Australia inspires as Mat Leckie seals World Cup qualifying spot

Australia inspires as Mat Leckie seals World Cup qualifying spot

AL-WAKRAH, Qatar — It defies all logic, but Australia, a football minnow stuck in the bottom corner of the world, little old Australia is making its way into the World Cup round of 16 for the second time in its history.

Matt LeckieA boy who grew up wanting to play a different sport, he scored the famous goal beating Denmark 1-0 and secured Australia’s place in the qualifying rounds. And he solidified his place as a legend of Australian football.

Although he seemed on the verge of collapse after throwing himself to the ground in previous matches against France and Tunisia, it was Leckie in the game where he and goalkeeper Mat Ryan equalized Australia’s record for most appearances in a World Cup. The trophy stood up when it mattered most and now has Mark Bresciano and Tim Cahill past their mark.

At the clock mark at the Al Janoub Stadium, just minutes after the news that Tunisia had a 1-0 shock against France and the Socceroos went home, the Melbourne City attacker was on his side. It looked like it would break quickly in transit.

As Denmark needed to win the World Cup to keep it alive, the number of red shirts thrown forward meant there were pockets of space to exploit. So, running to make a perfect transition into space Riley McGreeLeckie has danced one way and then the other before, making an effort to the bottom corner when it seems like she’s tapped a full tap too far. kasper schmeichel‘s target. pandemonium

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At Al Janoub, the pockets of Australian fans raged after cursing the French a few moments ago. In Leckie’s hometown Federation Square, Melbourne, was a mass of ecstatic limbs, shrouded in the smoke and glow of dozens of flares.. Carved in the heart of Melbourne to serve as a rallying point and cultural center for former rail yards on the banks of the Yarra River, the concrete cave has come to symbolize the immediate deep love affair he developed with the men’s national team of wider Australia. Tonight, at 3:30 am local time, nowhere in the world could he match his energy.

Leckie was part of a wave of fresh faces brought to the national order in Brazil eight years ago by coach Ange Postecoglou as part of his effort to revitalize and refresh an aging squad as the «Golden Generation» — a generation. Growing up in the Australian Rules of Football after the family, Leckie had him fall in love with football. Now in 2022, the 31-year-old was in Qatar as one of the team’s most seasoned presidents, helping to raise a new generation recruited by Graham Arnold.

But the day before the match, he spoke only of his desire not to make an impact on the following. Keanu BaccusRiley McGree or harry souttarbut to fill the same role that Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill played for him 16 years ago.

“When I was younger, growing up in an AFL environment with my family, one of the things that drove my family to follow football was the national team and the World Cup,” he explained. «Too big for sports… I’m sure when [kids] They watch the TV, they see the atmosphere and how big the World Cup is, it might just be one of those things that pop in their heads and [they say] ‘I want to be a football player rather than an AFL player or something like that.'»

As Australia prepares to advance to the last 16 for the second time in its history and win two games in a World Cup for the first time in its history, it’s impossible to imagine Leckie not doing so. The next time an Australian kid scores in the park, school or backyard, they’ll no doubt celebrate by pulling the wheels and hitting him in the chest, as Australia’s Number 7 kid did.

Had he been born ten and a half years later, midfielder Jackson Irvine would probably have been one of those kids. When he was young, he was in the crowd watching the Golden Generation make history; Starting a love affair with the shirt of the Socceroos, who now sees him 16 years later, matches this success.

Hopefully [we’ve inspired]. We were just talking about it,” Irvine said, “being that kid at 13 in 2006, watching those actors in the crowd do what I hope we’ve done for a group of kids tonight.

«To show the Australian kids that Australian footballers can play at this level, compete at this level and that it’s possible. I’m extremely proud to have hopefully inspired someone else.»

Over the years, he will be remembered not only as a goal that made the Golden Generation a partner in Australian football folklore, but also as a goal that made a new generation of boys and girls fall in love with the game; To dream of being just like Leckie against Denmark.

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