Craig Foster hails history-making World Cup win over Denmark as a ‘phenomenal moment for Australian football’ and reveals what sets team apart from the 2006 Golden Generation
Craig Foster hailed a ‘phenomenal moment for Australian football’ as the Socceroos qualified for the knockout stages of the World Cup on Thursday morning (AEDT).
Mathew Leckie scored the only goal of the game as Australia beat Denmark 1-0 at the Al Janoub Stadium to finish second behind France in Group D and reach the Round of 16 for the first time in 16 years.
‘It’s a phenomenal moment for Australian football,’ Foster said on SBS on Thursday.
Australia reached the Round of 16 at the World Cup after beating Denmark 1-0
‘Again, it’s very different to the 2006 generation.
‘That is the beauty of this generation right now. That was a celebrated generation. An amazing group of players. Whereas this is a different set of qualities.’
Australia had only previously reached the knockout stages at the World Cup in 2006, when they ended a 32-year wait for an appearance at the tournament before ultimately losing to eventual world champions Italy.
Guus Hiddink’s team featured the so-called generation of Australian football, with the likes of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano and Mark Viduka the stars of a group that included several players plying their trade in Europe’s biggest leagues.
Mathew Leckie (left) scored the only goal of the game as the Socceroos stunned the Danes
Leckie’s goal on the hour mark came shortly after Tunisia had scored against France, meaning a draw would have no longer been good enough for Australia to go through
Craig Foster hailed the win over Denmark as a phenomenal moment for Australian football
It’s a complete different reality for Graham Arnold, whose team is made up a strong A-League contingent and players from the Scottish Premiership, the Championship and even the Japanese second division in the case of Mitchell Duke.
But Foster believes the current team is no longer overshadowed by the class of 2006 and that having players hailing from such a vast array of leagues could be beneficial.
‘Australia needs to learn from that,’ he said.
‘They don’t all have to be playing at the top level. If you have this level of togetherness, this level of spirit, anything can happen.’
Australia’s only appearance in the knockout stages came in 2006, when they had stars of the calibre of Mark Schwarzer (right), Tim Cahill (middle) and Lucas Neill (right)
A late Harry Kewell goal against Croatia ensured Australia qualified for the knockout stages
Graham Arnold can’t count on players of the same calibre, but has made his team hard to beat
The former Socceroos also praised Australia’s approach in the second half, when they took the game to Denmark.
The Socceroos went into the game knowing a draw would be enough to qualify as long as Tunisia didn’t beat France, but the scenario changed drastically when the north Africans took the lead against Les Bleus with 58 minutes played.
But barely two minutes elapsed, before Leckie’s wonderful solo finish sent Aussie fans into dreamland.
‘In the end, for them to go and want to win the game [was crucial],’ Foster added. ‘We saw that Tunisia was winning the other one. France didn’t play well. They had to have it in their hands.’