Players in the mood to party with fans
The Qantas Socceroos have completed their graduation into world football's elite. Now bring on the after-party.
DOHA, June 7 AAP - The Qantas Socceroos have completed their graduation into world football's elite. Now bring on the after-party.
The Qantas Socceroos secured back-to-back World Cup finals berths for the first time with a scoreless draw against a determined Qatar in Doha on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEST).
It was a long way from the euphoria of the penalty shootout win over Uruguay four years ago, which took them to Germany in 2006.
But in its own way, it was equally spectacular - achieved with two games to go, without losing a game in the final stage of qualification or conceding a goal.
"I'm just absolutely buzzing," star Tim Cahill said.
"Hopefully everyone appreciates it, we know they do.
"This is a reward for Australia, this is a reward for everyone, especially the kids, they can live all their dreams."
After decades of World Cup heartbreak, in which the Qantas Socceroos only reached only one World Cup between 1930 and 2002, they have ushered in a new era with successive qualifications.
That began with a magnificent showing at the 2006 World Cup, where the Qantas Socceroos progressed from their group under Guus Hiddink and were beaten narrowly by eventual champions Italy.
Any doubts that performance was a fluke were blown away by the emphatic style of qualification in Australia's first campaign under new hero Pim Verbeek - the first since moving to the Asian Football Confederation.
There are still matches to come, against Bahrain in Sydney on Wednesday and Japan in Melbourne a week later.
Those matches promise to be big `thank you' parties, from the team to the fans and vice versa.
But mostly it's a celebration that those days of heartbreak and hard luck stories are long gone.
"Talking 10 years ago, Australia's dream was just to make the World Cup," midfielder Vince Grella said.
"Now we've made two in row and and I think we shouldn't forget how important it is."
History repeats: the stats you need to know ahead of Kuwait v Caltex Socceroos
It’s nearly time – your Caltex Socceroos go head to head with Kuwait on Tuesday morning (3.30am AEDT). Anticipation for the start of the Graham Arnold era has been rising for some time now, but it all finally gets underway on the pitch in Australia’s clash with the Middle East
Arnold challenges his Caltex Socceroos to show their quality against Kuwait
The preparations are complete and new boss Graham Arnold now wants his Caltex Socceroos to show their quality in Tuesday morning’s (AEDT) friendly against Kuwait. Australian football’s new era gets underway at the Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium as Arnold takes charge of his fir
‘It will be free-flowing attacking football’: Rogic set to thrive in Arnold’s Caltex Socceroos
Tom Rogic is relishing the freedom he’ll have in Graham Arnold’s attack-minded Caltex Socceroos game-plan which is set to be unleashed against Kuwait on Tuesday morning (AEDT). Arnold takes charge of his first match in charge of the national team tomorrow in a vital pre-AFC As
Camp in quotes: Attack-minded sessions have Caltex Socceroos raring to go
Attack has been the focus of the latest Caltex Socceroos camp and, as a result, the mood among the players is one of excitement and anticipation. The excitement comes from not just the latest camp, in the United Arab Emirates ahead of Tuesday morning’s (AEDT) showdown with Kuw