That's a Wrap: Subway Socceroos perfect start to World Cup Qualifiers, U23s impress in friendlies

'That's a Wrap!' is here for another a month as we review all things involving Australia's men's senior and junior national teams and players for November thanks to our Official Partner, Subway.

Australia collect maximum points to begin World Cup Qualifiers

Australia started its FIFA World Cup 2026™ Second Round Asian Qualifiers with back-to-back victories against Bangladesh and Palestine to remain perfect and without conceding a goal.

Seventh heaven against Bangladesh

Back on home soil for the first time since March, Graham Arnold's side produced a rampant performance against the Bengal Tigers to claim a 7-0 triumph at Melbourne's AAMI Park. Harry Souttar headed the hosts into the lead from Craig Goodwin's free-kick, before Brandon Borrello doubled the advantage. 


Mitch Duke then struck a quick-fire brace as Australia held an unassailable 4-0 first half lead. Jamie Maclaren was then introduced at the break and would proceed to score a second-half hat-trick - his second with the national team - to complete a dominant display.

Australia v Bangladesh | Key Moments | World Cup 2026 Qualifiers

Another Socceroos debutant

In that clash against Bangladesh, Kusini Yengi became the latest player to make his maiden senior appearance for his country. 

The 24-year-old became cap #638 after coming on as a second-half substitute, demonstrating glimpses of his quality.

Kusini Yengi thrilled to make Socceroos debut | Australia 7-0 Bangladesh | FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Graham Arnold makes history

Against Bangladesh, Graham Arnold coached his 59th A international with the Subway Socceroos, surpassing the previous record set by Frank Farina. Synonymous with the Socceroos, Arnie now stands alone in what is an achievement befiting of someone who is extremely proud to represent the Green and Gold. 

Maty Ryan and Rene Meulensteen reflect on Graham Arnold's impact

Appropriately to mark the occasion the 7-0 scoreline was also the boss' biggest-ever victory in the dugout across his two stints in charge.

1973 pioneers honoured

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first Australian men's side to qualify for our inaugural appearance at the FIFA World Cup, members of the 1973 squad were invited to attend the Subway Socceroos' match against Bangladesh. 

Socceroos 1973 VIP Function - 2023
Photo credit: Mark Avellino.

The VIP function prior to kick-off centred on their remarkable achievements before they made their way down to the tunnel to form a Guard of Honour as the current Socceroos walked onto pitch to start their own World Cup qualifying campaign. 



Hard-fought win over Palestine

Following the match with Bangladesh, the Aussies did not have long before jumping on a plane and flying to Kuwait for their second qualifier of the November window against Palestine. 

The Subway Socceroos were well aware a sterner test would await them at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium. And that is exactly what transpired. A Craig Goodwin set-piece, this time from a corner was again met by Harry Souttar to open the scoring on 18 minutes, in a combination that is beginning to prove unstoppable. It proved the solitary goal of the content as Australia had to grind out the result.


Palestine v Australia | Key Moments | 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Highest FIFA Ranking since 2012

The Subway Socceroos climbed two spots into 25th place after the latest Men's FIFA Rankings were released. It is the highest position for the Green and Gold since September 2012.

The past 12-month period has included the Subway Socceroos' highest number of games against top-10 opponents since men’s rankings began in 1992.

The period – encompassing the first FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match against France and culminating with an international fixture against England at Wembley Stadium – saw Graham Arnold’s side play five opponents ranked #10 or higher.

In addition to those fixtures, the Subway Socceroos faced Ecuador (#30) and Mexico (#12) within that timeframe.

Prior to this, the Subway Socceroos had never played against top 10 teams more than three times in a 12-month period.

Subway Olyroos learn their AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ 

Tony Vidmar's men discovered their opponents for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ at the official draw ceremony in Doha. The Aussies were placed in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Jordan and Indonesia.

The tournament will take place between April 15 - May 3, with the top three nations automatically qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

The fourth-placed team will participate in a Play-off against an opponent from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for a chance to compete at the Olympics.

Subway Olyroos record successive friendly wins 

The Subway Olyroos travelled to Khobar, Saudi Arabia for a pair of international friendly matches against Qatar and hosts Saudi Arabia as preparation for next year's tournament. 

The Aussies defeated Qatar 2-1 thanks to clinically taken goals from Mohamed Toure and Lachlan Brook before Qatar halved the deficit just prior to half time. However, the Aussies managed to hold on and seal the win.

A few days later the U23s faced Saudi Arabia and stunned the hosts, racing to a 3-0 first-half lead courtesy of a Noah Botic brace and goal from Nishan Velupillay. The hosts equalised in the 95th minute but it was merely a consolation.


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