As the Socceroos prepare for their FIFA 2018 Russia World Cup Qualifier™ on September 3 in Perth, it marks a ten-year anniversary of sorts.
September 3, 2005 was the day the Socceroos took on Solomon Islands in Sydney, the first leg of their final round of World Cup qualifiers in the Oceania Confederation (OFC).
But the match was also significant as it marked the first match in charge for new coach Guus Hiddink.
The Dutchman had just taken over from Frank Farina and was charged with ending Australia’s 32-year World Cup drought and qualifying for the FIFA 2006 Germany World Cup.
And Hiddink’s tenure would get off to a comfortable start as the Socceroos outfit cruised to a comfortable 7-0 victory at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Mark Viduka bagged two goals on the night, including a spectacular overhead kick after Jason Culina had started the rout with a thunderbolt from the edge of the box on 20 minutes.
Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, substitute Archie Thompson and Brett Emerton all scored second half goals after the visitors’ Nelson Kulifa was sent off for kicking Culina.
Other names in the Socceroos that night included two current Hyundai A-League coaches: Tony Popovic and John Aloisi, as well as Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella and Lucas Neill.
An offside flag denied Viduka his hat-trick in the second half but it mattered little as Hiddink’s array of attacking stars made the most of their numerical advantage with ease.
After a tricky 2-1 win in Honiara four days later - Australia's final game in the OFC before moving to the AFC - the easy aggregate win sent Hiddink and the Socceroos into the final play-off with fifth-placed South American nation Uruguay in November.
And there their World Cup place would be secured on that special night at Stadium Australia.
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