974.
Immediately after that qualification, Australia went into the 2006 World Cup as the second lowest-ranked side. Their ranking on the FIFA World Rankings improved in subsequent months, leapfrogging other qualified countries.
Many commentators and fans felt that the only way for Australia to progress was to abandon the Oceania Football Confederation. Football had developed over time to place increasing importance on tournaments rather than friendly matches. This established the Continental championships and their qualifiers as the major source of competitive matches for national teams. This served to starve Australia of potential opponents and resulted in long gaps between fixtures for the national team.
One respected football (soccer) broadcaster and former Socceroos captain (Johnny Warren), expressed his desire for Australia to join Asia. Despite previous attempts to do so, each notoriously ending in failure, a story was leaked from Tokyo in March 2005 suggesting that FIFA had entered into secret discussions with the AFC on this very issue. On 23 March, the AFC Executive Committee made a unanimous decision to invite Australia to join the AFC.
AFC President, Mohammed Bin Hammam, outlined reasons for this decision.
On 17 April, the OFC executive committee unanimously endorsed Australia's proposed move. FIFA approved the move on 30 June, and it took effect on 1 January 2006. Earlier, on 1 December, the AFC Executive Committee announced that Australia will be put into the ASEAN zone. Currently, Australia is an invitee member of ASEAN Football Federation.
Australia was duly entered into the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification. On 4 January, Australia was drawn into group D, alongside Bahrain, Lebanon and Kuwait. Lebanon later withdrew due to recent military conflict in the area. Australia's first game as a member of the AFC was on 22 February, a 3-1 win away to Bahrain in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification. They subsequently qualified for the finals on 16 August after defeating Kuwait 2-0.
On 13 February 2006, Australia launched a new home and away strip for the World Cup. The home strip, similar to the 1974 outfit, is an entirely yellow shirt with green shorts. The away strip is entirely obsidian blue with yellow trimmings (the heraldic colours of Australia). The jerseys were launched at a lavish ceremony at the Berlin Olympic Stadium in Berlin. On 17 March 2006, the FIFA World Cup trophy visited Sydney on its tour around the world.
In preparation for the upcoming World Cup, Socceroos player Tony Vidmar was ruled out of the World Cup after being diagnosed with a heart condition. In all, the squad that won the qualification matches saw 5 changes in the lead-up the World Cup finals. Joel Griffiths, Ahmad Elrich, Ljubo Milicevic, Tony Vidmar and Michael Thwaite were replaced by Joshua Kennedy, Mile Sterjovski, Michael Beauchamp, Craig Moore and Mark Milligan respectively.
As part of a national support effort for the Socceroos in Australia, the television network SBS put on a competition, "Song for the Socceroos", in order to select a World Cup anthem for the Socceroos. The winning song "Green and Gold" was announced on 16 May..
On 25 May 2006 in Melbourne, Australia played a friendly against Greece, current European Champions, and ranked #20 in FIFA rankings. Australia won 1-0 thanks to a Josip Skoko volley early on in the match. The match, at the 100,000 capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, was sold out in only 2 hours, and was a great sendoff for Australia from home soil, despite the questionable quality of the Greek performance.
Australia played the Netherlands in a friendly match in Rotterdam on 4 June. The Dutch, ranked #3 in the world, went ahead in the 9th minute after goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer parried a Ruud van Nistelrooy shot, the Socceroos failed to clear the ball and van Nistelrooy scored with a follow-up strike. Australia's Tim Cahill equalised in the 53rd minute following a goal-line scramble after Mark Viduka hit the crossbar from a penalty kick. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. The only blemish was the dismissal of defender Luke Wilkshire in the 61st minute, after a wild challenge on Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The next day, the Socceroos left for Germany.
Australia played a final pre-World Cup friendly against 123rd-ranked Liechtenstein on 7 June. Defender Lucas Neill headed an own goal in the 8th minute, giving Liechtenstein the lead until Mile Sterjovski equalised in the 20th. Australia struggled to gain a lead on their opponents until the final 15 minutes when a goal each from Joshua Kennedy and John Aloisi won Australia the game 3-1.
