66 days to go: Ray Richards' FIFA World Cup story

As part of our countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we profile every Australian player who's been to a World Cup.

Today we continue the countdown with Ray Richards, one of Australia's midfielders at the 1974 World Cup.

FIFA World Cup: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number: 199

World Cups played at: 1974

Position: midfielder

Age at World Cup: 27

Clubs played for: Latrobe, Hollandia, Sydney Croatia, Marconi, APIA Leichhardt

Best World Cup moment

Richards played in all three matches for the Socceroos at their first-ever World Cup in 1974.

He was a part of the side that drew 0-0 with Chile in their final fixture in West Germany, claiming the Socceroos’ first ever World Cup point.

Richards was unfortunately sent off late in the clash with Chile, becoming the first Australian to be shown a red card in a World Cup match. 

Career highlight

A tough-tackling midfielder, Richards played 31 ‘A’ internationals for the Socceroos and scored five goals.

He enjoyed a successful career in Australia after migrating from England at age 19, highlighted by three seasons as player-coach of Marconi.

His career flourished in the Socceroos under Rale Rasic and he became a well-respected member of the squad with his passion, desire and no-nonsense style.

Post-playing career

Richards was one of the inaugural inductees into the FFA Hall of Fame in 1999.

He was known to run a sporting goods retailer in Sydney following his retirement.

Did you know?

Richards received a second yellow card in the final group match against Chile at the 1974 World Cup, only for the referee to forget that he had already been booked!  

Interestingly, it took another four minutes following the second caution for officials to realise the mistake and eventually send Richards off.

*Photographs from the Les Shorrock, Laurie Schwab and Anton Cermak collections are used with permission from Deakin University Library, Eileen Shorrock and Mrs Jana Cermak.