As the Socceroos prepare for their do-or-die World Cup qualifier against Honduras at ANZ Stadium tonight, Wind-back Wednesday revisits Australia’s most dramatic playoff triumph.
After an agonising run of near misses, Australia ended a 32-year absence from the World Cup Finals by downing archrivals Uruguay to qualify for the Germany 2006.
Uruguay prevailed 1-0 in the first leg in Montevideo, but the Socceroos squared the ledger in Sydney via Mark Bresciano’s 35th-minute goal. The aggregate scores remained locked after extra-time, sending the tie into a nerve-shredding penalty shootout.
Goalkeeper Mark Scharwzer carved his name into Australian football folklore with two fantastic saves, before John Aloisi’s successful attempt sealed the shootout 4-2, sparking pandemonium on the field, in the commentary box and in the stands as 82,698 fans went nuts.
Will the Socceroos require another penalty shootout tonight, will they seal a fourth straight World Cup appearance in regulation time…or will Honduras spring a king-sized upset to break Australian hearts?