69 days to go: Peter Wilson's 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’re up to number three in our countdown with former skipper Peter Wilson, a defender for Australia at the 1974 World Cup.

FIFA World Cup: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number:


World Cups played at




Age at World Cup:

26 (now 70)

Clubs played for:

Middlesbrough, Gateshead FC, South Coast United, Marconi, Safeway United, Western Suburbs, APIA Leichhardt

Best World Cup moment:

Wilson led the Socceroos in all three matches at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

He produced some defensive heroics for the side throughout the campaign, including in the final match played in torrential rain where Australia held Chile to a 0-0 draw for their first point at the tournament.

Career highlight:

The 1974 World Cup was undoubtedly his career high and after his impressive performances at the tournament, some of the European newspapers rated him amongst the greatest players in the world at the time.

After the World Cup, he received rich offers from clubs in England to return there to continue his career Wilson decided to stay in Australia.

Post-playing career:

Wilson tried his hand at coaching for a little while but gave it away soon after his playing days ended.

In later life, Wilson was living as a recluse in a mountain hideaway near Wollongong, south of Sydney, with his home ringed with barbed wire to keep away prying media.

Did you know?

When Wilson signed with Sydney club Western Suburbs late in his playing career, he used to travel 257 kilometres four times a week for training. He also owned a Clydesdale on his Wollongong property, naming it Bonza.

*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.