Faces of Football

Faces of Football: Australia - a letter to the national team

90min
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min /
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Dear Australian national team,

Here we are, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is upon us, and once again, Australian football will take its rightful seat at football’s most exclusive table. 

Against all odds, Australia were able to tap into its Aussie DNA, evoke the Never Say Never attitude and play in a way that would make each of the late Johnny Warren and Les Murray proud, to qualify for this year’s showpiece event. I for one cannot wait until we kick off our campaign against France on 22 November.  

I have been extremely privileged to witness many of this team’s iconic moments in our recent history. 

I was there when Josh Kennedy rose above Iraq’s defence in the 83rd minute to head the ball into the back of the net, sending Australia to Brazil in 2014. I was there when Massimo Luongo and James Troisi were on the scoresheet against South Korea for Australia to win the AFC Asian Cup on home soil. I was there for the Mile Jedinak masterclass against Honduras in the 2018 FIFA World Cup intercontinental playoff in Sydney. 

And most recently, I was there in Qatar, with you, when we defeated the UAE and Peru to qualify for our fifth consecutive men’s FIFA World Cup. Australian football has a rich and proud history, and your performances throughout June in Qatar undoubtedly added another chapter to our ever-evolving story. You will be remembered as the latest group of footballers to inspire a nation to believe that Australia does deserve to be recognised amongst football’s elite.

Moments after Australia beat Peru on penalties following Andrew Redmayne’s goalkeeping heroics, my mind immediately turned to how I was going to support Australia during the World Cup. And then it dawned on me, I needed to get myself back to Qatar in five months time to attend my first ever men’s World Cup. 

Fast forward to November 2022, final preparations are underway, and I will be on a plane from Sydney with hundreds of other Socceroos fans to support the team in its quest for World Cup glory very soon. 

Football has the ability to unite the world, and the Socceroos have the ability to unite our nation yet again. Built on the foundations of respect, multiculturalism, equality and fairness, the Socceroos and Matildas embody all of the characteristics that made me fall in love with football. 

Now it is time for the world to see what Australian football stands for. I have absolutely no doubt that regardless of the results, you, the Socceroos, will do Australian football extremely proud in Qatar. So keep an eye out for me, that crazy fan in the stands who went ballistic in Qatar when Ajdin Hrustic volleyed home late in the knockout qualifier against UAE to secure a playoff against Peru, as I will be in the Al Janoub Stadium for each of our group stage matches cheering the boys on every step of the way!

As a proud fan, and proud Australian, I would like to wish the team all the very best in its quest for World Cup Glory at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. 

Best wishes,

Adrian

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