While in Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Socceroos stayed in the town of Öhringen. Just days before Australia's first World Cup match against Japan, it was reported in the west that the Japan Football Association chairman claimed the Socceroos were "guilty of a lot of dirty fouls" and that "they target ankles in particular." However, a further scrutiny of the original Japanese script reveals that there was a misinterpretation by the western media, possibly to spice up the competition. While it is unclear who started this mistranslation, deliberately or otherwise, Saburo Kawabuchi of Japan Football Association later commented that this would not be the first or the last time mistranslation happens and should not be taken too seriously.
On 12 June, the Socceroos defeated Japan 3-1 in their opening game in Kaiserslautern, with Tim Cahill scoring two goals (84', 89') and John Aloisi scoring one (92+') in the last eight minutes to claim their first World Cup finals victory. An early controversial call by Egyptian referee Essam Abd El Fatah, that awarded a goal (26') to Shunsuke Nakamura, despite an apparent foul to Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, had the Australians playing catch-up until the last eight minutes. Schwarzer and Viduka claimed that Abd El Fatah apologised over allowing Nakamura's goal to stand after the incident, admitting he had made a mistake, although Abd El Fatah later denied making an apology and said that "FIFA's refereeing committee... agreed unanimously that Japan's goal against Australia was correct." Both Cahill and Aloisi came in as substitutes in the second half of the game. Their goals are the first ever scored by Australia in the World Cup Finals, and Australia became the first team in the 2006 tournament to come back after being 1-0 down. Also, no other team has scored three goals in the last seven minutes of a match in World Cup finals history.
On 18 June, hours before Australia's second game against world champions Brazil, a British newspaper claimed that several Australian players had placed bets amongst themselves, which was said to be against FIFA regulations. Tim Cahill admitted that teammates Lucas Neill and Archie Thompson bet that Cahill would score the first ever Australian goal at the World Cup. Mark Viduka also said that the players were taking bets on who was going to be the first to score, and that goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac was the bookmaker. FIFA have since cleared all players of any wrongdoing, by interpreting their regulations as referring to betting with professional bookmakers, rather than betting within a team.
Australia met Brazil in their second Group F game in Munich on 18 June. The Australians held Brazil to a 0-0 half time scoreline before Adriano put Brazil in front (49'). Brazil substitute Fred scored (90') with the help of substitute Robinho to give Brazil a 2-0 win, which saw the Brazilians go through to the second round.
A day later, following the Brazil game, Harry Kewell was in hot water after an altercation with the referee from the Brazil game. FIFA announced that it would investigate the incident. On 20 June, charges were dismissed against Kewell due to "inconsistent reporting by match officials", allowing him to play the next game against Croatia.
On 22 June, Australia faced Croatia in Stuttgart. The final score was 2-2. A goal from Darijo Srna in the second minute put Australia on the back foot. Australia equalised with a penalty goal from Craig Moore (38') after Croatian defender Stjepan Tomas handballed near the Croatian goal. Niko Kovac gave Croatia a 2-1 lead after halftime before Australia equalised again through Harry Kewell (79') in a moment described by SBS broadcast commentator Simon Hill as "well, it just had to be Harry". Kewell appeared to be offside for the goal, in a match riddled with errors. The referee Graham Poll dismissed calls for a penalty in the 5th minute when Croatia's Josip Šimunić literally wrestled striker Mark Viduka to the ground near goal. Despite penalising Croatia for Stjepan Tomas' handball in the 39th minute, he failed to penalise Tomas for exactly the same deed in the 74th minute, when Australia were trying to equalise again. Towards the end of the match, Poll blew the final whistle at the moment that John Aloisi scored what would have been a winning goal, and then blew the final whistle again. And finally, in a most extraordinary error, Poll presented Simunic with three yellow cards before sending him off after the final whistle. Here, Simunic is the world record holder for "Most Yellow Cards in a Football Match." Poll issued eight yellow cards resulting in three expulsions. Brett Emerton was sent off for his second bookable offence (although he was already suspended for the next match for receiving his second yellow card of the group stage earlier in the match). The Daily Telegraph reported on 25 June that Graham Poll was dismissed from World Cup refereeing duties by FIFA, who claimed that his mistake was "unacceptable".  As Brazil beat Japan 4-1, Australia proceeded to the next round to face Italy.
