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Socceroos vs South America in WC play-offs

SOCCEROOS’ HISTORY IN WORLD CUP PLAY-OFFS AGAINST SOUTH AMERICAN TEAMS AHEAD OF THEIR CLASH WITH PERU IN QATAR

1993 – ARGENTINA

Having breezed through Oceania qualifying, Australia got themselves within one step of a first World Cup since 1974 after defeating Canada in a home-and-away play-off. Standing in their way was an Argentina team that had reached the final of three of the past four World Cups. Humiliated 5-0 by Colombia in South American qualifying, Argentina were buoyed by the return of legendary Diego Maradona after a dispute with manager Alfio Basile. A crowd of 43,967 at the Sydney Football Stadium watched Australia draw 1-1 with Aurelio Vidmar scoring the home team’s goal. In front of a partisan 67,000 crowd in Buenos Aires 18 days later, Maradona’s men claimed a 1-0 win to eliminate Australia and qualify for USA ’94.

2001 – URUGUAY

Australia’s World Cup dream had been shattered four years earlier by a dramatic Iranian comeback at the MCG, but a 1-0 first leg win thanks to Kevin Muscat’s second-half penalty over Uruguay at the same ground had the Socceroos dreaming a first tournament qualification since 1974 was in their grasp. The play-offs again became the stuff of nightmares as soon as Australia’s players arrived at Montevideo airport for the second leg. Spat on, punched and abused by a mob of Uruguayan fans, the team were then kept awake by noisy supporters outside their team hotel before succumbing to a 3-0 loss by an Alvaro Recoba-inspired team.

2005 – URUGUAY

It was a case of ‘won’t get fooled again’ as the more street-wise Socceroos lined up to take on Uruguay four years on for their Montevideo shambles. This time the first leg was in South America and while the hosts still claimed a win, it was just 1-0 and Guus Hiddink’s team quickly flew back to Sydney on a chartered flight with a specialised fit-out to prepare for the second leg. A hostile Australian crowd repaid the favour to the South Americans from the previous play-off as Mark Bresciano’s first-half goal levelled the tie. Level on aggregate after extra-time Australia won the shootout thanks to two saves from Mark Schwarzer before John Aloisi’s sealer sparked euphoric celebrations and ended Australia’s 32-year wait to reach a World Cup.

AUSTRALIA IN WORLD CUP PLAY OFF MATCHES

1965 – lost to North Korea

1969 – lost to Israel

1973 – beat South Korea

1985 – lost to Scotland

1993 – lost to Argentina

1997 – lost to Iran

2001 – lost to Uruguay

2005 – beat Uruguay

2017 – beat Honduras

Overall: Won 3, lost 6

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