Socceroos to farewell fans with match against New Zealand in September
The Socceroos’ farewell match to Australian fans before heading to this year’s World Cup is set to be played two months before the start of the tournament on November 21.
With the only FIFA international window between now and the World Cup taking place in September, Australia’s home match against New Zealand as part of a two-game series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first meeting between the nations is set to serve as the Socceroos’ farewell.
As reported last week, New Zealand – who missed World Cup qualification after losing 1-0 to Costa Rica in Wednesday morning’s playoff – will host the Socceroos at Auckland’s Eden Park on September 25.
It will be the second match of the series, with the first taking place in Australia – most likely in either Sydney or Melbourne – in the week beforehand.
Less than a month before the start of 2006 World Cup, more than 95,000 fans watched the Socceroos beat Greece 1-0 at the MCG in a farewell match.
The MCG again hosted the Socceroos’ farewell game before the 2010 World Cup, with Australia beating New Zealand 2-1 in front of a crowd of 55,659.
The Socceroos farewelled Australian supporters before the 2014 World Cup with a 1-1 draw against South Africa at Sydney’s Stadium Australia, where 50,468 people were in attendance.
Australia didn’t play a farewell match before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Socceroos sealed qualification to a fifth successive World Cup finals tournament with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Peru in Tuesday morning’s playoff in Qatar.
Substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was the hero, saving Peru’s sixth penalty – taken by Alex Valera – after the shootout entered sudden-death.
In a shock move which paid dividends, penalty-saving specialist Redmayne replaced Socceroos captain and first-choice goalkeeper Mat Ryan deep into extra-time with the match locked at 0-0.
Ryan, who didn’t know about coach Graham Arnold’s plan to bring on Redmayne if required, told Sydney radio station 2GB he had a feeling of “slight disappointment” when he was replaced.
“But we’ve all got the great attitude of team first,” Ryan said.
“I’d still like to think that I’d have done the job myself if I was out there, but it would have gone against everything I stand for.
“I would have been a hypocrite if I decided to spit the dummy.
“I have complete faith in ‘Arnie’ and his decisions. He’s the manager of the team and I respect him a great deal for what he’s done for my career.
“I’m just happy that (we’ve qualified) against the odds.”
Originally published as Socceroos to farewell fans with match against New Zealand in September
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