On 26 June, Australia met Italy in Kaiserslautern. Kewell was unavailable for the game, entering the stadium on crutches reportedly suffering from an attack of gout and infected blisters (later diagnosed as septic arthritis). The score at half-time was 0-0. Italy went down to 10 men due to the red card (51') given to Marco Materazzi for a two-footed tackle on Mark Bresciano. Otherwise, six yellow cards were issued in total. Almost three minutes into stoppage time, with the score still at 0-0 and Australia being pushed into their own half, a controversial penalty was awarded to Italy when Fabio Grosso fell under a Lucas Neill challenge in the final seconds of the match. Francesco Totti scored from the spot (95') and the game ended immediately with Australia eliminated. Coach Guus Hiddink officially ended his reign as the coach of the Socceroos following the 1-0 loss to Italy and took the managerial job with Russia. Australian assistant coach Graham Arnold branded the penalty a "joke", to the agreement of several Australian players, including Tim Cahill, who believed Grosso should have been cautioned for diving. Further analysis of the incident in slow motion clearly shows that Fabio Grosso moves his foot into Neill, and still had time to get around him. Australia became the team to go out of a World Cup with the last kick of the ball (in regular time).
Australia, led by Graham Arnold, went to their first Asian Cup sending a strong squad which included 15 players from the World Cup team. Australia was drawn in Group A alongside (co-host) Thailand, Oman and Iraq.
In their first match, Australia were only able to earn a 1-1 draw against a lower-ranked Oman team. Australia played poorly, with Oman leading for most of the match after Badar Al-Maimani scored in the 32nd minute, but were once again saved by Tim Cahill who scored a late equaliser in the 92nd minute after coming on as a substitute in the second half.
Australia lost their second group match 3-1 to eventual Asian Cup winners Iraq, with Lucas Neill receiving a red card (90'), following two yellow cards. Mark Viduka scored the lone goal for the Australians in the 47th minute of the match which at that point in the game was the equaliser but Iraq scored another two goals to win.
In the third match of the group stage, Australia defeated Thailand 4-0 with Mark Viduka scoring two goals, with Michael Beauchamp and Harry Kewell scoring one goal each. The victory assured Australia's progression to the quarter final stage of the tournament.
After drawing 1-1 with Japan after extra time, Australia exited the tournament on penalties at the quarter final stage. The first two Australian penalty kicks were both unsuccessful by Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill with Australia eventually bowing out 4-3 to end their inaugural participation in Asia's most prestigious football tournament.
In a friendly international at the MCG on the 11th of September, 2007, the Socceroos were defeated by Argentina one goal to nil. The friendly was Graham Arnold's last game as head coach. It had been widely speculated that Dutchman Dick Advocaat would take over as Head Coach for the Socceroos 2010 World Cup Qualifiers by the end of 2007 but he backed out of a contract with the FFA to continue coaching Zenit Petersburg. It has been reported that FFA is considering legal action against both person and club. As a result the Socceroo's head coach position was left open, with technical director Rob Baan the caretaker for a match against Nigeria at Loftus Road, London (Australia winning 1-0.) The position was filled on the 6th of December 2007 when the FFA announced Pim Verbeek as the new head coach.
The Socceroos were seeded to enter the AFC qualification campaign in the third round alongside Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan. They were drawn into a group comprising of Qatar, Iraq and China with the media dubbing it the "group of death". Fixtures started in February 2008, with a home match against Qatar at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne giving Australia a 3-0 victory. This was Pim Verbeek's first competitive match in charge of the Socceroos. The majority of the Australian squad consisted of overseas, mainly European based, players after Pim Verbeek announced the local A-league was not yet up to World Cup standards. A week after the match, Australia moved up to 38th on the FIFA World Rankings.
