He played more than 50 times for the Socceroos and went to the 2006 FIFA World Cup but there’s one moment former midfielder Josip Skoko feels he’s best remembered for.
It came the last time Australia played Greece back in 2006, a 1-0 win at the MCG in front of more than 95,000 fans in the side’s farewell game before the World Cup in Germany.
From just outside the box, Skoko hit a stunning volley with his left foot which flew over a host of players to nestle in the far, top corner.
“I always say to people it’s awesome to have a memory that everyone remembers you by and that was the one for me,” Skoko told FFA TV, reflecting on that incredible strike.
“I think it was Lucas Neill that got it back towards goal [from a corner] then Mile Sterjovski popped it backwards and I’m thinking ‘what’s he doing?’.
“It was quite a difficult one. [But] it was a counter attack if I don’t hit this one. I was just hoping to hit it anywhere near the target and it sat beautifully. It was nice to see it go in the top corner.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere,” he added. “To get 95,000 people at the MCG for any sport at any level is amazing to play in front of.
“But this was an important one for us. It was our last game, a farewell and it was great to see the country get behind us.”
The current Caltex Socceroos now get a chance to replicate that iconic moment in the two-game Dodoni Series starting in Sydney on Saturday followed by Melbourne on Tuesday, June 7.
Skoko, who was a part of a star-studded Socceroos midfield during his playing days, likes the look of the current group and can see some similarities between the 2006 side and Ange Postecoglou’s troops.
“It’s a very different midfield but also similar in some ways. I’ve seen a lot of Aaron Mooy recently here in the [Hyundai] A-League and at national team level,” Skoko says.
“He sought of reminds me of how we were in there. There’s a lot of good players in there [now], whilst we were a little bit different, probably playing overseas a little bit more and a bit more experience.“I think they blend quite well together and the results have shown with the Asian Cup, they have a good balance in there.”