Soccer is one of the most followed sports in Australia, with huge audiences turning out to watch the Australian national side. Nicknamed the ‘Socceroos’, the team has been represented at a number of major tournaments throughout their esteemed history, including the FIFA World Cup, and the AFC Asian Cup.
The history of the national team can be traced back to 1922, and you can find out all about their history and past performances in some of the major tournaments here.
The Australian national team didn’t play an international fixture until 1922 when they went on a tour of New Zealand. There was a lot to be optimistic about following their debut outings, as they picked up a draw and a loss in their first two matches.
Tours to opposing countries became a prominent factor for the national side over the next 36 years, as the Socceroos traveled to compete against New Zealand and South Africa. They also went on tours of Canada and India, before they were handed their biggest-ever defeat at the hands of England in 1951.
Qualification to major tournaments was the early goal for the nation, and they finally earned their spot in a competitive tournament when Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics. However, they came up short in that debut appearance, as they were eliminated in the first round.
The difficulty in playing other nations due to their geographic location was an issue throughout their early history, but they did taste their first success at a major event after claiming success in the 1967 South Vietnam Independence Cup.
World Cup Appearances
Australia finally celebrated reaching the World Cup for the first time in 1974, as they gained entry to the tournament in Germany after winning five of their eleven games in qualification. However, their run at the tournament would come to a swift end, as they were eliminated at the group stage, failing to win a single match.
It was a long wait until Australia was back at the major competition, as they didn’t qualify for another World Cup until 2006. However, it was a much stronger outing in their second appearance, which ironically was also in Germany. This time they recorded a victory in the group stage and made it through to the round of 16 before being eliminated.
It has been a golden spell of World Cup qualification since then, as Australia has qualified for each of the previous five editions of the tournament. However, they were knocked out in the group stage in each of 2010, 2014, and 2018 editions of the World Cup, winning just one match over that period.
2022 World Cup Performance
The Aussies competed in Group D of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar last year, with defending world champions France, who defeated the Socceroos 4-1 in the tournament's opening match. Many Australian online gaming sites gave the Socceroos long odds to advance, but they exceeded all expectations by going deep into the competition.
However, the Australian team impressed from that point, as they kept their hopes of progression alive with a 1-0 win over Tunisia. They then scored potentially their biggest-ever win at the World Cup to take the second spot in the group, as they landed a 1-0 success over Denmark. In fact, they only finished behind the reigning world champions on goal difference.
In the round of 16, Australia produced a late fightback, but they were eventually beaten by Argentina, who would later go on and win the competition. Statistically, it was Australia’s best-ever showing at the World Cup, as they won more games in a single edition of the tournament than they had previously. But, all attention now swiftly turns to the future.
The Road To The 2026 World Cup
Australia will now have its sights set on reaching a sixth straight World Cup in three years' time. However, before qualification gets underway for the major tournament, the Socceroos will be in action in the 2023 Asian Cup. Australia reached the quarter final stage in the previous edition of the tournament, but they previously were crowned champions at the event in 2015.
The 2023 edition of the tournament gets underway this year, but the date that the event will get underway is yet to be decided. It has been rumored that the competition could also get pushed back until the first months of 2024 due to the severe heat in Qatar. Either way, Australia will be one of the front runners for success in the competition.