'Never, ever in my life seen that’: Rasic & Bosnich relive that fateful night against Iran
Former Socceroos coach Rale Rasic took a trip down memory lane with ex-Socceroo Mark Bosnich as they recounted that FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Iran at the MCG in 1997.
Two of Australia’s footballing icons were in good spirits as they sat down to reminisce about one of the most difficult matches to stomach in the Socceroos’ history.
Bosnich was centre stage, in between the sticks for the green and gold that evening while Rasic was watching on in the stands as the drama unfolded.
84-year-old Rasic has a crystal clear memory and had no trouble recounting the incredible atmosphere at the MCG in the lead up to the clash.
“I sat between the late Jimmy McKay and John Kosmina in the grandstand after we were paraded before the game,” Rasic said.
“We came from St. Kilda in these fascinating Rolls Royces, that was like being Hollywood.
“Then the stadium, MCG, just sensational.”
It all seemed to be going to script for the Socceroos as they raced to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Harry Kewell and Aurelio Vidmar.
However, damage to the Iranian goal caused the match to be delayed and ultimately swung momentum in the visitors’ favour.
Rasic asked Bosnich about the incident: “I think the bigger issue for me was that when we came back, I actually think the Iranian coach made some very good changes and they started to get on top of us in midfield because of the amount of energy,” Bozza said.
“I thought that was the time that we needed to make some changes and you’re right I think Terry Venables is one of the greatest coaches I’ve played under but I think right at that time, it was easy to say in hindsight because the game should’ve been over right now but that was perhaps the time to make changes.”
The ex-Premier League goalkeeper believed there was one crucial mistake which some of the Socceroos players made.
“Some players started thinking about France when there was still 15 minutes to go. The time to think about France is when you’re celebrating afterwards.”
I also believe that everything happens for a reason, I believe sometimes you have to go through something like that for something like 2005 to occur.”
Rasic remembered the raw emotion from McKay and Kosmina after Iran pegged one back.
“I look at John Kosmina, he looked at me and he’s crying and I said, I always thought he was Iron Man. I always imagined because he was the hardest man.”
The disappointment and sadness that reverberated around the stadium when the full time whistle blew was an unforgettable experience for Rasic and all the Socceroos spectators.
“People crying leaving the stadium. I have never, ever in my life seen that at any stadium in the world that a nation got involved so deeply.
"Australia, always was proud when 11 players take the field and that was no question of national pride.”