Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Australia national football team
The Australia national football team, known by their nickname, the Socceroos, is Australia's men's national association football (soccer) team. They are organised by the Football Federation Australia (until 2005 called Australian Soccer Association), the national governing body for soccer in Australia.
The national team played at the World Cup finals in West Germany in 1974, which to date has been their only appearance in this event. Over more recent years, the Australian team is known for its near misses in its attempts to qualify for the World Cup, most notably the 1998 and 2002 events.
In 1997, after winning the Oceania Football Confederation qualifying tournament, Australia had to play Iran over two legs 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, however Iran managed to score two later goals and went through on the away goals rule.
In 2001 Australia again won the Oceania Confederation qualifying tournament. 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 31-0 demolition of American Samoa. 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 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 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.
The team's miserable record in World Cup competition is not reflected in their reasonable performances in friendlies against strong European and South American sides, with victories in friendlies against France and Brazil in 2002. 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.
It has been suggested that, in order to improve their chances in international competition, Australia should leave the Oceania confederation and join the Asian Football Confederation. Despite previous attempts to do so - each notoriously ending in failure - in March 2005, a story was leaked from Tokyo suggesting that the FFA had entered into secret discussions with the AFC on this very issue. On March 23, the AFC Executive Committee made a unanimous decision to invite Australia to join the AFC.
At a press conference on March 26 in Sydney, President of the AFC Mohammed Bin Hammam outlined reasons for this decision.
- As well as being a developed football nation, Australia brings a developed economy and this is actually what we want in football. Besides Japan, Korea, China and Saudi Arabia if Australia joins the benefits are huge, this is what we're after.
On April 17, the OFC executive committee unanimously endorsed Australia's proposed move.
In 2004, the team took the first steps towards qualification for the 2006 World Cup by topping the round-robin stage of the Oceania Football Confederation World Cup qualification tournament. The team did draw 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 two-leg playoff will be against the Solomons rather than the expected New Zealand.
World Cup record
- 1930 to 1962 - Did not enter
- 1966 - Did not qualify
- 1970 - Did not qualify
- 1974 - Round 1
- 1978 to 2002 - Did not qualify
Oceania Nations Cup record
- 1973 - Did not enter
- 1980 - Champions
- 1996 - Champions
- 1998 - Second place
- 2000 - Champions
- 2002 - Second place
- 2004 - Champions
- 87 - Alex Tobin (1988-2000)
- 84 - Paul Wade (1986-96)
- 69 - Tony Vidmar (1991-)
- 64 - Peter Wilson (1970-79)
- 29 - Damian Mori (45 caps, 1992-2002)
- 25 - Attila Abonyi (62 caps, 1967-1977)
- 25 - John Kosmina (60 caps, 1977-1988)
Most goals in a match
- 13 - Archie Thompson v American Samoa, 2001
- 8 - David Zridilic v American Samoa, 2001
- 7 - Gary Cole v Fiji, 1981
Highest team score
Record in World Cup Finals 1974
- Archive of results 1922-
- RSSSF archive of most capped players and highest goalscorers
- RSSSF archive of coaches 1922-1998
- Socceroos Realm
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