In the second group game, Australia drew 0-0 with China with Mark Schwarzer saving a penalty in the last few minutes. In their 3rd out of 6 qualifiers on Sunday, 1 June, Australia beat Iraq at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 1-0, with a headed goal from Harry Kewell proving the difference between the two teams early in the 2nd half of play. In the return match in Dubai, Iraq defeated Australia 1-0 through a wonder strike from Emad Mohammed. Australia then defeated Qatar 3-1 on 14 June in Doha to progress to the fourth round of the AFC qualifiers. Their final game in 3rd round qualifying ended in a 1-0 home defeat to China.
Australia have been drawn alongside Japan, Bahrain, Qatar and Uzbekistan in the fourth round of Asian World Cup qualification, which commenced with a 1-0 victory over the Uzbeks in Tashkent on September 10, 2008. Scott Chipperfield's run was unmarked and he comfortably headed in a Luke Wilkshire cross. They then proceeded to beat Qatar 4-0 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, to go top of the group, with goals scored by Tim Cahill and Josh Kennedy with Brett Emerton scoring a brace for the home side. The game was delayed 30min (and close to abandoned) after a torrential rainstorm hit Brisbane Stadium prior to the match. Their next match was against Bahrain on the 19th of November. Australia managed a 1-0 victory despite a brilliant performance by the Bahrainis and a disappointing performance by Australia. Both the Australian coach and players admitted they were lucky to take the points which came courtesy of a Marco Bresciano goal in the 93rd minute. They dedicated the win to Craig Moore who missed the match following surgery for testicular cancer. Australia remained top of the group with 10 points after 4 games following a 0-0 draw away against Japan. The Socceroos were on the brink of qualifying after a convincing 2-0 win over Uzbekistan on April 1 in Sydney. After a lacklustre first half, the Socceroos scored two goals with a Josh Kennedy header in the 66th minute and a Harry Kewell penalty in the 73rd minute after Richard Garcia was taken down in the penalty box. Australia then secured their place in South Africa after holding Qatar 0-0 at Doha on 5 June. Australia's qualification was already assured before the final two games, both home fixtures. In Sydney on Wednesday 10 June, goals to Mile Sterjovski and David Carney gave Australia a 2-0 victory over Bahrain. Australia's final qualification game ended with a 2-1 victory over Japan, Australia coming back from a goal in the 40th minute by Japan's Marcus Tulio Tanaka with Tim Cahill's equalising header in the 59th minute, and his winning goal 17 minutes later off a Nicky Carle corner. This victory left Australia top of Group A ahead of Japan by 5 clear points.
The Socceroos were drawn in Group B for the Asian Cup 2011 qualifying stage along with Oman, Kuwait and Indonesia. The top two teams from the group will progress to the finals in Qatar. Australia progressed through to the 2011 finals in Qatar, topping Group B with 11 points with Kuwait coming in second with 8 points.
Australia drew 0-0 away to Indonesia on 28 January 2009 and then suffered a surprise 0-1 home defeat against lower ranked Kuwait on 5 March 2009. On October 14, Australia defeated Oman 1-0 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne to move to equal first in their qualifying group with Tim Cahill scoring the winner in the 74th minute.
On November 15, Australia reduced to 10 men for over 70 minutes of the match as a penalty was given in the box, won the match two goals to one despite an epic performance of attack from the Omanis in Muscat, Oman.
On January 6, Australia blew a 2 goal lead to draw 2-2 against Kuwait. Australia went up 2 goals after 5 minutes.
On March 3rd, Australia comfortably wrapped up qualification with a 1-0 victory over Indonesia.
One obstacle for potential Australian soccer players is that some promising players choose other nations. As many Australians have roots in other countries throughout the world, they are eligible to play for non-Australian national teams.
