With the countdown to the June 4 return of the Socceroos ramping up every day, we will be re-living the key moments of our WCQ Journey so far!
Back in late 2019, Mathew Leckie spoke of his pride at leading the Socceroos for the first time as Australia got off to a winning start in their FIFA World Cup 2022™ qualifying campaign.
Leckie became the 61st player to captain the Socceroos during a strong win over Kuwait in the Middle East.
And the Hertha Berlin attacker capped the occasion with the opening two goals as Australia record a 3-0 victory to begin their journey to Qatar in sensational fashion.
“It means everything. I love playing for my country…as a young boy you always dream to,” Leckie told Socceroos.com.au after the match.
“For me to get the opportunity to captain the side, it’s something you never really expect.
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"It’s an honour and I have to thank Arnie [coach Graham Arnold], he let me know yesterday and to come away with a 3-0 win in an away game and start like this, it couldn’t have gone much better.
“It’s a moment I’ll never forget, I’m very honoured.”
The Australians expected a tough battle in stifling conditions in Kuwait but made the ideal start as Leckie put them ahead inside seven minutes.
The 28-year-old doubled the lead on the half-hour mark when he swivelled and shot in the one movement from Jackson Irvine’s downward header.
A sublime strike from Aaron Mooy made it 3-0 before half-time with the Caltex Socceroos producing a professional performance in the second-half to ice the result.
“It is always tough qualification in Asia, especially away games. We had a good training camp (and) we were fortunate that we only had one game this camp, so we had a good week to prepare,” Leckie said.
“The boys showed a good mentality today, a lot of concentration, those are the things you need playing in these conditions.
“It is very warm, so I think it comes down to the mental game. 3-0 away, it is never easy, but we got the job done.”