Thanks to last Saturday night’s edge-of-the-seat drama in Sydney, the Socceroos will have the chance to compete for another piece of silverware in just two years’ time.
Winning Asian Cup 2015 doesn’t guarantee qualification for the next edition of Asia’s showpiece event. But it does give the Socceroos – as champions of the Asian Football Confederation – entry to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
Confederation heavyweights from around the world playing each other over two weeks? It really is a perfect opportunity to take the Socceroos brand to the world again - and perhaps cause a shock or two?
By 2017 this Socceroo team will be scarily good. If after 15 months they are at this level, just imagine where they’ll be in June 2017? Most of the squad will be hitting its peak. They’ll be vastly more experienced and have an even greater depth than now.
Before that, though, AFC qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will run over the next two years. These double as qualification for the Asian Cup in 2019, likely to be held in the UAE.
So for fans of the national team, let’s recap that: World Cup qualifiers over the next two years, Confederations Cup in 2017, and, most likely, a World Cup in 2018 followed by an Asian Cup in 2019.
Four fabulous, exciting, roller-coaster years on the Ange Train: if you’re not already a fan of the Socceroos, jump on-board now. This will be a fascinating journey made more palatable by the fact that the team has yet to peak. Not by a long shot.
More broadly, though, football is a restless beast. The sport in Australia has so many facets, so many tournaments at club and international level - it’s an unstoppable force right now.
For instance, the Olyroos begin qualifiers for Rio 2016 next month. Imagine if we qualified? We’ve got some unfinished business in Brazil after the Socceroos’ adventure last year.
This year we’ll also see the culmination of the Hyundai A-League Season 10, and the start of the group stage of the Asian Champions League.
The Westfield FFA Cup will be back – and who can forget that mesmerising adventure.
The Matildas are at a World Cup in June; they’ll be gunning for glory in Canada, and the Joeys (our national U-17s) have their own World Cup later this year in Chile.
The Foxtel A-League All-Stars will return in July – the same month world superstars from Real Madrid will play against Roma and Manchester City in a tournament at the MCG.
But, for now, for the Socceroos the next challenge for the new champions of Asia is a friendly with the world champions in Germany next month.
Like I said, exciting times for the Socceroos. And I guess you could say for the game.
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