The Socceroos have played Canada on eight previous occasions across two series and have only just edged past tomorrow morning’s opponents on both occasions.
The Socceroos have played Canada on eight previous occasions across two series and have only just edged past tomorrow morning-s opponents on both occasions. While the Socceroos should have an easier time against the Canadians than their recent opposition, the friendly at Craven Cottage in London will be no stroll in the park if history is anything to go by.
Australia first came up against Canada back in 1924, with a five match series scheduled on home soil. The matches were played around the country and was all-square following the five fixtures. With each country having claimed two wins and sharing a draw, a sixth international was arranged. The Aussies were victorious 1-0 in this match played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with FFA Hall of Fame member Judy Masters scoring the decisive goal.
The countries would have to wait until 1993 before they would meet again, with the pair squaring off in a World Cup qualification tie. Australia and Canada having to battle it out in a home and away series for the right to play an undecided South American opponent for a spot at the 1994 USA World Cup.
The Socceroos travelled to Canada for the first leg, with the Aussie contingency including familiar faces such as Ned Zelic, Alex Tobin, Paul Okon, Robbie Slater, Aurelio Vidmar, Frank Farina and captain Graham Arnold.
Unfortunately the Aussies had goalkeeper Robert Zabica sent off with just 17 minutes on the clock. This paved the way for 20-year-old Mark Schwarzer to make one of his first appearances for the national team off the bench. The Socceroos took an unlikely lead in the contest on the stroke of half-time thanks to a fortuitous own-goal. However the battle with 10 men on foreign soil proved too much in the second half, with the team eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.
Coach Eddie Thompson had a fortnight to get his side up for the return home leg, which would be played in front of nearly 26,000 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium. The mandate was simple - Australia had to win by two clear goals in order to secure their passage to the next round of qualification.
The Aussies found themselves on their way when Frank Farina scored a spectacular bicycle-kick goal at the start of the second half to open the scoring. However the Canadians pulled themselves back on level terms through Lyndon Hooper soon after. Desperate for another goal, Australia managed to restore their lead with a thumping header from Mehmet Durakovic on 77 minutes but that-s where the scores would remain.
With the sides unable to be separated, as each claimed 2-1 home victories the match headed into extra-time. However neither team were able to find a winner so penalties were needed to decide the tie.
The moment would signal the arrival of Mark Schwarzer on the international stage, with the 20-year-old Aussie goalkeeper covering himself in glory by saving two of Canada-s penalties. The Socceroos won the shoot-out 4-1 to advance from the play-off. Unfortunately Australia would ultimately fail to qualify for the USA tournament, going down to Argentina at the final hurdle.
Twenty years on and the circumstances are completely different. The Socceroos will be under the direction of interim coach Aurelio Vidmar, who was in the starting eleven and netted a penalty the last time the countries met. Australia have already qualified for Brazil, while Canada have bowed out of contention.
Despite this there will be plenty of national pride on the line, with the Socceroos seeking to get their World Cup preparations back on track and keen to show the Australian public their fighting spirit is still in tact. Meanwhile Canada will be desperate to turn around their recent form which has seen them go winless in their previous 11 matches and fail to register a goal in their last 11 hours of international football.
The Socceroos match against Canada will be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.
Socceroos v Canada Tuesday 15 October 2013 Craven Cottage, Fulham, London, England Kick-off: 8.00pm BST (6:00am AEDT)
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