The Socceroos' last three games in Perth – history hints at fruitful night against Kuwait

Let the record show that Perth has been a happy hunting ground for the Socceroos throughout the years.

As Australia prepare to host Kuwait at HBF Park on Thursday, March 26, Graham Arnold’s side will take great confidence from how they’ve fared in Western Australia’s capital throughout history.

Australia’s last loss in Perth came 25 years ago. On June 24, 1995, Ghana travelled to face the Socceroos at the WACA Ground and came away with a 1-0 win against an Australian side featuring Arnold himself in the starting 11.

Since that night in 1995 the Socceroos have played three times in Perth, registering three wins, scoring ten goals and conceding none.

It’s a convincing record which will have Arnold, his Socceroos squad and the local fans confident they will inflict a similar fate on Kuwait when they visit HBF Park on March 26.

Read on as we look back on the Socceroos’ last three victories in Perth.

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Socceroos v Kuwait

Socceroos 3-0 Indonesia – Subiaco Oval, March 29, 2005

Socceroos lineup: Zeljko Kalac (GK), Craig Moore, Luke Wilkshire, Johnathan McKain, Tony Vidmar, Ljubo Miličević, Jason Čulina, Brett Emerton, Stan Lazaridis, Ante Milicic, Mile Sterjovski.

Bench: Tony Popovic, Ahmad Elrich, Lucas Neill, Simon Colosimo, Jade North, David Zdrilic.

Socceroos; Indonesia
March 29, 2005: The Socceroos lineup against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval

In March 2005, Indonesia travelled to Perth to face the Socceroos at Subiaco Oval and were dealt a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at the hands of the hosts.

Ranked 92nd  in the world at the time, Indonesia were no match for Australia on a night when current Westfield Matildas head coach Ante Milicic scored a goal on either side of half-time, with substitute David Zdrilic putting the result beyond doubt in the 85th minute.

On an historic occasion in Perth, all net proceeds from the friendly match – played in front of over 13,000 spectators – went to the FIFA Tsunami Relief Appeal, a response to the tsunami which devastated Indonesia on Boxing Day 2004, less than two months before the game at Subiaco Oval.

Milicic scored the opener 25 minutes into play, connecting with a well-weighted ball from Stan Lazaridis from the left flank to send a looping header over Hendro Kartiko in Indonesia’s goal to give the Socceroos a one-goal advantage.

Fifteen minutes into the second stanza, substitute and current Perth Glory head coach Tony Popovic headed the ball toward goal from a corner routine and Milicic was on hand once again to pounce on the loose ball and guide it into the back of the net.

Zdrilic was just one of a raft of second-half substitutes but he ultimately had the biggest impact of them all, tucking home Australia’s third goal of the night to wrap up a convincing win.

Result aside, both the Socceroos and Indonesia left Subiaco Oval with the knowledge that their showcase event in Perth provided an avenue to much-needed fundraising in the wake of a devastating tsunami just weeks before.

Zdrilic celebrates his late goal with Ahmad Elrich
Zdrilic celebrates his late goal with Ahmad Elrich

Socceroos 5-0 Bangladesh – HBF Park, September 3, 2015

Socceroos lineup: Adam Federici (GK), Matthew Spiranovic, Tarek Elrich, Jason Davidson, Bailey Wright, Mark Milligan, Mathew Leckie, Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo, Tomi Rogic, Nathan Burns.

Bench: Chris Ikonomidis, Tim Cahill, Jackson Irvine, Aziz Behich, Alex Wilkinson, Ben Halloran, Eugene Galekovic (GK), Luke Brattan, Matt McKay, Ryan McGowan, Tommy Oar, Alex Cisak.

Highlights: Socceroos 5-0 Bangladesh

It had been ten years between drinks for Western Australian fans hoping to see the Socceroos on home soil, but when the national side returned to Perth to host Bangladesh in 2015, the Green and Gold rewarded the patient local supporters with a crushing five-goal display.

The Socceroos arrived in Perth in the initial stages of a long FIFA World Cup™ 2018 qualifying campaign, and dominated their opponents in every sense of the word from start to finish in the fixture at HBF Park.

Mathew Leckie opened the scoring after six minutes, benefiting from smart build-up play from Massimo Luongo to guide the ball underneath Bangladesh goalkeeper Sahidul Alam.

Then Tomi Rogic stepped forward to stamp his name on the contest. In his first Socceroos hit-out in more than a year, he scored an eighth-minute goal before drawing an own goal out of Topu Barman who stood in the way of his shot in the 20th minute. 

The Socceroos had the world’s 173rd-ranked side in a chokehold and Nathan Burns tightened that grip when he scored just before the half-hour mark to make it 4-0 with more than two thirds of the game left to play.

After building an unassailable lead, Australia took their foot off the pedal until current English Premier League and Socceroos star Aaron Mooy said ‘enough of that’, putting an exclamation mark on the Socceroos’ display with a peach of a goal from long range.

Mooy collected the ball from Mark Milligan on the turn and drove a dagger through the air which dipped, bent and swerved as it rifled past Alam and into the back of the net.

There were almost 20,000 fans in attendance on that night to watch Mooy cap off an extraordinary team display with a supreme piece of individual skill which had the fans off their seats and singing the Green and Gold’s praises.

Aaron Mooy
Mooy enjoyed a superb night against Bangladesh in the Socceroos' 5-0 win in Perth

Australia 2-0 Iraq – HBF Park, September 1, 2016

Socceroos lineup: Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Milos Degenek, Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Mathew Leckie, Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo, Tomi Rogic, Tomi Juric.

Bench: Robbie Kruse, Jackson Irvine, Apostolos Giannou, Ryan McGowan, Mitch Langerak (GK), Adam Federici (GK), Nathan Burns, Matthew Spiranovic, Josh Risdon, Alex Gersbach, Tim Cahill, Chris Ikonomidis.

Highlights: Socceroos 2-0 Iraq

The Socceroos returned to Perth almost one year to the day after beating Bangladesh for the first game of the final group phase of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ against Iraq.

In a high-stakes encounter it was imperative for the hosts to come away with a win, and that’s exactly what they did. Tomi Juric and Luongo scored the all-important goals to earn a crucial three points to kick-start the campaign.

Pressure built at HBF Park after a goalless first half and the Socceroos continued to press for an opener in the second stanza. A handful of missed opportunities spelled danger for Iraq and Australia eventually broke through when Luongo scored just before the hour mark.

Juric would go on to score the sealer but not before creating the opener with a perfect ball across goal which found Luongo streaming into an open net.

With momentum and the raucous home crowd spurring them on, the Socceroos chased a second and found it through Juric just minutes later. Mooy hammered a corner kick low to the near post and Juric connected with aplomb, prodding a first-time effort into the bottom corner.

On second inspection, Mark Milligan proved to be the assistant to the Juric goal after his smart flick sent Mooy’s cross past the Iraq defenders and into Juric’s path.

The win sent Australia on their first steps along the road to Russia 2018, and what would become the nation’s fourth-consecutive FIFA World Cup™ appearance.

Tomi Juric
Juric huffed, puffed and eventually scored in a tireless display against Iraq

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Copa America 2020

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 second round qualifying 

Australia v Kuwait
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Venue: HBF Park, Perth
Kick-off: 6.00pm local, 9.00pm AEDT

Nepal v Australia
Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Venue: TBC

Australia v Chinese Taipei
Thursday, 4 June 2020
Venue: TBC

Australia v Jordan
Tuesday, 9 June 2020 
Venue: TBC

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