FIFA World Cup: As Australia face Argentina in last 16, Socceroos hope Maradona’s prophecy comes true

These have been the phrases of former Argentina captain Diego Maradona in November 1993, on an Argentinean TV present, chatting with his Australian counterpart, Paul Wade a day after their sport. Argentina had managed to win the two-legged World Cup qualifier tie 2-1 courtesy of an personal objective from Alex Tobin in Buenos Aires after a 1-1 tie in Sydney. The defeat denied Australia a ticket to their second World Cup and simply hours later captain Wade and assistant coach Raul Blanco have been invited on an area TV present, as he recalled with the Sydney Morning Herald lately.

Everybody within the studio, who have been used to watching their greatest soccer stars lead lavish existence, had been shocked when the Socceroos captain would share that earned solely $5000 a season. Which is when the decision got here from the largest footballer of that period, and arguably of all time.

“Maradona was watching and he rang up the TV station, so the ground supervisor goes nuts, everyone seems to be frazzled,” Wade shared within the latest interview.

“In order that they put him on and he mentioned: ‘Paul, congratulations to you and your group for the way in which you performed, you pushed us so exhausting’, and he goes, ‘your tears of unhappiness at present can be tears of pleasure someday quickly’.”

29 years later, Wade believes it could be time ultimately for La Albiceleste’s final World Cup profitable captain’s phrases to come back true. In opposition to Argentina. On the World Cup.

“If Saudi Arabia can do it, so can we – they’re wounded,” he mentioned when the fixture was confirmed. “They don’t seem to be a 1986 World Cup-winning group. They are often pushed off the ball. I actually imagine it.”


Having gained back-to-back video games for the primary time on the World Cup finals, Australia completed second in Group D to qualify for the Spherical of 16. It was additionally the primary occasion of the Socceroos scoring in all three of their group stage video games. Within the 4-1 defeat to France of their opener, the boys in yellow and inexperienced opened scoring as Craig Goodwin latched onto a cross from the appropriate to offer defending champions the blues.

Submit conceding the 4 objectives off Les Bleus, defensive solidity highlighted Australia’s 1-0 wins towards Tunisia and Denmark on the again of sustained strain from the opposition.

The Socceroos have been one of many least attacking groups within the event. In all three of their group stage video games, Australia have had lesser possession of the ball, lesser pictures on objective, and lesser Anticipated Objectives (xG) fee. In reality, Australia’s xG per 90 minutes of 0.58 at this World Cup is just higher than Qatar (0.47) and Costa Rica (0.40). They’ve chosen their moments to maneuver ahead, get the objective, after which sit again and take care of the strain they invite.

The Assault Momentum SofaScore bar graphs for the Australian group in all three group stage video games point out how a lot strain they placed on their counterparts and vice versa throughout the size of the sport.

A enjoying model that requires a extremely disciplined backline that is ready to make clearances and interceptions on a constant foundation. The group in focus forward of Saturday’s second Spherical of 16 fixture have made essentially the most clearances (94) and fourth most interceptions (32) to this point on the event. Australia have additionally been the group that has made essentially the most blocks, pictures and passes, (49) at this World Cup. Six ft 5 centre-half Harry Souttar has been the centre of consideration with 20 clearances, seven blocks and 5 tackles plus interceptions to his personal identify.

Given their energy, the match towards Argentina on the ways board looks like one simply meant to be. The Lionel Scaloni aspect is at its greatest, as evident from the way in which they performed towards Poland, after they hold the ball and trade brief vertical passes utilizing the complete width of the sphere. Revisit that Julian Alvarez objective which had 27 neat passes within the buildup, earlier than an inch good end for additional affirmation.


Can Australia beat Argentina? They certain don’t begin as favorites however as the previous Australia skipper talked about, Saudi Arabia have already gone and accomplished it. The Assault Momentum graph for that sport shows an method Australia aren’t alien to. Scoring objective(s) throughout brief passages of strain within the opposition half and doing the exhausting work for the remainder of the sport by sitting deep and defending tight.

A excessive defensive position minus excessive press was an efficient maneuver from the Herve Renard coached Saudi aspect, complemented with an early first half urgent for the 2 objectives. Despite the fact that that chink within the armor is one thing Argentina would anticipate and put together themselves for, Australia could check it early within the first half.

Traditionally, Australia want solely open the match historical past towards their subsequent opposition to salvage inspiration for the upcoming contest. The primary assembly between the 2 nations on the 1988 Bicentennial Gold Cup event in Sydney noticed the hosts greatest the then world champions 4 objectives to at least one.

“Sure, that they had no Maradona on that journey however that they had some very high-profile gamers,” Paul Wade would inform the Herald whereas talking of the well-known win. “What an evening that was. All of it got here collectively.”Argentina nonetheless, would win 5 of the following six conferences (one draw) between the 2, together with that dagger blow 1-0 within the 1994 World Cup qualifier. The newest of them got here in 2007 on the Melbourne Cricket Floor. A 1-0 defeat that was Australia’s first sighting of 1 Lionel Messi.

Earlier than his second assembly with the Socceroos, the now Argentina captain would put ahead a good evaluation of the duty at hand. “The match towards Australia goes to be very troublesome.”

A quantity 10 carrying Argentina captain saying so in 2022 introduced again the recollections of one other one calling a TV studio in 1993.

Perhaps the tears of unhappiness will flip into tears of pleasure tonight.

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