There are just five weeks until the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and as part of our countdown to the tournament, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a FIFA World Cup.
Next up is one of our heroes from the 2006 tournament in Germany – and the man whose penalty ended our 32-year World Cup drought – striker John Aloisi.
Cap number: 428
World Cups played at: 2006
Age at World Cup: 30 (now aged 42)
Clubs played for:
Adelaide City, Standard Liege, Antwerp, Cremonese, Portsmouth, Coventry City, Osasuna, Alaves, Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart.
Best World Cup moment:
Aloisi featured in all four matches the Caltex Socceroos played in Germany, used as a super-sub by coach Guus Hiddink.
Undoubtedly his best moment came in the opening group match against Japan.
When the experienced striker was introduced with 15 minutes left the Caltex Socceroos trailed 1-0, until Tim Cahill’s brace turned the game before Aloisi put the icing on the cake with the match-sealer in the final minute.
At that time, he was just the second-ever Australian to score at a FIFA World Cup.
While Aloisi enjoyed an excellent club career in Europe, the undoubted highlight of his career came on THAT night in Sydney in 2005.
For all his achievements as a player, Aloisi will always be remembered for his winning penalty in the shootout against Uruguay that sent the Caltex Socceroos to Germany 2006.
He had a few highs at club level as well, including scoring in the final of Spain’s Copa del Rey (although his Osasuna side lost 2-1 to Real Betis, while he also won the double with Sydney FC in the 2009/10 Season.
Aloisi stayed involved in football, getting into management. He started with Melbourne Heart, before a short stint with Melbourne Victory’s Youth set-up before joining Brisbane Roar, where he has been the club’s Hyundai A-League coach for the last three seasons.
Did you know?
Aloisi was the first Australian ever to both play and score in the three big European leagues, Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League and Italy’s Serie A.