The following were Australian-born players who chose other national teams:
The following players were/or are currently playing for other youth national teams, yet were either born or lived a considerable amount of their youth in Australia but are still eligible to play for/or have represented Australia at any level:
The following players were eligible to play for Australia but chose other national teams:
|1992||No OFC Representative was Invited|
|1999||Did not qualify|
|2003||Did not qualify|
|2009||Did not qualify|
|1973||Did not participate|
|Jozef Vengloš||1965 - 1967||7||4||1||2||57%|
|Joe Vlatsis||1967 - 1969||23||13||7||3||57%|
|Ralé Rasic||1970 - 1974||31||16||9||6||52%||1st round at the 1974 FIFA World Cup|
|Jim Shoulder||1976 - 1978||25||10||7||8||40%|
|Rudi Gutendorf||1979 - 1981||18||3||8||7||17%||Winner of the 1980 OFC Nations Cup|
|Les Scheinflug||1981 - 1983||12||8||1||3||67%|
|Frank Arok||1983 - 1989||46||21||14||11||46%|
|Les Scheinflug (caretaker during Frank Arok absence)||1983||4||3||0||1||75%|
|Les Scheinflug (caretaker)||1990||1||1||0||0||100%|
|Eddie Thomson||1990 - 1996||56||26||11||19||46%||Winner of the 1996 OFC Nations Cup|
|Les Scheinflug (caretaker during Eddie Thomson absence)||1992||3||2||1||0||67%|
|Vic Fernandez (caretaker during Eddie Thomson absence)||1992||2||1||0||1||50%|
|Les Scheinflug (caretaker during Eddie Thomson absence)||1994||1||1||0||0||100%|
|Raul Blanco (caretaker)||1996||2||2||0||0||100%|
|Terry Venables||1997 - 1998||23||15||3||5||65%||Runner-up of the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup|
|Raul Blanco (caretaker)||1998 - 1999||5||3||1||1||60%||Runner-up of the 1998 OFC Nations Cup|
|Frank Farina||1999 - 2005||58||34||9||15||59%||Winner of the 2000 OFC Nations Cup
3rd place at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup
Runner-up of the 2002 OFC Nations Cup
Winner of the 2004 OFC Nations Cup
1st round of the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup
|Guus Hiddink||2005 - 2006||12||7||2||3||58%||2nd round at the 2006 FIFA World Cup|
|Graham Arnold (caretaker)||2006 - 2007||15||6||4||5||40%||Quarter finalists at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup|
|Rob Baan (caretaker)||2007||1||1||0||0||100%|
|Pim Verbeek||2007 -||24||13||7||4||54%||Qualified for 2010 FIFA World Cup|
|1||Les Scheinflug (incl. 9 matches as caretaker)||1981 - 1994||71%||2.24|
|2||Terry Venables||1997 - 1998||65%||2.09|
|3||Frank Farina||1999 - 2005||59%||1.91|
|4||Guus Hiddink||2005 - 2006||58%||1.92|
|5||Joe Vlatsis||1967 - 1969||57%||2.00|
|Current||Pim Verbeek||2007 -||54%||1.92|
|Clint Bolton||22 September 1975||Sydney FC||4 (0)|
|Eugene Galeković||12 June 1981||Adelaide United||4 (0)|
|Danny Vukovic||27 March 1985||Central Coast Mariners||0 (0)|
|Luke Wilkshire||1 October 1981||Dynamo Moscow||40 (2)|
|Jade North||20 August 1982||Tromsø||28 (0)|
|Simon Colosimo||8 January 1979||Chunnam Dragons||26 (3)|
|Jon McKain||21 September 1982||Wellington Phoenix||12 (0)|
|Mark Milligan||4 August 1985||JEF United||9 (1)|
|Scott Jamieson||13 October 1988||Adelaide United||2 (0)|
|Robert Cornthwaite||24 October 1985||Adelaide United||1 (0)|
|Andrew Durante||3 May 1982||Wellington Phoenix||0 (0)|
|Shannon Cole||4 September 1985||Sydney FC||1 (0)|
|Luke DeVere||5 November 1989||Brisbane Roar||0 (0)|
|Jason Čulina||5 August 1980||PSV||46 (1)|
|Mile Sterjovski||27 May 1979||Perth Glory||43 (8)|
|Jacob Burns||21 April 1978||Perth Glory||11 (0)|
|Matt McKay||11 January 1983||Brisbane Roar||4 (0)|
|Matt Thompson||18 August 1982||Newcastle Jets||4 (0)|
|Michael Zullo||11 September 1988||Brisbane Roar||2 (0)|
|Stuart Musialik||29 March 1985||Sydney FC||0 (0)|
|Michael Marrone||27 January 1987||Adelaide United||0 (0)|
|Thomas Oar||10 December 1991||Brisbane Roar||1 (0)|
|Ben Kantarovski||20 January 1992||Newcastle Jets||0 (0)|
|Joshua Kennedy||20 August 1982||Nagoya Grampus||18 (6)|
|Alex Brosque||12 October 1983||Sydney FC||4 (0)|
|David Williams||26 February 1988||North Queensland Fury||2 (0)|
|Mathew Leckie||4 February 1991||Adelaide United||0 (0)|
|Daniel McBreen||23 March 1977||Perth Glory||0 (0)|
The following players have also been called up to the Australia squad within the last twelve months.
