Australia is ready to add another chapter to their footballing history after qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Socceroos have come a long way since after a 32-year absence from football’s premier international tournament and have now qualified for five World Cups.
We’re here to look back on one of the most important aspects from their previous four World Cup appearances – the jersey!
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1974 Socceroos World Cup Jersey
The Socceroos jersey that started it all, worn by the group that paved the way for Australia’s current crop. Adidas’ sleek Australian soccer kit included a yellow design with bottle green trim around the collar and sleeves. It was proudly donned by the likes of skipper Peter Wilson, Hungarian-born talisman Attila Abonyi and football flag-bearer Johnny Warren. This Australian football jersey set a Gold Standard, or rather, a ‘Green and Gold Standard’ by which every proceeding Australian jersey is compared with.
1974 marked Australia’s first-ever appearance at a World Cup and although it didn’t go their way on the field, the tournament is symbolic for the current paradigm shift in the country’s attitude towards football. Wearing the jersey with pride, Johnny Warren stood defiantly in defence of the code during a ‘dark age’ in Australia, where football was an afterthought in the eyes of the media, and fought tirelessly to propel the sport to where it is today. What would he say if he could see Australia now, on the verge of their fifth World Cup appearance? I bet it’d be something along the lines of: I told you so.
2006 Socceroos World Cup Jersey
If 1974 was the year Australian football was officially put on the map, then 2006 was the year that a ‘Golden Generation’ of Socceroos took Australia’s interest in the sport to the next level. Turning out in Nike’s sleek homage to the 1974 World Cup Socceroos jersey, a nation’s worth of optimism and enthusiasm followed The Socceroos out onto the pitch in Germany.
In 2006, Australia were equipped with a star-studded ensemble of players including Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill who wore the Australian football jersey with pride. It’s a tournament which still triggers heated debate due to the manner it ended, by way of a contentious penalty at the death in a Round of 16 match with Italy. However, 2006 yielded numerous great moments for Socceroos fans, notably Harry Kewell’s equaliser in a volatile clash against Croatia, a strike which sealed Australia’s first and only progression to the Knockout Stages of a World Cup.
2010 Socceroos World Cup Jersey
Nike took on an efficient and environmentally friendly approach to their 2010 Socceroos World Cup jersey. For the first time, Nike created a football jersey made solely from recycled polyester, using up to eight recycled plastic bottles on each jersey. Australia were just as economical on the pitch in South Africa, equalling their points tally from 2006, but were denied entry to the knockout rounds only by goal difference.
2014 Socceroos World Cup Jersey
Australia’s contemporary heroes paid tribute to the pioneers of 1974 wearing Nike’s all-yellow soccer jersey with a green Johnny collar in 2014. The words of 1974 Socceroos captain Peter Wilson followed Australia out on the pitch, with this football jersey reading “We can do the impossible” on the back of the neck. That was certainly the task for Ange Postecoglou’s side heading into Brazil as Australia were drawn against defending champions Spain, Holland and Chile in the group stage.
Despite the uphill battle the Socceroos faced, they nonetheless wore the jersey with pride in a battling display of the Aussie spirit. No Australia player encapsulated that mentality more than all-time top goalscorer Tim Cahill, who added another two goals to his World Cup scrapbook. His second, an outrageous volley against Holland, will go down in history as one of the most majestic goals ever scored at a World Cup.