2006 World Cup Match Results
The Australian 'Socceroos', coached by Dutch import Guus Hiddink, beat Uruguay in the second leg of the intercontinental play-off at Sydney's Telstra Stadium. After trailing Uruguay 1-0 from the first leg, it was Marco Bresciano who drew Australia level on aggregate with a 34th-minute goal. The game then went to a penalty shootout, which Australia won 4-2.
In that game, substitute John Aloisi converted the decisive spot-kick to send them through after goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had produced superb saves to deny Dario Rodriguez and Marcelo Zalayeta - Australia finally savouring success in a play-off after four previous failures.
As usual, the initial preliminary rounds were a relatively straightforward task for the Socceroos. In Oceania’s group stage they finished top with four wins and one draw from their five matches. The play-off to decide who would meet South America’s fourth-placed side for a place at Germany 2006 was also a formality as they defeated the Solomon Islands 9-1 over two legs to set up the match with Uruguay.
Australia v Japan - 12 June 2006
This game played at Kaiserslauternin Stadium in 30 degree heat looked like it was going to go Japan's way. Japan had a lucky goal in the first half when one of Japan's strikers blocked the Australia goalkeeper Schwarzer. The score remained at 1-0 until less than 10 minutes to go in the match. Australia had had more of the play and more shots at goal throughout the game, and finally the pressure paid off, with Tim Cahill slotting one through to draw level with Japan at the 84th minute. A short time later he put Australia ahead with a well placed kick. To make it Australia's day, John Aloisi scored a strong goal in the final minutes to make it 3-1. A fantastic comeback. It was the first win for Australia in a World Cup game, actually the first time they had ever scored a goal.
Australia v Brazil -18 June 2006 - Munich, Germany
Socceroos took on arguably the best football team in the world, the Brazilians, in Munich. Australia lost 2-0, but again showed that they deserve to be on the world stage. Australia matched Brazil in most areas around the field and must have had them worried when the score was still 0-0 at half time.
Australia v Croatia - 22 June 2006 - Stuttgart, Germany
In an action packed game, the Socceroos drew two all with Croatia, doing just enough to go through to the second round, to play Italy next week. There were a lot of anxious moments, with Australia behind for much of the match. A penalty to Craig Moore and a field goal to Harry Kewell got Australia through. The team has surpassed all expectations and done a lot for the sport at home.
Australia v Italy - 26 June 2006
Australia's dream run at the World Cup came to an end in a spectacular and frustratingly disappointing manner. Australia were able to hold Italy scoreless for nearly the whole game, until literally the last few seconds of regular time Italy were awarded a dubious penalty, eventually winning the game 1-0. Who knows what would have happened in extra time and penalty shoot-out if it went that far, though Australia had had more possession and more shots on goal and it seemed to be only a matter of time before they scored. All this was helped by one of the Italian players being sent off early in the second half. Australia failed to capitalise on having an extra man and maybe did not deserve to win the game. In the end, the Aussies must be proud of what they have achieved, and putting up a good battle with Italy they have again demonstrated their potential to the world.
- Index to Australia at the World Cup