|Name||DOB||Club||Caps (goals)||Most recent call-up|
|Tando Velaphi||17 April 1987||Perth Glory||0 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Mark Schwarzer||6 October 1972||Fulham||73 (0)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Brad Jones||19 March 1982||Middlesbrough||1 (0)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Adam Federici||31 January 1985||Reading||0 (0)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Ante Čović||13 June 1975||IF Elfsborg||2 (0)||v Oman, 14 October 2009|
|Michael Petković||16 July 1976||Sivasspor||6 (0)||v South Korea, 5 September 2009|
|Craig Moore||12 December 1975||Kavala||47 (3)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Matthew Špiranović||27 June 1988||Urawa Red Diamonds||4 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Dean Heffernan||19 May 1980||Huddersfield Town||2 (1)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Matthew Kemp||8 August 1980||Melbourne Victory||1 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Shane Lowry||12 June 1989||Aston Villa||0 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Scott Chipperfield||30 December 1975||Basel||63 (12)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Lucas Neill||9 March 1978||Galatasaray||53 (0)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|David Carney||3 November 1983||FC Twente||23 (3)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Patrick Kisnorbo||24 March 1981||Leeds United||18 (1)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Rhys Williams||14 July 1988||Middlesbrough||3 (0)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Michael Beauchamp||8 March 1981||Al-Jazira||19 (1)||v South Korea, 5 September 2009|
|Shane Stefanutto||12 January 1980||North Queensland Fury||3 (0)||v South Korea, 5 September 2009|
|Adrian Madaschi||11 July 1982||Portosummaga||5 (2)||v Republic of Ireland, 12 August 2009|
|Chris Coyne||20 December 1978||Perth Glory||7 (0)||v Japan, 17 June 2009|
|Nick Carle||23 November 1981||Crystal Palace||12 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Mile Jedinak||3 August 1984||Antalyaspor||9 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Dario Vidošić||12 April 1987||MSV Duisburg||4 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Brett Emerton||22 February 1979||Blackburn Rovers||72 (17)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Mark Bresciano||11 February 1980||Palermo||52 (11)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Vince Grella||5 October 1979||Blackburn Rovers||42 (0)||v Oman, 14 October 2009|
|Tim Cahill||6 December 1979||Everton||37 (19)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Carl Valeri||14 April 1984||Sassuolo||19 (0)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Danny Invincibile||31 March 1979||Kilmarnock||0 (0)||v South Korea, 5 September 2009|
|Aaron Mooy||15 September 1990||Bolton Wanderers||0 (0)||v Republic of Ireland, 12 August 2009|
|James Holland||15 May 1989||AZ||4 (0)||v Republic of Ireland, 12 August 2009|
|Oliver Bozanic||15 May 1989||Aldershot Town||0 (0)||v Republic of Ireland, 12 August 2009|
|Richard Garcia||4 September 1981||Hull City||4 (0)||v Japan, 17 June 2009|
