2 days to go: Massimo Luongo’s FIFA World Cup story
As part of our countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, we are profiling every Australian who's been to a World Cup.
Today, with just two days until the big event kicks off, we continue the countdown with Massimo Luongo who was part of the Caltex Socceroos 2014 FIFA World Cup™ squad in Brazil.
Cap number: 571
World Cups played at: 2014
Position: Centre midfielder
Age at World Cup: 21 (now 25)
Clubs played for: APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Tottenham Hotspur, Ipswich Town, Swindon Town, Queens Park Rangers
Best World Cup moment: With the likes of Mile Jedinak, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan and Mark Bresciano ahead of Luongo in Ange Postecoglou’s midfield pecking order, the then Swindon Town star didn’t feature on the pitch in Brazil 2014.
Despite this, it was an invaluable experience for the youngster who was playing in England's League One at the time. Luongo just six months later went on to star at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Luongo’s consistency for Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers has seen the diminutive midfielder become one of most important players at Loftus Road, highlighted by his appointment as captain and recognition as the club’s Player of the Year in 2017/18.
While the ever-improving Luongo boasts a series of highlights across his club career in England, the 25-year-old would rank his sensational 2015 AFC Asian Cup performance as a career highlight. Luongo netted the opening goal in Australia’s tournament-clinching victory over South Korea and was later named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament before earning a nomination for the 2015 Ballon d'Or Award.
Post-playing career: Luongo is still playing professionally and is set for his fourth season at Queens Park Rangers, as the Hoops look to put forward their name as promotion candidates in 2018/19.
Did you know? Born in Sydney, Luongo has a father is of Italian heritage and mother of Indonesian heritage. The midfielder also possesses an Italian passport.