Awer Mabil’s long-distance strike sealed Australia’s win over New Zealand with a 1-0 score line in their World Cup farewell in Brisbane.
With the Socceroos’ final match on home soil prior to the World Cup in November, Football Australia announced the twenty-three players, coach, and assistant coaches selected by fans and historians in the Socceroos’ ‘Team of the Century’.
The win comes 100 years since Australia’s first men’s ‘A’ international took place in Dunedin, and marked the 65th time it clashed with New Zealand.
The match, took place 11 years after the two teams last met. Aside from Mabil’s 33rd-minute strike, however, it was a far from pretty occasion for the hosts on a wet Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium.
It was Mabil’s eighth goal for his country but first in Australia, coming on the back of his move to Spanish side Cádiz.
Australia’s defence were not in great shape in the first half but New Zealand failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
New Zealand’s Liberato Cacace proved dangerous alongside Newcastle United striker Chris Wood but neither could find the back of the net.
An effort from Australian substitute Mat Leckie, which was deflected on to the post after Martin Boyle’s fast break, was the standout moment in a relatively subdued second half.
For Australia it was Nathaniel Atkinson that came on for Mabil and Fran Karacic with 20 minutes of great play that made a difference.
Ahead of the encounter with New Zealand, Football Australia confirmed the list of the Socceroos selected and honoured for its 100 years, after more than 110,000 individual player and coach selections were digitally submitted by supporters throughout August and September.
Football Australia’s Panel of Historians nominated seven additional players to be recognised in the team, which includes at least one representative from each era of the Socceroos’ storied and iconic history.
“In goals the Socceroos’ ‘Team of the Century’ would be well-served with Mark Schwarzer, Mathew Ryan or Jimmy McNabb between the sticks,” Football Australia announced.
“At the back, international attackers would dread coming up against defenders with the steel and skill of Scott Chipperfield, Joe Marston, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Alex Tobin, Tony Vidmar, and Peter Wilson.
In midfield, Australia would possess class, composure, and creativity with Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton, Mile Jedinak, Harry Kewell, Aaron Mooy, and Johnny Warren pulling the strings.
While in attack, goals would rain from the boots and heads of ace internationals including John Aloisi, Tim Cahill, Reg Date, John Kosmina, Judy Masters, Alf Quill, and Mark Viduka.
Tactically and motivationally, the Socceroos’ ‘Team of the Century’ would be ready for any challenge, “with Guus Hiddink as Coach, supported by assistants Ange Postecoglou, Graham Arnold, and Rale Rasic – four men that have made outstanding contributions to the Australian game and the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup story.
Individuals or families of those that received acknowledgement included Steve Perry (cap 273), Frank Farina (cap 329), the late Jock Cumberford (cap 4), the late William Dane (cap 5), and the late Dave Ward (cap 11).