|Archie Thompson||23 October 1978||Melbourne Victory||33 (21)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Bruce Djite||25 March 1987||Diyarbakırspor||8 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Nikita Rukavytsya||22 June 1987||KSV Roeselare||2 (0)||v Kuwait, 6 January 2010|
|Harry Kewell||22 September 1978||Galatasaray||45 (13)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Brett Holman||27 March 1984||AZ||29 (1)||v Oman, 14 November 2009|
|Scott McDonald||21 August 1983||Middlesbrough||15 (0)||v Netherlands, 10 October 2009|
|#||Name||Caps||Goals||First cap||Latest cap|
|1||Alex Tobin||87||2||March 9, 1988||November 6, 1998|
|2||Paul Wade||84||10||August 3, 1986||November 1, 1996|
|3||Tony Vidmar||76||3||February 6, 1991||October 7, 2006|
|4||Mark Schwarzer||73||0||July 31, 1993||November 14, 2009|
|5||Brett Emerton||72||16||February 7, 1998||November 14, 2009|
|6||Peter Wilson||64||3||November 4, 1970||June 13, 1979|
|7||Scott Chipperfield||63||12||September 25, 1998||November 14, 2009|
|8||Attila Abonyi||61||25||June 4, 1967||November 25, 1977|
|9||Stan Lazaridis||60||0||April 15, 1993||October 7, 2006|
|John Kosmina||60||25||August 18, 1976||September 22, 1988|
|11||Milan Ivanović||59||0||January 30, 1991||February 15, 1998|
|#||Name||Goals||Caps||Avg.||First cap||Latest cap|
|1||Damian Mori||29||45||0.64||September 4, 1992||July 14, 2002|
|2||John Aloisi||27||55||0.49||March 12, 1997||February 6, 2008|
|3||John Kosmina||25||60||0.42||August 18, 1976||September 22, 1988|
|Attila Abonyi||25||61||0.41||June 4, 1967||November 25, 1977|
|5||Archie Thompson||21||33||0.64||February 28, 2001||January 6, 2010|
|6||David Zdrilic||20||30||0.67||January 18, 1997||March 29, 2005|
|7||Tim Cahill||19||37||0.51||March 30, 2004||November 14, 2009|
|Graham Arnold||19||56||0.34||October 23, 1985||November 29, 1997|
|9||Ray Baartz||18||48||0.38||May 28, 1967||April 27, 1974|
|10||Gary Cole||17||19||0.89||June 11, 1978||October 14, 1982|
|Aurelio Vidmar||17||44||0.39||January 30, 1991||June 3, 2001|
|Brett Emerton||17||72||0.24||February 7, 1998||October 14, 2009|
|#||Name||Captaincies||Caps||Goals||First captaincy||Latest captaincy|
|1||Peter Wilson||60||64||3||November 11, 1971||June 13, 1979|
|2||Paul Wade||46||84||10||August 25, 1990||November 1, 1996|
|3||Alex Tobin||30||87||2||February 11, 1995||November 6, 1998|
|Charlie Yankos||30||49||7||October 25, 1986||April 16, 1989|
|5||John Kosmina||25||60||25||October 6, 1982||March 9, 1988|
|6||Johnny Warren||24||42||6||November 5, 1967||December 1, 1970|
|Paul Okon||24||28||0||October 9, 1996||September 7, 2003|
|8||Lucas Neill||19||53||0||October 7, 2006||November 14, 2009|
|9||Mark Viduka||17||43||11||August 3, 2005||July 21, 2007|
|10||Craig Moore||13||47||3||February 18, 2004||January 6, 2010|
Australia currently hold the world record for the largest win and the most goals scored by a player in an international match. Both records were recorded during the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification match against American Samoa on April 11, 2001. Australia won 31–0 with Archie Thompson scoring 13 goals and David Zdrilic scoring 8 goals. Two days before the 31–0 win, Australia broke the record for largest win with a 22–0 win over Tonga. Both wins surpassed the previous record held by Kuwait who beat Bhutan 20–0 on February 14, 2000.
