John Aloisi - the man who’s penalty sent Australia World Cup for the first time in 32 years - said that making it to Germany in 2006 wiped away the memories of the previous qualification failures.
Aloisi was back at Stadium Australia as part of a gala event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Cup qualification match against Uruguay in 2005.
The striker still looks back at that night, a decade on, as an extraordinary moment.
“To beat a footballing powerhouse in Uruguay and the way it happened, you can’t write that,” he said. “That’ sport and that’s why it was such an unbelievable night.”
“During our life there was only sad things to remember. I know 1974 was a highlight but I wasn’t born then and to watch the heartache every four years.
“To be involved in 1997 and 2001 and to finally get there after not qualifying for 32 years and then finally getting there and the way it happened and the noise and the atmosphere all of that together made for a special night.”
There are several iconic moments from that night, including Mark Bresciano’s goal and celebration, Kewell’s double ponytail and Mark Schwarzer’s two saves in the penalty shootout.
But the sight of Aloisi scoring the winning penalty and running down the field to share the moment with is family is the lasting image of that match.
And even after all this time Aloisi said he still doesn’t tire of being reminded of that moment.
“I don’t get sick of it,” he said. “I know how much it meant to people then and of course how much it meant to me and my teammates. But it’s not like I think about it all the time, I’ve got other things to focus on and make sure I do my job well as I am coaching at the moment.
“It’s good that people want to talk about it because that means that they are talking about the game and if people want to ask me those questions then I’m pretty happy to talk about the penalty or that night.
“I was lucky to be part of that night.”
Most Australian football fans have watched the game from that night more than once but for Aloisi the night of November 16, 2005 is a blur.
To be honest I haven’t watched the game in full,” he said. “Of course I’ve seen the penalty a million times because wherever I’d go somewhere it will be played or if it is on TV or wherever else.”
Aloisi also added that for him, the winning penalty has taken on surreal connotations.
“It sort of feels like because I’ve seen it so many times, it doesn’t feel like it was me,” he said.
“There are certain memories that I do have. I still remember the walk vividly from the half-way line to the penalty spot. I still remember when I ran around like a maniac when I scored, I still remember those things, I still remember being with the boys after the game in the change rooms, and they are the sort of things I do remember.”comments