WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2005 – The most memorable night in the history of Australian football.
After splitting the 1st and 2nd Legs 1-0 in Montevideo and Sydney, Australia and Uruguay take part in a penalty shootout to decide the 32nd and final spot in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the closest Australia had come to qualifying for the World Cup since that lone appearance in 1974, having lost in an intercontinental playoff 4 times, including 4 years earlier against Uruguay.
Penalty 1: Harry Kewell slots his penalty into the left-hand corner and sends Fabian Carini the wrong way, 1-0 Australia
Penalty 2: Dario Rodriguez’ slow left-footed approach fails as Mark Schwarzer guesses correctly and saves the shot to his left, 1-0 Australia
Penalty 3: Future West Ham captain Lucas Neill follows Kewell and sends Carini the wrong way, 2-0 Australia
Penalty 4: Schwarzer guesses the right direction again, but Gustavo Varela’s shot goes underneath, 2-1 Australia
Penalty 5: Tony Vidmar, who had never taken a penalty in his life, copies Kewell and Neill, 3-1 Australia
Penalty 6: Fabián Estoyanoff sends Schwarzer the wrong way with a shot into the right-hand corner, 3-2 Australia – This was the only penalty in which Schwarzer didn’t guess the right way on the shot.
Penalty 7: Australian captain Mark Viduka has a nightmarish moment as he misses everything aiming for the left-hand corner, 3-2 Australia
Penalty 8: With a kick to even the scores, Marcelo Zalayeta is memorably denied by the giant right hand of Mark Schwarzer, giving the Socceroos a kick to win it, 3-2 Australia
Penalty 9: Out of a pool of Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina or Vince Grella, John Aloisi gets the burden of sending Australia to the World Cup, and with the weight of history, and an entire nation watching on, Aloisi went straight for the right-hand corner, blasting past the outstretched hands of Carini, inciting jubilation across the earth as a 32-year wait was ended.
And if you want an even longer story, here’s the November 16 documentary that was released back in 2015 to mark the 10th anniversary, featuring interviews with the likes of Guus Hiddink, Carini and Álvaro Recoba, who was substituted in the 72nd minute against his will.
And ahead of Qatar 2022, here’s a coincidence for you:
2006 FIFA World Cup: Australia defeat a South American nation in a penalty shootout to qualify for the World Cup, they face the defending World Champions (Brazil) in the group stage.
2022 FIFA World Cup: Australia defeat a South American nation in a penalty shootout to qualify for the World Cup, they face the defending World Champions (France) in the group stage.