With 13 and 8 goals respectively, both Thompson and Zdrilic broke the previous record jointly held by another Australian, Gary Cole, who scored seven goals against Fiji in 1981, and Iranian Karim Bagheri, who also scored seven goals against Maldives in 1997. Some sources mentioned that the previous record was 10 goals, which was achieved by Denmark's Sophus Nielsen at the 1908 Olympics and Germany's Gottfried Fuchs an the 1912 Olympics. These matches, although fully recognized by FIFA, were played by amateur players.
|1||13||Archie Thompson||31–0||American Samoa||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification||April 11, 2001|
|2||8||David Zdrillic||31–0||American Samoa||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification||April 11, 2001|
|3||7||Gary Cole||10–0||Fiji||1982 FIFA World Cup qualification||August 14, 1981|
|4||6||John Aloisi||22–0||Tonga||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification||April 9, 2001|
|6||Frank Parsons||8–1||New Zealand||Friendly||September 11, 1948|
|5||5||John Aloisi||13–0||Solomon Islands||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification||June 11, 1997|
|5||Damian Mori||13–0||Solomon Islands||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification||June 11, 1997|
|5||George Smith||10–0||New Zealand||Friendly||July 11, 1936|
|1||31–0||American Samoa||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification||April 11, 2001|
|2||22–0||Tonga||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification||April 9, 2001|
|3||17–0||Cook Islands||2000 OFC Nations Cup||June 19, 2000|
|4||16–0||Cook Islands||1998 OFC Nations Cup||September 28, 1998|
|5||13–0||Solomon Islands||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification||June 11, 1997|
Sponsorship has generally been hard to find for the Socceroos as until 2005 football (soccer) in Australia was not seen as an attractive investment for companies. After Australia qualified for the 2006 World Cup potential sponsors saw the Socceroos profile rise and jumped on board the so called bandwagon.
Games are broadcast by SBS and Fox Sports Australia. The 2006 World Cup Qualification game against Uruguay was the highest rating program in SBS history  and a 2010 World Cup Qualification game set a record for the highest subscription television audience according to ASTRA ratings.
In the United States, qualifiers are broadcast by Fox Soccer Channel.
1973 New Zealand
1980 (First title)
1996 (Second title)
1998 New Zealand
1998 New Zealand
2000 (Third title)
2002 New Zealand
2002 New Zealand
2004 (Fourth title)A
2008 New Zealand
|AFC Men's Team of the Year
|Association||Football Federation Australia|
|Most caps||Alex Tobin (87)|
|Top scorer||Damian Mori (29)|
|First game|| Auckland, New Zealand; 17 June 1922|
New Zealand 3 - 1 Australia
|Largest win|| Coffs Harbour, Australia; 11 April 2001|
Australia 21-0 American Samoa
|Largest loss|| Adelaide, Australia; 17 September 1955|
Australia 0 - 8 South Africa
|Best result||Round 2 (2006)|
Australia national football team is the national football team of Australia. Its official nickname is "the Socceroos". The team is under the control of the Football Federation Australia (FFA), which is a member of the Asian Football Confederation. It has also been invited to join the ASEAN Football Federation. Australia's Youth teams play in the ASEAN Youth Tournaments. Australia has been the Oceania Football Confederation champion four times, and has been at three World Cup finals tournaments, in 1974, 2006 and 2010. FIFA Rankings show the Australian National Football team is one of the strongest countries in Asia, and is currently ranked 20th in the world by FIFA. Australia made it to the round of 16 in the 2006 World Cup held in Germany and were knocked out in controversial circumstances by eventual champions Italy. Australia's 2010 world cup finals campaign was also blighted by controversial and mostly incorrect refereeing decisions and lead to the teams eventual elimination in the group stages despite a 2-1 win over a higher ranked Serbian team and a draw against Ghana. Australia will now prepare for the Asian cup in early 2011 and the 2014 world cup qualification.