Tournament Profile: 1982 Merlion Cup

Ahead of the special one-hour live event ‘Les Scheinflug looks back with pride’, which will be streamed on Football Australia’s YouTube Channel on Monday, 17 October at 5pm AEDT, we explore the Subway Socceroo’s success at the 1982 Merlion Cup.


  • 40th Anniversary of the Merlion Cup - 'Les Scheinflug looks back with pride'

  • Monday, 17 October 5:00pm AEDT

  • Watch LIVE on Football Australia's YouTube channel or Facebook page

Monday will be the 40th anniversary since Australia won its first trophy in Asia since 1967.

Held in Singapore, this was the inaugural iteration of the Merlion Cup, which was an invitational football tournament with all fixtures played in October.

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Our opponents

Group A consisted of hosts Singapore, Korea Republic, Malaysia and Brunei.

Australia was drawn in Group B which contained Indonesia and Thailand.

Our coach

Les Scheinflug was Australia’s Head Coach at the time. Scheinflug had served as Rale Rasic’s assistant at the 1974 World Cup and was later at the helm between 1981 and 1983, before experiencing a couple of caretaker roles.

Players who featured

Steve Blair, George Christopoulos, Martyn Crook, Alan Davidson, David Ratcliffe, Tony Henderson, David Mitchell, Alan Niven, Peter Katholos, Gary Byrne, Peter Raskopoulos, Phil O’Connor, Gary Cole, Charlie Egan, John Kosmina

Our results

Australia began the tournament in dominant fashion, opening with a 4-0 win over Thailand. John Kosmina bagged a brace and Phil O’Connor and Gary Cole scored a goal each.

Five days later, the Green and Gold tackled Indonesia and recorded a 2-0 triumph after David Mitchell’s quick-fire brace in the second half.

As the Aussies topped the group, it set up a semi-final meeting against Malaysia, who finished second behind Korea Republic.

However, Malaysia would offer little resistance following an impressive 5-0 rout. Peter Katholos netted a first-half double, while Kosmina, O’Connor and Cole were all on target.

The result meant Scheinflug’s men reached the final against the Koreans after narrowly beating Indonesia 1-0 in the other semi-final.

In front of around 25,000 spectators, Australia broke the deadlock through O’Connor’s third goal of the tournament. Seventeen minutes later Mitchell would double the lead, also with his third strike in the cup.

South Korea responded before the hour mark from Oh Suk-jae but within two minutes Australia replied via George Christopoulos. Park Chang-seun would score a late goal but it proved a consolation with the Subway Socceroos earning a 3-2 win and crowned champions.  

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