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World Cup Participation

1974, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022



Australia National Football Team History

20th Century

Australia played their first international soccer game in 1922 vs. New Zealand but lost 3-1. The Australia national football team weren’t very competitive in the early years as air travel was often prohibitively expensive. So, Australia had to settle for playing New Zealand and national teams on tour in Oceania.

In 1956, Melbourne hosted the Olympics and the Australian team played in a big tournament for the first time. Their performance, however, was disappointing. In the coming years, Australia came close to a World Cup berth but lost in qualifying playoffs in both 1966 and 1970.

The first Australia FIFA World Cup appearance was in 1974 but the Socceroos didn’t do as well as hoped. West and East Germany picked up shutout wins over Australia in the first two matches, eliminating them from knockout stage contention. Australia did pick up their first World Cup point in a scoreless draw vs. Chile in the group stage finale.

The Socceroos first won a continental tournament in 1980 at the OFC Nations Cup. Ian Hunter and Eddie Krnecevic scored five goals each. One of Australia’s best ever wins came in 1988, when they defeated defending World Cup champions Argentina 4-1 in the Australian Bicentennial Gold Cup.

Australia national football team won their second OFC Nations Cup in 1996, qualifying for the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup. The Socceroos did well, drawing with Brazil 0-0 in the group stage and defeating Uruguay in the semifinals 1-0. However, Brazil defeated Australia 6-0 in the final in a group stage rematch.

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Australia National Football Team Records

21st Century

Four years later at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, Australia defeated defending World Cup champions France in the group stage. With a win over Brazil in the third place match, Australia won the bronze.

In 2005, Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation but went through Oceania Qualifying for World Cup 2006. In the intercontinental playoff, Australia national football team lost the first leg 1-0 to Uruguay. In Sydney in the second leg, Mark Bresciano scored a first half goal to level the fixture. After extra time, Socceroos goalie Mark Schwarzer made two saves to send Australia to their first World Cup since 1974.

Australia national football team were the second-lowest ranked team heading into Germany 2006 but got their first ever win at a World Cup in their opener. Tim Cahill scored twice as the Socceroos scored three goals in the last seven minutes vs. Japan in a 3-1 win. Australia lost to Brazil 2-0 and drew with Croatia to advance to the round of 16. In Australia’s first knockout stage appearance, Italy defeated Australia 1-0 on a controversial late penalty.

In their first AFC World Cup qualifying campaign, Australia topped their group and qualified for the 2010 World Cup. At South Africa 2010, The Socceroos finished with an identical 1-1-1 record to 2006 but were eliminated in the group stage.

Four years later at Brazil 2014, Australia national football team were drawn into the group of death. They dropped all three matches, to Chile, Spain and the Netherlands and went home early. However, they were praised for their competitive performances.

In 2015, Australia hosted the AFC Asian Cup for the first time. Despite losing to South Korea in their final group stage match, wins over Kuwait and Oman were enough to see them through. The Socceroos got consecutive 2-0 wins over China and the UAE to advance to to a second straight final. In a rematch vs. South Korea, Australia won 2-1 in extra time to win their first title.

Australia made their fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup in 2018 but only came away with a point. They were the only winless AFC team at the tournament. The Socceroos qualified for Qatar 2022 in dramatic fashion, with a penalty shootout victory over Peru. Coach Graham Arnold subbed out starting keeper Mat Ryan and replaced him with Andrew Redmayne just for the shootout. Redmayne’s unorthodox dancing routine before Peru’s penalty kicks seemed to have worked as he made the winning save.

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