A long standing rivalry: Caltex Socceroos’ history against Korea Republic

The Caltex Socceroos are set to fine-tune their preparations for their AFC Asian Cup title defence next year with a high-profile friendly against the Korea Republic in Brisbane.

These two nations have forged quite a rivalry over the years – who could forget their last meeting in the 2015 Asian Cup final – and will resume hostilities in what should be a thrilling encounter at Suncorp Stadium.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: A new dawn rises in Graham Arnold's first match on Aussie soil

Ahead of the clash in October, we’re taking a look back at the Caltex Socceroos’ record against Korea Republic and some of the key matches between the two nations over the years.


  • Games played: 33
  • Caltex Socceroos wins: 13
  • Draws: 9
  • Korea Republic wins: 11



The Caltex Socceroos and the Korea Republic had forged quite a healthy rivalry, even before Australia’s move into the AFC.

The first full international between the two nations dates back to 1967 at a tournament in Vietnam, where the Socceroos emerged 3-2 winners with Johnny Warren scoring the decisive goal six minutes from the end.

The overall record between the countries is very tight, which has been a theme of almost every clash between Australia and the Korea Republic.

In fact, only once has the winning margin been greater than two goals either way, that coming in 1987 when the Socceroos won 5-0 at the Presidents Cup in Suwon.

Interestingly, new Caltex Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was on the scoresheet that day, while former Aussie boss Frank Farina scored a second-half double.

There’s no doubt the most famous clash between the two nations came the last time they met, the AFC Asian Cup final in 2015 which Australia won 2-1 in dramatic circumstances after extra-time.

Graham Arnold during his playing days for the Socceroos.
Graham Arnold during his playing days for the Socceroos.


  • Korea Republic 0-1 Australia in Hong Kong - November 13, 1973

After getting past New Zealand, Indonesia, Iraq and Iran, the Socceroos took on Korea Republic for a spot at the 1974 FIFA World Cup™.

After the home and away matches ended all square (0-0 in Australia and 2-2 in Korea), a hastily-arranged decider was organised a few days later in Hong Kong.

And that’s where Jimmy Mackay scored the historic goal which booked Australia its place in the 1974 tournament.

And what a goal it was too. From distance and 20 minutes from the end, Mackay hit a looping drive that deceived the keeper and flew into the net.

It was the most significant goal to that point in Australia’s national team history... and the Green and Gold were off to the World Cup for the first time.

Jimmy Mackay
Jimmy Mackay
  • Korea Republic 1-0 Australia in Korea – June 3, 2001

A year before Korea Republic hosted the FIFA World Cup™ - along with Japan – the two nations held the Confederations Cup on home soil.

The Caltex Socceroos were pitted in the same group as the Koreans, who were coached by a certain Guus Hiddink.

After wins over Mexico and world champions France in the first two group games, Australia’s spot in the semi-finals was already assured meaning the 1-0 defeat – courtesy of Hwang Sun-hong’s first-half goal mattered little.

Australia ended up losing the semi-final to Japan but beat Brazil 1-0 in the playoff for third, just 12 months before the South Americans went on to win the 2002 FIFA World Cup™.

Korea edged out the Socceroos 1-0 at the 2001 Confederations Cup.
Korea Republic edged out the Socceroos 1-0 at the 2001 Confederations Cup.
  • Australia 2-1 Korea Republic – January 31, 2015

More than 76,000 fans were inside Australia’s Olympic stadium in Sydney to see if Ange Postecoglou’s side could win a historic first major trophy at senior international level.

And they were treated to a thrilling decider, which ebbed and flowed for 120 minutes.

The Caltex Socceroos led 1-0 at the break thanks to Massimo Luongo’s piercing shot from distance, and that goal looked like being the winner until a late twist.

In the first minute of stoppage-time, Korea Republic’s superstar Son Heung-Min latched onto Ki Sung-yueng’s pass to fire beyond Mat Ryan and force extra-time.

Despite the late heartbreak, Australia regrouped and went back in front in the first-half of extra-time when Tomi Juric’s cross was parried by the keeper into the path of substitute James Troisi to fire into the roof of the net.

The home side then held on for the last 15 minutes to lift the AFC Asian Cup trophy for the first time.

The event is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland in partnership with Brisbane City Council through Brisbane Marketing.

Asian Cup
Mile Jedinak lifts the Asian Cup trophy in 2015.
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