The Socceroos’ official Facebook page will showcase another classic match from yesteryear this evening with Australia’s penalty shootout victory over Canada in August 1993 taking centre stage from 7:30pm AEST.
The game, which was a FIFA World Cup Play-Off for USA 1994, saw Australia advance to the final phase of qualifying against Argentina courtesy of a thrilling penalty shootout win.
After being defeated 2-1 by Canada in the first leg played in Edmonton in late July, Australia returned to home soil for the second leg in mid-August, and the game went all the way to penalties following a 2-1 home win (3-3 on aggregate) sealed by goals to Frank Farina and Mehmet Durakovic.
Over 25,000 Australian football fans witnessed the match live at the Sydney Football Stadium, as a young Mark Schwarzer – like he famously did against Uruguay in 2005 – saved two penalties in the shootout on his Socceroos’ starting debut to help deny the Canucks.
Famous Australian football names Paul Wade, Aurelio Vidmar, Alex Tobin, and Farina each converted their efforts from the penalty spot, and reflecting on the match, Wade, who entered the match as a substitute in extra time for Ned Zelic, said he was eager to step up from 12-yards.
“Ten minutes into extra time I went on as a substitute and I did alright,” Wade recalled.
“But it came to the penalty shootout after Frank Farina’s bicycle kick and Mehmet Durakovic goal in regular time, which made it 3-3 on aggregate.
“(Socceroos coach) Eddie Thomson said right, ‘who is taking the first one’, and I just thought, ‘me’. That was the longest walk to the penalty spot ever.
“The body language of our players was we are knackered here. Fortunately, Mark Schwarzer made two brilliant saves and we went through to the next round.”
FFA Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said that strong numbers had enjoyed reliving some great games on the Socceroos’ official Facebook page over recent weeks, including classic fixtures against Uruguay in 2005 and England in 2003.
“Our digital platforms have been an excellent tool for us to remain engaged and connected with our nearly two million participants across the country,” Johnson said.
“We’ve had some great feedback and viewership numbers from past matches premiered across the FFA digital network.”
“The fixtures have provided fans of all ages with the opportunity to reflect upon or learn about some of the great moments that add to the history of Australian football. They are a fantastic way for our younger generation to connect with our heroes.
“Uniquely, we are covering each match as if it were being played in 2020, with pre-game build-up coverage on Facebook, live match tweets, and post-match website reports helping to tell the story of the event,” he said.