The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is less than a month away and as part of our countdown to the tournament, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a FIFA World Cup.
Today we continue the countdown with current skipper and midfield general Mile Jedinak, a goal-scorer at the 2014 Tournament in Brazil.
Cap number: 453
World Cups played at: 2010, 2014
Age at World Cup: 33
Clubs played for: Sydney United 58, Varteks, Central Coast Mariners, Genclerbirligi, Antalyaspor, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa
Best World Cup moment: After getting his first taste of World Cup action off the bench in Australia’s 4-0 opening game defeat to Germany in 2010, Jedinak’s stewardship of the Caltex Socceroos in Brazil 2014 earned the combative midfielder a series of plaudits.
Jedinak was responsible for a truly delirious Caltex Socceroos World Cup moment – despite only being a brief one – when the captain showed nerves of steel to put Australia 2-1 up against the Netherlands from the penalty spot in their Group B encounter in 2014.
Although Australia’s lead lasted just four minutes and were eventually defeated 3-2 following goals from Robin van Persie and Memphis Depay, Jedinak’s ice-cool ruthlessness was a fantastic and deserved moment in the sunshine for Ange Postecoglou’s side.
Career highlight: Jedinak has won domestic premierships with Sydney United 58 and Central Coast Mariners, the EFL Championship play-off Final with Crystal Palace and lifted the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil as well as collecting a litany of individual honours across his storied career.
But arguably the moment that underlines Jedinak’s service to the Caltex Socceroos and the midfielder’s indomitable aura on the field came in the form of a hat-trick against Honduras to send Australia to the World Cup back in November 2017.
After failing to qualify for Russia automatically at the end of the group stage, Australia’s passage to the 2018 World Cup was blocked by a brutal two-leg affair with the notoriously difficult Central Americans. Following a scoreless first leg, Jedinak’s outstanding captain’s display at ANZ Stadium – which included two coolly dispatched penalties and a 53rd-minute free-kick – saw the Caltex Socceroos qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup.
Jedinak is still playing, trying to help Aston Villa get promoted back to the Premier League with the Championship final against Fulham to come on the weekend.
Did you know?
That famous hat-trick against Honduras was the first treble Jedinak has ever scored.