There’s just seven weeks to go until the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and as part of our countdown to the tournament in Russia, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a World Cup.
Today we look back at the career of Josip Skoko, a classy midfielder who was part of the drought-breaking squad that went to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Cap number: 429
World Cups played at: 2006
Age at World Cup: 30 (now aged 42)
Clubs played for:
North Geelong Warriors, Hajduk Split, Genk, Genclerbirligi, Wigan Athletic, Stoke City, Melbourne Heart
Best World Cup moment:
Skoko was on the bench for all four matches at the ’06 tournament, including the memorable win over Japan in the first group match in Kaiserslautern.
But with so much midfield talent in the Australian side, he wasn’t able to get on the pitch for any of the four matches.
Skoko was on the pitch when the Caltex Socceroos beat Uruguay in that famous penalty-shootout in 2005, which sent Australia to the World Cup.
In the farewell match in Melbourne just before the ’06 tournament, Skoko scored a cracking volley from 25 metres out in a 1-0 friendly win over Greece in front of more than 95,000 fans at the MCG.
At club level, he was part of a Genk side that won the Championship in 2001/02 and the Cup in 1999/2000, while he also won a Croatian Cup with Hajduk Split in 2010.
Skoko did some coaching with young kids at his first club, North Geelong Warriors, as helping out at the club as football operations manager. He was also a coffee distributor in Australia for Austrian brand Julius Meinl.
Did you know?
Skoko captained his Belgian club Genk in a UEFA Champions League game against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. He also captained the Caltex Socceroos four times.
Arnie’s Caltex Socceroos take shape as attacking stars shine
The Graham Arnold era has gotten off to a flying start, less than three months out from the opening game of the Caltex Socceroos’ AFC Asian Cup title defence. Apostolos Giannou, Tom Rogic, debutant Awer Mabil and an own goal were the difference as Australia cruised to a 4-0 wi
Caltex Socceroos outclass Kuwait as Arnie starts with a win
Graham Arnold’s reign as new Caltex Socceroos boss has got off to a perfect start with Australia crushing Kuwait 4-0 on Tuesday morning (AEDT). In a perfect start to Australian football’s new era, the Caltex Socceroos scored twice in each half to cap an encouraging and excitin
Re-live the Caltex Socceroos' big win over Kuwait
The Caltex Socceroos have made the ideal start to their march towards January's AFC Asian Cup with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Kuwait on Tuesday morning (AEDT). An own goal and further strikes from Apostolos Giannou, Tom Rogic and debutant Awer Mabil were enough to hand new b
History repeats: the stats you need to know ahead of Kuwait v Caltex Socceroos
It’s nearly time – your Caltex Socceroos go head to head with Kuwait on Tuesday morning (3.30am AEDT). Anticipation for the start of the Graham Arnold era has been rising for some time now, but it all finally gets underway on the pitch in Australia’s clash with the Middle East