The Socceroos have advanced to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup for just the second time in history, sparking wild scenes of celebration back home in Australia. Matthew Leckie's goal in the 60th minute secured the Socceroos an incredible upset 1-0 victory over Denmark on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEDT), sending the Aussies into the round of 16 where they will play Argentina.
Leckie's superb solo effort shocked the football world and helped the Socceroos join the famous 2006 side as the only Australian teams to make it out of the group stage at a World Cup. But the 2022 side have already gone one better than their 2006 counterparts, becoming the first Socceroos team to win two matches at a World Cup.
'NOT RIGHT': Graham Arnold's scathing swipe before Socceroos game
In 2006 it was a win and a draw that sent us through. But in 2022 in Qatar the Socceroos advanced off the back of consecutive 1-0 victories over Tunisia and Denmark.
"As the ball was rolling in, I saw it going in, I was so excited and so happy," Leckie said after the game. "By the celebration you see how much emotion there was.
"I'm just so proud. We've worked so hard. This is my third World Cup now and I've had my chances in previous World Cups to score, wasn't meant to be. My first World Cup (goal) is probably one of the most important goals for me and for the team."
Leckie's goal sparked wild scenes at Federation Square in Melbourne, where thousands of diehard fans flocked to watch the game at 2am Aussie time. There were more scenes of jubilation and excitement after the full-time whistle, with fans setting off flares and parting in the early hours of Thursday morning.
"We always knew we could do it. We believed as a group," Leckie said. "We had our doubters. With our spirit, our belief, our work ethic and how close we are as a group, it shows on the pitch.
"That last 15, 20 minutes, we battled until the end. It didn't matter what they threw at us, we weren't conceding."
In the other simultaneous game in Australia's group, Tunisia had scored just three minutes earlier against France, who rested almost their entire first-choice side. Tunisia's goal meant the Socceroos had to beat Denmark and couldn't rely on a draw to advance.
Just minutes later Leckie produced the goods and the Socceroos held on for a famous and historic victory. Tunisian players on the bench and fans in the stands were watching the Socceroos game while theirs was still going, but were left devastated that their 1-0 victory went for nought.
Who do the Socceroos play next?
The Socceroos will next play Argentina in the round of 16 after they finished as winners of Group C with a 2-0 victory over Poland later on Wednesday. The Socceroos' do-or-die clash with Lionel Messi and the Argentinians will be played on Saturday night (6am Sunday AEDT).
“No celebrations,” Socceroos coach Graham Arnold declared after the victory. “As I said to the boys, that’s why we won after a great win against Tunisia.
“No celebrations, no emotion. Sleep. No social media. Just so proud of the effort by the boys. Short turnaround but their effort was incredible.
“[It took] a lot of belief, a lot of hard work. These boys come in with a great mindset. We’ve been working on this for four and a half years. We have the belief, the energy and the focus. I could see in their eyes that they were ready tonight.”
The Socceroos' victory and the remarkable scenes at Federation Square left football fans around the world in awe. Fans flocked to social media in awe of the extraordinary scenes.
— jackson irvine fan page (@jakekiner) November 30, 2022
— Mike @The_Game (@Mike_TGSC) November 30, 2022
Fed square is INSANE, no one does it like Melbourne !! #FIFAWorldCup
— Tito Linares (@tito_linares) November 30, 2022
Incredible, absolutely incredible.
Just like in 2006, #Socceroos are among world’s top 16. Only the second time in history.
Tears, goosebumps. I’m feeling it all.
And look what it means to fans in Melbourne, packing into Fed Square from 2am!#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/ysfkcWN9Jk
— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) November 30, 2022
— Tyson Whelan (@tyson_whelan) November 30, 2022
One of the great nights for Australian sport and for Australian futbol. 🇦🇺
— Rocco (@RocBSyd) November 30, 2022
— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) November 30, 2022
Fed Square has lost its mind. pic.twitter.com/AGC6wAJfOX
— Notnerb Sirrah (@iambren10) November 30, 2022
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is on SBS and SBS on Demand.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.