Australia plays its second international of the week On Tuesday night in Perth, when it takes on Indonesia to help raise funds following the Christmas tsunami that has left parts of Indonesia totally devastated. Ben Coonan takes a look at Indonesia and its recent history in Asia.
By Ben Coonan
Indonesia are the fourth most populous nation in the world with some 250 million residents and although are they have a passion for football they have generally struggled to make an impact on the world stage.
Presently, Indonesia is ranked 92 in the world by FIFA, ahead of past World Cup finalists Korea DPR (95), Bolivia (97), and New Zealand (98).
Whilst not being a prominent challenger in their Asian confederation, Indonesia have earned a rugged reputation in recent years through determined performances in World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying campaigns and solid showings at the bi-annual Tiger Cup - a competition exclusively for countries from South East Asia.
At the most recent Tiger Cup held in Malaysia and Vietnam in January of this year, Indonesia lost out to Singapore 5-2 on aggregate after a home and away final series.
Indonesia have only failed to make the Tiger Cup final on two occasions from five attempts, but have also failed to claim the title yet, having fallen to Thailand twice consecutively in the last two tournaments.
The Tiger Cup-s predecessor, the South East Asian Games, has twice been won by Indonesia in 1987 and 1991.
In World Cup qualification, Indonesia has been equally competitive, but has yet to break through permanently into Asia-s top bracket of nations.
In attempting to qualify to Germany 2006, Indonesia were grouped with Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and traditional heavyweights Saudi Arabia in a must win group and performed, arguably, above expectations by missing out on second place to Turkmenistan due to goal difference only.
The closest Indonesia has come to snaring an unprecedented place amongst Asia-s elite was in attempting to qualify for Korea/Japan in 2002, when four wins consecutively against the Maldives and Cambodia set up a pair of ‘winner takes all- matches against China.
History will show that the Indonesians were proven to be out of their depth by eventual qualifiers China, who put seven goals past their opponents in two matches.
Before joining FIFA officially in 1952, Indonesia can lay claim to their solitary World Cup finals appearance - in France 1938 where they participated under the guise Dutch East Indies.
The tournament was a short one for the Dutch East Indies, who lost to Hungary first up in the knockout styled tournament 6-0.
Domestically, Indonesia has achieved modest success at the Asian Cup.
After three first round exits in 1968, 1996 and 2000, Indonesia followed suit in 2004 with an early trip home from the championships in China.
Having notched an impressive 2-1 win over Qatar in their opening match, subsequent losses to the hosts and Bahrain ended the Indonesian-s involvement.
Regardless of another group stage exit, significant strides have been made recently under new coach Peter Withe, a former English international; will be looking to further enhance Indonesia-s standing in their region.
Indonesia-s best chance for success at Subiaco Oval possibly rests with striker Bambang Paungkas, one of a rare crop of Indonesians to experience a stint overseas - with EHC Norad in the Netherlands.
Goalkeeper Hendro Kartiko was the star for his side at the Asian Cup and is the only Indonesian to ever be named in an Asian team of the year, in 2000.
The interest caused by football in their home country is immense and with things starting to turn around on the field, Indonesia are slowly starting to blossom on the international stage.
INDONESIA Squad: Hendro Kartiko, Ismed Sofyan, Ortizan Salossa, Jack K Komboy, Charis Yulianto, Mohammad Mauly Lessy, Boaz T E Salossa, Elie Aiboy, Ilham Jaya Kesuma, Kurniawan D Yulianto, Ponaryo Astaman, Yandri Christian Pitoy, Agus Indra Kurniawan, Firman Utina, Jimmy Surparno, Syamsul Bachri, Hamka Hamzah, Firmansyah, Christian Worabai, Mahyadi Panggabean.
Australia has played Indonesia on 12 occasions, with Australia winning nine and Indonesia just the once. It has been over 11 years since they last met, with Australia winning 3-0 in Jakarta.
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