Round of 16, Here we Come!

The Subway Socceroos have gone and performed another miracle as they qualified for the FIFA World Cup knockout stages for the first time since 2006.

The Subway Socceroos achieved what even the most optimistic supporters would have deemed impossible as they finished second in their group to qualify for the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar.

It has been a long road for the Green and Gold with this latest crop of Socceroos stars matching the run of their predecessors – the infamous golden generation which reached the knockout stage 16 years ago.

WATCH: Graham Arnold Interview

The Road to Qatar

Australia’s journey to Qatar was full of ups and downs. All seemed lost at one point after a stretch of matches which saw them fail to win. Graham Arnold and his side were being questioned left, right and centre and the Australian public was gearing up for the worst – missing out on a place in the FIFA World Cup.

The Socceroos squad was in the midst of a massive transition with many players on their way out and heading towards retirement which meant that Arnold was charged with refreshing the team with new and young talent – many untested at international level.

The Tokyo Olympics provided many of these fresh faces with the chance to impress as Arnold led the Olyroos at the showcase event in 2021.

Keanu Baccus was one of nine Olyroos players to be selected in the Subway Socceroos World Cup squad (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

Impress they did, with a total of nine members from that squad selected to represent the Socceroos in Qatar.

However, before this morning’s history-making win, we must discuss those nerve wracking matches that booked their ticket to Qatar.

Yet again, the Socceroos had made life difficult for themselves after finishing third in their group and missing out on automatic qualification to the FIFA World Cup.

History repeated itself as they were forced down the playoff route with a clash against UAE on the horizon. Fortunately, for Australia they had enough in the tank to knock out their fellow Asian counterparts which meant that they now had a date with Peru.

Watch the full match replay of the UAE vs Socceroos

Watch highlights from the UAE vs Socceroos

The Australia vs Peru match – the crucial encounter that sealed our fate. The match was full of quite incredible storylines with none more unpredictable than the heroic efforts of Andrew Redmayne which secured our passage into the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Watch the mini match from the Socceroos vs Peru

Watch the highlights from the Socceroos vs Peru

Qatar Bound with Nothing to Lose

A fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup appearance was confirmed however few would have expected results to turn out as well as they have.

The ideal set up at Tim Cahill’s Aspire Academy has gone some way in helping the green and gold’s efforts with the no bars hold approach providing the players with the perfect environment to train and rest throughout their World Cup campaign.

Harry Souttar has been crucial to the Socceroos FIFA World Cup campaign (Photo by Juan Luis Diaz/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

The return of crucial players like Harry Souttar has provided a significant boost to the team and aside from the defeat to France, Arnold’s side have in large been defensively sound, keeping back-to-back clean sheets against Tunisia and Denmark.

A Date with Football Royalty Awaits

The Socceroos have already made global headlines by getting out of the group stage. What awaits them is a mammoth clash with one of the best football nations in the world, Argentina.

Global superstar, Lionel Messi, will be lining up against the likes of Aaron Mooy and Jackson Irvine. Quite an outrageous scenario which almost no one would have expected.

Jackson Irvine will star for the Socceroos against Argentina on Sunday morning AEDT (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The Socceroos will go into this match with little to no expectation, all the pressure will be on Argentina however the underdog tag has always suited Australia and they know that they can always draw inspiration from Saudi Arabia who managed to topple La Albiceleste in their group stage opener.

Read More: The Socceroos FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Squad

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